Mazda’s rotary engine grew into a phenomenon over the years. Its nimbleness and smoothness made it into an icon in the eyes of connoisseurs everywhere – that is, when they didn’t experience troubles…
But unfortunately, as emission standards were becoming more and more rigorous, Mazda canned the Wankel program along with the RX-8 model in 2012 – to a lot of people’s disappointment. Or so we thought, as the Japanese car maker apparently only paused the manufacturing process in order to focus on its development.
Make no mistake, the RX-8 will remain part of Mazda’s rich history, but the rotary internal combustion engine still has a chance of making it into production. Autocar magazine reports that Mazda’s president – Masamichi Kogai – confirmed at the Frankfurt motor show that the company still has a dedicated engineering team focused on rotary engine development. Moreover, the group is currently working towards bringing it up to the standards of contemporary piston engines.
Wait, don’t get too psyched about the engine’s return, as Masamichi Kogai said that Mazda won’t bring it back unless it will comply with modern-day conventional engine standards. Apparently, other key features are in development in order to make it feasible in the modern-day, efficiency-obsessed world – besides the obvious emissions issue – such as considerable improvements to the cold-start characteristics, and a wider torque band at lower revs.
Now, as fun and cool as the 1.3-litre Renesis engine was to drive, it was also hard and complicated to maintain. Sure, its specific operating style and service details made it even more special and connected with the driver, but it was a handful for beginners and casual owners.
Nevertheless, Kogai did not provide a specific date when or if the engine will return (and in what car), but the British magazine reckons there’s a possibility to see a new RX by 2018, to coincide with the car maker’s 40th anniversary of the original RX-7.
2007 Mazda Taiki concept pictured