NEWS: Mazda is working on a new, possibly turbo, rotary engine

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Last fall at the Tokyo Motor Show Mazda revealed a stunning vision for the future. Appropriately, it was called the RX-Vision, and as the name implies, it was a rotary-powered sports car in the tradition of the Mazda RX-7 and Cosmo Sport. While it was loved by enthusiasts, most have been burned one too many times by the “Here’s an incredible concept for you to drool over but we won’t build it” switcharoo. Not this time. 

Mazda SkyActiv-R rotary engine patent drawing 04

We had heard from company sources that Mazda has been working on a new type of rotary engine, but proof of this has been confirmed by newly discovered patent drawings revealed today. Taken from the US Patent and Trademark Office, the filing (PDF) appears to confirm that development of the SkyActiv-R rotary engine is not only well underway, but significantly different than Mazda’s previous rotary designs.

Mazda SkyActiv-R rotary engine patent drawing 03

For one, the intake port is on the bottom, by the crossmember where the turbo has traditionally sat. The reason for this, Mazda says, is because the longer distance the air must travel in the intake manifold helps create inertia, providing a “dynamic forced-induction effect.” However, just in case that’s not enough forced induction for ya, having the exhaust port on top gives exiting gases a shorter trip to the turbo, which means less resistance and quicker spooling.

Mazda RX-Vision Sk50030

Understandably, journalists have been wary of declaring rotary engine production, having been proved wrong by other promising (and promised) concepts. Remember, though, CEO Masamichi Kogai gave an impassioned speech at the Tokyo Motor Show about how he personally wants to make a rotary sports car a reality. In talks both public and private, company engineers constantly describe the rotary engine as the soul of Mazda. Sure, these could be dismissed as typical marketing buzzwords, but given everything we know about Mazda and its culture, it’s not.

Mazda Cosmo Sport Spirit of Mazda

The car that this new rotary engine ends up in won’t look like the RX-Vision. That was just a design study, albeit one that makes a strong statement about where Mazda would like to see itself go as a company. Apparently, a beautiful, rotary-powered sports GT is the ultimate expression of the marque’s philosophy. The company is strong on heritage, and is fully aware that the 50th anniversary of its rotary engine is next year, 2017.

Back when the RX-Vision was unveiled, we called it Mazda’s battle cry in a world that has largely abandoned the sports car. Now they have the ammo to back it up.

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18 Responses to NEWS: Mazda is working on a new, possibly turbo, rotary engine

  1. Tim said:

    Mazda, I am waiting. I have made my bank account ready for you. Bring me the GT of my dreams!

  2. Jim Simspson said:

    I hope they really plan to build this car it is amazing to say the least…

  3. no salsa said:

    Sounds to me like they turned the engine upside down.

    • j_tso said:

      That’s exactly what the first drawing shows.

      Looks like it’d be a pain to change that injector if it needed to be.

      • emuman said:

        The intake system should be simplier, because the new engine has only one intake port. So at least you have less injectors to change and they should be reachable from the bottom.

  4. Lupus said:

    Damn! I’ve just got goose bumps… 🙂

  5. KiKiIchiBan said:

    Not owned an RX7 for about 5 years now, this would make me buy another RX Make it happen Mazda.

  6. Perplex said:

    Do it Mazda!!! Great!! Keep the rotary alive

  7. MikeRL411 said:

    Mazda! The little guy with guts! Their attitude seems to be “We can’t make as many as you, so we make them better!”

  8. Daniel said:

    Please mazda make exactly like the concept! And make a rotary hidrogen engine.
    Can be the first sport mass produced hidrogen car. And also make a gasoline version. Show to the world that rotary engine is alive and ahead of the time!

  9. Tj. said:

    I don’t doubt that Mazda genuinely want to build a new rotary sports car, and that alone sets them apart from many other manufacturers who’s talk of “soul” and “heritage” would be little more than show-boating, but I feel like they’re still figuring out how to do it in today’s automotive climate. It’ll be no easy feat.
    I’m sure they could make a great car with a conventional power plant but it wouldn’t be the same. And that they know this is the important thing.

    They have a hit on their hands with the ND MX5 so if they can make it a one-two punch with a successful new RE sports car it would be a great thing to see.

    • John M said:

      It will never pass north american emissions because of the design flaw of high oil consumption that the rotary needs to survive.

      • D Christensen said:

        Which is BS since my new mini consumes more oil than both my 12a powered RX7 and my 32 year old VW GTI combined. Not to mention all of the BMWs at work that love to burn and leak anything that isn’t gas.

        • John M said:

          you may want to look at why the rx 08 was pulled from the british market and then 2 years later from north america. it had nothing to do with sales but to do with failing emissions tests before the cars were even considered to be high mileage. Mazda made a deal with the EPA to escape public embarrassment.

          • emuman said:

            The Renesis was homologated in Europe as EURO 4. When you look at the emission numbers it should pass the EURO 5 test, but it was at it’s end of life anyway. Don’t forget that it came to market in 2003 and was sold until 2009 in europe. Japanese cars in general are nearly never rehomologated to newer emission standards. E.g. the Prius 2 has no problems to pass EURO 6 but stayed on EURO 4 until it was replaced in 2009.

  10. Tom Westmacott said:

    I saw an FD3S on the Wangan last week, running among thick traffic. Among the boxy minivans and keis that constitute the modern Japanese fleet, the RX-7 looked incredibly elegant, like a lady in a kimono among a crowd of conventionally attired OLs; a vision from an earlier age.

    The original MX-5 was also unfashionable, arriving into a world that had abandoned the small two-seat roadster. Funnily enough, the idea still had merit, and caught on. Now the world (bar Porsche) seem to have abandoned proper sports cars, as you say – perhaps the time is right for unconventional Mazda to do it again.

  11. Billy said:

    Long intake runners are useful for torque building on **Naturally Aspirated** engines…

  12. I’ve got one thing to say about this:

    YEAH B B B B B BABY!

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