2012 Mazda RX-7 test mule spy shots
Hidden beneath the makeshift body panels of this awkward looking Mazda6 is the nearly complete running gear of the next-generation Mazda RX-7 rotary-powered sports car.
The vehicle seen here sits much lower than the regular Mazda6 and its wheelbase is shorter. Furthermore, the protruding headlights and reshaped bumpers also confirm that this is no ordinary Mazda6. Another detail not discernable in the spy shots is the position of the fuel filler cap, which onlookers claim is in a totally different position to the one found on the regular Mazda6.
Being the successor to the previous generation FD RX-7, the new test mule should also be sporting a rear-wheel drive layout.
Due for launch in late 2011, the new car is expected to eschew outright performance and prestige in favor of affordability and reliability. Mazda is reportedly looking to evoke the character of the first RX-7 by keeping output around the 200-250 horsepower mark and prices well below $30,000. This will make the new car an ideal competitor to the likes of the Hyundai Genesis Coupe and upcoming Toyota and Subaru joint sports cars.
As for its powerplant, Mazda will use a new generation rotary engine dubbed the Renesis 16X, which it has already previewed in concept form. While this engine is capable of developing power levels upwards of 350 horsepower, Mazda will choose a more modest power output while focusing on lowering the weight of the engine itself and improving reliability and fuel consumption--two of the biggest problems with the current 13B unit found in the RX-8.
For more details on the next-generation RX-7, check out our previous story by clicking here.