When the Mazda RX-8 was phased out in 2011, it meant the end of Wankel rotary engine, at least temporarily. Consequentially, auto enthusiasts made a collective sad face. We loved the high-revving, oil-burning, low displacement thrills that came with Mazda’s spinning triangle, but the Wankel isn’t dead yet.
Rotary fans have the 2013 Mazda2 RE prototype to thank, as the electric car was retrofitted with a .330-liter rotary range extender in 2013. The 220-pound Wankel was fastened under the rear of the RE, and fed power directly to the lithium-ion battery pack. Because it was mounted on its side, it nearly eliminated vertical vibration.
This made the engine much quieter, so it didn’t disrupt the stealthy driving characteristics of the electric vehicle.
The addition of the Wankel, which sipped from a 2.3-gallon fuel tank, nearly doubled the range of the Mazda2 RE to 236 miles. The next generation Mazda2, which is known as the Demio overseas, looks to be a continuation of that concept. The standard Mazda 2 will feature a SKYACTIV-D 1.5-liter diesel that develops 103 horsepower.
The Mazda2 will likely draw styling cues from the Hazumi Concept that debuted at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show. The supermini hatchback embodied the same “Kodo” design philosophy that underpins the Mazda3, Mazda6, and CX-5, but it’s been downsized to emphasize fuel economy and affordability.
Kodo sees a car as a living, breathing work of art rather than a mass of independent components. Its tagline, “Kodo: Soul of Motion,” accentuates that philosophy. We hope to see the emotive Kodo designs from the Hazumi Concept featured on the production Mazda2 when it’s released in the coming months.