The rotary is back! The Mazda RX-Vision concept unveiled at the Tokyo motor show previews a return of an engine design synonymous with the Japanese brand.
Mazda says its two-door coupe concept – expected but unconfirmed to go into production – delivers the classic proportions of a front engine, rear-wheel drive model.
It sits low and wide, with a long nose like a Jaguar F-Type and a similar cab-rearward design. The interior is minimalist almost to the point of retro.
The brand says the styling of the RX-Vision “is modern but maintains a sense of lineage and authenticity, encapsulating Mazda’s entire history of sports car design.”
At 4.389 metres long, the RX-Vision stretches further than the RX-7 Series 7 (4.295m) but stops short of the four-door RX-8 (4.47m) that last utilised rotary power between 2003 and 2012.
Width of 1.925m is beyond either (each 1.3-litre-engined predecessor measured about 1.75m), although the concept uses the same 2.7m wheelbase as the RX-8.
The “incredibly low bonnet” owes to a new rotary engine dubbed Skyactiv-R, in a similar naming strategy to Mazda petrol/gasoline (Skyactiv-G) and diesel (Skyactiv-D) engines.
No engine specifications have been given, with Mazda admitting there are issues with the rotary engine to be resolved but committing to addressing them because the design forms part of “the soul of the Mazda brand.”
“Mazda will never stop challenging to deliver new rotary engines that provide its unique brand of driving pleasure,” the company says in a statement.
“Skyactiv technology [will help] towards achieving a breakthrough in addressing three key issues with rotary engines – fuel economy, emissions performance and reliability.”
It’s a tacit acknowledgement that these were major issues with the RX-8, which produced 170kW and 211Nm in manual guise but slurped 12.9L/100km on the official cycle.
In two years Mazda will celebrate 50 years since it introduced the Cosmo Sport using the brand’s first rotary engine.
It will be a celebration that that will likely include a production version of this RX-Vision concept set to revive the RX-7 nameplate or continue onwards to RX-9.