Mazda has been hinting at a new rotary for pretty much the last decade yet it seems that we’re still no closer to seeing the unique, Wankel-designed engine fitted to one of the automaker’s cars. The last rotary-powered Mazda was the RX-8, which bowed out of production back in 2012.
Well, on the eve of this week’s Tokyo Motor Show, Mazda confirmed that a new rotary-powered car is coming in the near future. The car will feature an all-new rotary design dubbed the SkyActiv-R, and a preview of this technology will come in the form of a sports car concept being unveiled Thursday at the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show.
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The new rotary-powered car is also expected to be a sports car, with a launch taking place either in 2017 to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the arrival of the Cosmo Sport (Mazda’s first rotary-powered car and the first volume production car to feature such an engine), or perhaps in 2020 to coincide with Tokyo’s hosting of the Olympic Games.
Mazda sees the rotary as part of its DNA so there was never a chance that the automaker would retire it, despite the difficulties in getting the engine, which is notorious for its high fuel consumption, to meet the latest fuel economy and emissions regulations. There has been speculation that Mazda may team the engine with hybrid technology to make it more efficient, though nothing on this front has been confirmed yet.
We’ll update the story as soon as more details are known. In the meantime, catch the rest of our Tokyo Motor Show coverage via our dedicated hub.