Mazda launched the RX-Vision Concept moments ago at the Tokyo Motor Show. Now, we can finally reveal definitively what many of you have been hoping for since we first hinted at a return of the rotary.
Not only is Mazda bringing back the rotary, but the sports car itself in an age where nearly every other automaker seems to be eschewing dedicated performance machines. For years, there have been rumors of an RX-7 revival. Each one was followed by a denial. It was a all a ruse. Mazda CEO Masamichi Kogai said that although there are a few technical issues to overcome, we WILL do this. It is part of the insatiable challenge of dreaming at Mazda.
Launched in the wake of the Tokyo Olympics during the golden age of Japan’s post-war prosperity, the original Cosmo Sport was an announcement to the world that Mazda — and to a larger extent, Japan itself — had arrived. Though every nation tried, no other automaker was able to successfully develop the rotary engine for long term production or for a sports car.
Though specs were not given, it was confirmed that it was rear wheel drive, eight inches wider and 1.5 foot longer in wheelbase than an ND Miata. The engine is a new rotary dubbed SkyActiv R.
The rotary was Mazda’s calling card for almost 50 years, powering everything from sports sedans to buses. Since the RX-8 ended production in 2012, however, enthusiasts have been clamoring for a new rotary sports car to fill the void.
With it, Mazda is staking a claim in the automotive realm. While other automakers make excuses about how it’s too expensive to develop a sports car, Mazda is telling the world, “This is who we are.”
Sports cars are halo cars, and Mazda’s already got halo for miles with the MX-5. Still, they’ve come out swinging with a one-two punch during a global economy that is harsher than ever towards sports cars. 2017 will mark the 50th anniversary of the Mazda Cosmo Sport’s debut, but the RX-Vision is not a tribute. It’s more like a battle cry.