When Mazda stopped production of its RX-8 sports car in 2012, many enthusiasts became upset! There were many reasons why this happened. The car failed to meet new European emissions standards in 2010. And there just wasn’t enough people buying them to justify production costs.
The Japanese car manufacturer had stated that there would be no more RX sports cars in the future. But recent news suggests that a successor to the popular model is currently under development!
Will there be a new rotary-engined sports car?
Mazda enthusiasts will tell you that there were many inherent problems with the design of the Wankel rotary engine.
The Japanese firm ceased production of rotary engines in 2012, and it is not likely that it will make a return to future models. At least, not in its present guise.
Some of the problems associated with Mazda’s rotary engines include:
Rotor sealing – each combustion chamber operates at different temperatures. In a piston engine, all stages of combustion occur in one chamber (the cylinder);
Slow combustion – despite the engine’s performance benefits, it suffers from slow combustion. That is due to the large combustion chamber;
Poor fuel economy – exhaust gases are full of unburnt petrol and carbon monoxide. That occurs during different engine speeds. The only way to get good fuel economy is to drive at a constant speed;
High emissions – this is one of the reasons for the demise of the Mazda RX-8 sports car.
What will power the Mazda RX-8’s successor?
Mazda haven’t released many details about the successor to the popular RX-8 sports car. The motoring press have reported that Mazda will unveil a new sports car to the world in three years from now.
Some rumours speculate that an “RX-9” will make an appearance, with a new improved Wankel rotary engine. As interesting as those rumours sound, it isn’t likely that the new car will bear the “RX-9” moniker. Nor will it feature a rotary engine.
Building a new rotary engine isn’t with Mazda’s current SKYACTIV engine ethos. The SKYACTIV engines are high-compression petrol and diesel inline units. And given that rotary engines are quite thirsty and have high emissions, you aren’t likely to see them in future Mazda cars.
What is likely is a high-revving SKYACTIV engine. We will see it fitted to a lightweight body shell. It is something that we know will feature in the future MX-5 sports car.
Why the 2017 release?
The motoring press are assuming that the 2017 release of the Mazda RX-8’s successor is a notable time to produce a new model. According to Imperial Car Supermarket, it will coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Mazda Cosmo.
The Mazda Cosmo was the first car produced by the Japanese firm which featured a Wankel rotary engine. The car was a grand touring coupe, produced until 1996. It was also Mazda’s flagship vehicle.
Mazda named the car the “Cosmo” because they wanted people to see them as “forward-thinking.” They also wanted people to view them as a firm that pushed technological boundaries.