The rumors of the rotary engine’s death have been greatly exaggerated.
Mazda unveiled the RX-VISION concept at the Tokyo Motor Show, and it’s powered by the next-generation rotary engine.
Called SKYACTIV-R, the new rotary engine continues the legacy of the engine that is synonymous with the Mazda brand. Although the RX-8 was the last Mazda with a rotary, the company hasn’t stopped developing the engine.
The company didn’t say much about the specifics of the engine, but just the fact that it exists and that Mazda is continuing to perfect the rotary engine is enough to excite car enthusiasts.
The Wankel rotary engine doesn’t have pistons like a conventional engine. Instead, it has triangular rotors – think a triangle with curved edges – that compress and ignites the fuel-air mixture. The curved edge of the rotor presses against the engine case as it spins, which is equivalent to a piston moving up the combustion chamber and compressing the gas and air.
Mazda first put a rotary engine in the Cosmo Sport in 1967, and their RX-7 sports car became an iconic vehicle that defined the brand.
The RX-VISION concept car that houses the rotary is an organic, flowing testament to Mazda’s KODO design philosophy. The two-door coupe takes KODO to its extreme in an absolutely stunning manner. The coupe’s long hood and short deck give it classic sports car proportions.
Inside, the RX-VISION has a retro-style spoked wheel that is never seen anymore in the era of airbags and multi-function steering wheels. The interior is spartan but clean and functional, with a brushed aluminum shift knob and conventional round dials.
The chances of the RX-VISION making it to production are infinitesimally small, but the cars that follow the concept’s theme will be interesting to see.
Check out this TFLcar video review of that other iconic Mazda sports car, the 2016 MX-5 Miata: