Mazda got its fans sufficiently hot and bothered when it revealed its RX-Vision Concept at the Tokyo Motor Show last year, and now it’s turning up the heat with hints of a turbocharged rotary engine within the production sports car.
Long-rumored and long-sought-after is a successor to the Japanese automaker’s iconic RX-7 sports car. We already know the two-door revival will wield a SKYACTIV-R rotary motor, and now drivetrain and powertrain assistant manager Tetsushi Marutani has elaborated on how the new motor might be packaged.
Marutani notes that rotary powertrains lack sufficient low-speed torque and acknowledges that a turbocharger (or likely a pair of ‘em) would solve that problem. Forced induction is now an industry standard for improving performance from small displacement motors, and while Mazda has resisted such a setup for its roadster, the MX-5 Miata, its previous and likely next-generation MazdaSpeed3 hatch will pack turbochargers.
Without any further details about the production RX’s performance, we’re left clinging to rumors about a 400+ horsepower 1.6-liter motor. That much power from such a compact motor would indeed be impressive for a turbocharged unit, but naturally-aspirated? That’s suspect.
Mazda has yet to announce a launch date for its RX revival, but next year is 50th anniversary of the the brand’s rotary engine and 2020 is the company’s centenary, so either year would make an appropriate stage for such an important model.
Marutani said as much by confirming that both dates would be celebrated with the introduction of new technologies, including engines, gearboxes, and an all-wheel-drive system. Frankly, the RX-Vision is so handsome, it could commit a number of purist “sins” and still be an instant classic if the styling carries over to production. Fortunately, Mazda hasn’t traditionally been an automaker to tarnish the driving experience, even when greater profit margins are on the line.