We have some very sad news to report, rotor-heads fans: Don't expect a new rotary-powered vehicle anytime soon. This comes straight from Masamichi Kogai, the CEO of Mazda, which is the only company to ever market a commercially successful rotary-powered automobile in the world. The issue, as it has pretty much always been, is environmental.
We last reported on Mazda's next-generation rotary engine project in June of 2012 when the automaker built its last Renesis-powered RX-8, but rumors of this new engine's development had been around way before that final car left the production line in Japan, last year.
Mark it down, auto enthusiasts. Mazda built its last rotary engine on Friday, June 22. By final, we mean the line that assembled Renesis engines for Mazda's RX-8 sports car was idled, and there are currently no plans to restart its production. Mazda has a long-running history of building Wankel powerplants, and its production of the high-revving engine has seen a few stutters since Mazda put the first dual-rotor Wankel in a production car in 1967. Of course, it's always possible that Mazda
We see some fairly radical machinery come up for sale on occasion, but few creations manage to raise our eyebrows so high as Project Sea Lion. Created to nab amphibious land speed record, the machine uses a Mazda 13b rotary engine for propulsion, and its creator says the drivetrain is good enough to launch the vehicle to 180 miles per hour if there's enough roadway. Given that the current record sits at 125 mph, the Sea Lion should have no problem nabbing that title.
We're not sure what you were into at 17, but if you're anything like us, odds are it wasn't bombing around Infineon Raceway in a Renesis-powered race car. This would be the primary difference between young hot-shot driver Zach Veach and the rest of us goons. Despite his tender young age, Veach has made a name for himself as one of the more talented personalities in the current Formula Car Challenge. The series pits cars in multiple classes against one another as drivers vie for their respective
At the end of 2011, the Mazda RX-8 rotary-powered sport coupe/sedan will cease to exist in new-car showrooms. With it, the mass-produced rotary engine will take another hiatus. The original plan was to have the Renesis, the world's only mass-produced rotary, come back maybe as early as 2017 in a new sports car. In fact, we just heard reports that Mazda's rotor-obsessed gearhead engineers were still manning the program, albeit at a reduced pace.
Fear not, rotaryphiles. According to a report from The Detroit News, Mazda isn't giving up on the rotary engine anytime soon. Though the RX-8 is headed for the production guillotine, Mazda execs have apparently confirmed that engineers are working on a more efficient and more powerful version of the Wankel. While the project was technically back-burnered during the economic downturn, the research wasn't canned outright. That means that there's a chance that the rotary could make a comeback. What
Mazda Kabura Concept – Click above for high-res image gallery
Click above for high-res gallery of the 2009 Mazda RX-8.
Say what you will about the styling of the Mazda Taiki concept that's currently on display in Tokyo. It's quite possible that what's underneath is more interesting, anyway. Under the hood of the Taiki is a new gen rotary engine from Mazda called the 16X Renesis. Of course, the Rotary engine has its share of detractors, but Mazda's sticking with it anyway.
When the newest issue of Road & Track arrived in our mailbox, we were impressed that the 60th anniversary issue was sport compactalicious. The cover sports the new Mitsubishi EVO X alongside a photochopped '08 Impreza STI, and the inevitable shootout consists of the Civic Si, MazdaSpeed3, MINI Cooper S, Sentra SE-R Spec V and the VW GTI.