When the RX-8 died, so did the rotary engine in the Mazda lineup. Replaced by a more efficient Skyactiv system, the inefficient and expensive-to-operate rotary seemed like it was at its end. But don’t underestimate Mazda engineers’ love for the Wankel.
In a new report, Mazda tells Autocar (allegedly) that there is still a team of dedicated engineers working to improve the rotary engine. Before you start getting your hopes up on a new RX-7 or RX-8, we have to assume that the project is simply to keep Mazda’s former identity in tact.
The engineers are reportedly “very enthusiastic” about developing a rotary engine equal to or greater than a standard gas engine. For now, though, the rotary remains a niche product that likely won’t see the market for another few years.
What about the possibility of a new RX sports car? We won’t hold our breath. Mazda’s CEO has shot down numerous reports suggesting the return of the fabled RX-7 or RX-8. But if engineers do find a way of creating a more efficient and powerful Wankel in the near future, it could be a very interesting development.