Is Mazda secretly preparing a Mazda6-based coupe powered by a rotary engine?

Mazda RX-9 rendering
Mazda hasn’t offered a rotary-engined car since the RX-8 was given the axe in 2012. That doesn’t mean the Wankel engine is gone for good, and a new report coming out of Australia finds the Hiroshima-based automaker is busily developing its next rotary-engined coupe.

Tentatively called RX-9, the coupe will be built on a rear-wheel drive evolution of the SkyActiv platform that currently underpins the Mazda6. What it will be powered by is an open question at this point because it’s still at the embryonic stage of development, but sources close to Mazda speculate it could use some form of electrification in order to keep the low gas mileage that’s typically associated with Wankel engines in check. A manual transmission will come standard, and buyers will likely be able to order an automatic gearbox, all-wheel drive, or both at an extra cost.

Mazda put the rotary-engined coupe on hiatus a couple of years ago because it had to focus on renewing its core models in order to return to profitability, a task that’s easier said than done for an independent automaker. Persistent industry rumors claimed that a successor to the RX-8 had been axed for good, but Mazda is adamant that the project was never fully abandoned.

“After all, after the MX-5, the rotary is the spirit of the company. They’d all love to work on the next one,” points out an anonymous insider in an interview with Motoring.

If all goes as planned, the RX-9 will be previewed by a close-to-production concept that will be presented at a major auto show in 2017, a date that coincides with the 50th anniversary of the Cosmo Sport, Mazda’s first-ever regular-production, rotary-engined car. The concept will be toned down a little, and the RX-9 will be unveiled in 2020 as part of the automaker’s centennial celebrations.


Muscle cars, trucks, and EVs roared into the subdued 2019 Detroit Auto Show

The 2019 Detroit Auto Show was the quietest edition of the event in recent memory, but that doesn't mean nothing significant happened inside the Cobo Center. Here are the new cars and concepts we saw at the show.

Nissan IMs concept teases a future long-range, autonomous electric car

Debuting at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show, the Nissan IMs is an electric car with a 380-mile range, autonomous-driving capability, and a backseat designed for being chauffeured. Too bad it's just a concept car.

Self-driving, electric, and connected, the cars of CES 2019 hint at the future

Car companies remained surprisingly quiet during CES 2018. But they spoke up in 2019. From electric hatchbacks you can buy in 2019 to super-futuristic mood-detecting technology, here are the major announcements we covered during the event.

See the hotly anticipated 2020 Toyota Supra in motion before its unveiling

Toyota's plan to once again lure enthusiasts into showrooms involves bringing back the Supra, one of its most emblematic nameplates. Here's what we know so far about the upcoming coupe, which Toyota is developing jointly with BMW.

2020 Ford Explorer branches out with sporty ST, efficiency-focused hybrid models

The 2020 Ford Explorer gets two variants never before seen on Ford's stalwart family hauler. The ST focuses on performance, while the hybrid aims for decent gas mileage. Both models will debut at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show.

Some of Volkswagen’s electric models will wear a ‘Made in the USA’ label

Confirming earlier rumors, Volkswagen has announced it will build electric cars in its Chattanooga, Tennessee, factory. The facility currently produces the Passat and the Atlas. Production will start in 2023, Digital Trends can reveal.

Infiniti previews its leap into one of the hottest industry segments

Infiniti will unveil the QX Inspiration concept at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show. The design study is an electric crossover shaped by Infiniti's newest design language that may point to a future production model.

Hyundai’s Veloster N hot hatchback will prove its mettle on the track

The Hyundai Veloster N will go racing to prove the credibility of Hyundai's new N performance division. Unveiled at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show, the Veloster N race car will compete in a class with other small cars.

The 2020 Lexus RC F goes on a diet to run faster and hit harder

The Lexus RC F has been one of the heavier cars in its competitive set since its introduction. The Japanese firm's engineers set out to shed weight as they gave the model a mid-cycle update.

Lexus LC convertible concept teases a new open-air flagship

Debuting at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show, the Lexus LC convertible concept adds open-air motoring to the sleek LC's resume. But Lexus won't commit to a production version of the car just yet.

Fast and Furious fans get revved up: Toyota’s Supra sports car is back

The 2020 Toyota Supra made its long-awaited debut at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show. The resurrected sports car, famous for a role in The Fast and the Furious, goes on sale in the U.S. this summer.

Big tech, bigger grille: BMW updates its 7 Series flagship for 2020

The BMW 7 Series will enter the 2020 model year with a host of updates inside, outside, and under the sheet metal. The new-look nose with a jumbo grille hides updated engines, while passengers benefit from smart tech features.
Emerging Tech

Ford’s sweaty robot bottom can simulate 10 years of seat use in mere days

Ford has developed 'Robutt,' a sweaty robot bottom that's designed to simulate the effects of having a pair of human buttocks sitting on its car seats for thousands of hours. Check it out.

In McLaren’s 600LT Spider, the engine is the only sound system you’ll need

The McLaren 600LT Spider is the inevitable convertible version of the 600LT coupe, itself a lighter, more powerful version of the McLaren 570S. The 600LT Spider boasts a 592-horsepower, twin-turbo V8, and a loud exhaust system to hear it…