The rotary engine clearly is a cornerstone of Mazda’s identity, despite the automaker not offering one in a production car since the RX-8 shuffled off this mortal rotor. But the stunning RX-Vision concept packed a Wankel rotary, and hopeful chatter from executives in the wake of that car’s debut gave the impression that the company was working hard to bring the layout back. Now, new details from a powertrain engineer have emerged.
Australian outlet Motoring spoke to Mazda’s drivetrain and powertrain assistant manager, Tetsushi Marutani, and he had quite a few things to say about Mazda’s work on a new rotary engine: “We are still developing the new engines with rotary. So in the future we hope to release it, of course, yes. But it’s still under development,” Marutani said. “We can’t say anything about the [rotary] program; when, what type of vehicle, what is the horsepower, we can’t say anything about it yet.”
Asked about forced induction, Marutani said, “Personally, I think that a rotary with some turbo or compressor would be good. Because a rotary, in my opinion, they require more [torque at] low speed, low down torque. So if we have some small compressor or turbo it would help.”
So Mazda’s working on a new rotary engine, and it likes the idea of once again adopting turbocharging. That’s great news. But while we’ve known for some time that Mazda is actively trying to find a way to build a new rotary engine, the inherent shortcomings of rotary engines continue to make meeting emissions and fuel-economy targets tricky. For now, we’re simply glad the company is still devoting plenty of time and resources to the project.
This story originally appeared on Road & Track.