You have to hand it to Mazda. When many of its rivals are bumping up the displacement of their sports car engines and adding forced induction technology in an effort to draw more power, Mazda is sticking to its rotary heritage for both its current and future generation of sports cars.

The Japanese automaker is reportedly working on a successor to its ultra-sexy FD RX-7, which bowed out of the market in the earlier part of the decade. An inside source has revealed to Edmunds that not only is a new RX-7 in the works but a brand new Renesis rotary engine is too. The story doesn't end there as the same sources has said that the new RX-7 may actually replace the slow-selling and relatively expensive RX-8.

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 original RX-7 (sold in the U.S. from 1979-1985) 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.

Styling is expected to be influenced by 2007’s race-inspired Furai concept car (pictured) as well the 2008 Takai concept.

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.


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