Don’t worry; the Japanese company has a dedicated team of engineers working on the next generation of the rotary engine for eight years now.
After revealing the gorgeous RX-Vision concept in Tokyo, Mazda finally gave some info on the anticipated return of the rotary engine. Code-named 16X, the new engine is being developed by a dedicated team of 50 engineers for the past eight years.
Mazda is looking for a breakthrough in the design of the iconic rotary engine in order to bring it back to production and so far, the 16X unit hasn’t reached the performance targets set by the company. This came straight from Mazda’s boss Masamichi Kogai who spoke to reporters last Tuesday.
“We have a dream that one day, this design with a rotary engine will achieve a level that customers will accept,” Masamichi Kogai said through an interpreter to Automotive News. We have rotary engine fans and they will not be satisfied if we have the same exact rotary engine from before.”
Despite the development setback and their limited R&D funds, Mazda will keep pushing the rotary envelope until their goal is reached. The RX-Vision concept’s destiny for production lies upon this and if the 16X rotary engine is considered good enough, the new coupe will be based on the same chassis with the MX-5 roadster, but with added rigidity so it can cope with the increased power.
The reason why Mazda hasn’t announced a date for the return of the rotary engined sports car is simply because the company is not keeping a traditional timetable, as officials are reluctant to put more pressure on their engineers to solve the main issues of the rotary technology, like the worse fuel efficiency, the higher emissions and the overall reliability problems when compared with the traditional piston-driven engines.
And if you think that the 50-strong team of engineers is not enough, Kiyoshi Fujiwara, Mazda’s R&D chief said that the team may be small but they are dedicated to the task.
“These 50 engineers want to develop the rotary engine, therefore they joined Mazda,” Fujiwara said. “If I stop the rotary engine, probably they want to leave.”
So, there you have it. The rotary engine will return in the future. It’s not a matter of if but when, so cross your fingers for those 50 engineers to achieve their goal if you want to see the RX-Vision actually making it into production.