1999 Mazda RX-7Enlarge Photo
Mazda is working on a new rotary engine, and is expected to debut it next year. It will serve as a range-extender for an electric car, which will most likely be based on the next-generation Mazda3.
This is a sad future for an engine that has powered some of the greatest sports and race cars ever known, including a Le Mans winner.
Mazda rotary engineEnlarge Photo
Yamamoto has a very long history with the rotary engine. He was the powertrain manager for the last RX-7, and he also designed the engine in the Le Mans-winning 787B race car.
He revealed that the new RX-7 would feature Mazda’s still-in-development 16X rotary engine, which will retain the previous 13B’s twin-rotor design but will see its displacement increase to 1.6 liters. Peak output will likely come close to 300 horsepower, though without the aid of turbocharging.
Yamamoto explained that special catalytic converters and Mazda’s latest SKYACTIV technology will help the new rotary engine be much more fuel-efficient than previous versions. He also said there would be no hybrid tech on the RX-7 due to its intended purist sports car positioning.
1967 Mazda Cosmo 110SEnlarge Photo
In the U.S. the next RX-7 is expected to come as a strict two-seater, while in other markets a 2+2 seating arrangement will be offered.
Sadly, five more years is still a very, very long time to wait.