FD Mazda RX-7

FD Mazda RX-7

As we reported last month, Mazda has no plans to abandon its Wankel rotary engine despite the automaker struggling to meet new fuel economy and emissions standards with its latest designs. The Mazda RX-8 is currently the only production car on the market with a rotary engine but it will be phased out after the current model year, namely because it’s engine is a gas-guzzler, rivaling some V-8s for thirst.

A successor is planned and with it a new name and a new rotary engine. The new car will carry the RX-9 nameplate and will be more of a successor to the previous RX-7 sports coupe (sold in the U.S. from 1979-1985) rather than the more practical RX-8, according to latest reports. Unlike the Nissan GT-R and Lexus LFA, the Mazda RX-9 is expected to eschew outright performance and prestige in favor of affordability and reliability.

We’ve heard rumors about the RX-9 on several occasions in the past, including one report claiming the car could come with an advanced electrically-driven forced induction system. With the aid of this electric ‘charger’, the rotary engine in the RX-9 could develop upwards of 300 horsepower.

Performance should be nothing short of amazing as the entire vehicle shouldn’t weigh more than 2,755 pounds. This is because the RX-9 will reportedly share its chassis with the next-gen Mazda MX-5 and is being designed as a lithe two door sports coupe.

Unfortunately, development of the new rotary engine, dubbed the 16X because of its 1.6-liters of displacement, is ongoing but still years away from production, which means the launch of the RX-9 isn’t shaping to up to occur anytime soon.

Spy shots of a very early test-mule for the new Mazda RX-9 have already been spotted, however. Click here for all the details.