Mazda is famous for many things, but the rotary-engined sports cars are the company’s most iconic creations to date. So, it’s by no means surprising that enthusiasts have been clamoring for a successor to the RX-8 ever since the four-door coupe was discontinued in 2012. However, despite recent rumors that the Japanese automaker is working on a rotary sports car, it seems that Mazda doesn’t have any actual plans to build a production model.
Speaking to Automotive News, Mazda CEO Masamichi Kogai broke heartbreaking news for rotary fans, saying that Mazda isn’t yet ready to produce an engine that would meet future emissions regulations.
“We ended production of the RX-8 with the rotary engine. But if we were to restart production of the rotary engine again, we need to make sure it wouldn’t be just short-lived. We need it to meet future emissions regulations. We are still conducting our r&d activity to overcome any issues we have with emissions and fuel efficiency,” he said, adding that a range-extender rotary is more likely to arrive first.
“Considering regulations such as the zero-emissions vehicle mandate, electrification is a technology we need to introduce in the near future. The range extender would be the first,” he added.
Unfortunately, the bad news doesn’t stop here, as Kogai also told the outlet that a larger sports car that would slot above the MX-5 is out of the question right now. Kogai’s firm “No” comes as a blow to the head following reports claiming that the gorgeous RX-Vision Concept is scheduled to arrive sometime in 2019 with the RX-7 moniker. Needless to say, it could still happen in the future, but Kogai made it clear that such a car isn’t even on the drawing table. It may take a while…
Rotary aside, the CEO also confirmed that Mazda is working on a new generation of SkyActiv technologies that will find its way into production cars by March 2019. The Japanese carmaker also wants to move upmarket and distinguish itself from the other mainstream brands from the country. This overhaul will begin with the next-generation Mazda6, Mazda3, and CX-3, which are set to get “major updates.”
Why it matters
Granted, it’s a bit upsetting that Mazda isn’t very anxious to launch a new rotary-powered model, but we need to keep in mind that such an engine requires a lot of new technology and significant upgrades compared to the one that motivated the RX-8. The latter had many problems drivetrain-wise, not to mention that its powerplant wasn’t exactly efficient. With fuel economy and emissions regulations about to become more harsh in the near future, it’s not difficult to understand why Mazda is in no hurry to launch a new rotary motor. On the other hand, a larger sports car would make sense for the Japanese brand, and the company’s refusal to turn the RX-Vision into a production model is difficult to understand. All I can hope is that Kogai just wants to keep the next RX-7 a secret for now.
Gallery Mazda RX-VISION Concept