“We want to surprise everyone in 2017 with something special to celebrate the birth of rotary,” and “Then, to celebrate the company’s 100th birthday, we want to take it to another level in 2020.” Those are two quotes that a Mazda executive gave to Motoring Australia that taken at face value are rather innocuous, but when combined with the rumors surrounding the return of the RX lineup they could mean a whole lot more.
The two quotes combined with speculation of the return of the RX lineup led Motoring Australia to believe that a concept version of the new RX — possibly bearing the “RX-7” name — will arrive in 2017 with the official production RX-9 arriving in 2020, and we think the Aussie site may be onto something with this speculation. Additionally, Motoring also spoke to a “source” with knowledge on the situation, and this source mentioned that the RX project was put on hold to develop the new MX-5 and now with that out of the way, they can turn their focus back to the RX.
The source went on to mention that the goal for the new RX in terms of output is in the 335-kW (449-horsepower) range, but current rotaries have trouble cresting 225 kW (301 horsepower) without turbo.
Any rotary enthusiast knows that there is an inherent problem with turbocharged rotaries, and that is the rotary engine is particularly sluggish at low rpm and the turbo only helps out in higher revs. According to Motoring’s source, the fix for that issue is to have hybrid technology similar to the range extender on the Mazda2 Range Extender Concept that will also store power in a capacitor that drives an electric turbo at low engine speeds. Once the exhaust-driven turbo spools up, the e-turbo shuts down and the standard turbo takes over.
With that drivetrain in tow, you now have a solution for two of the rotary engine’s biggest issues: the hybrid system fixes fuel economy issues and the e-turbo handles the low-end torque. This stills leave oil consumption as an unsolved issue, but Motoring’s report claims that the new rotary engine Mazda is working on addresses this issue too.
As of now, this is only speculation based on a “source” with knowledge on the situation, so a grain of salt may be necessary.