The Mazda RX-7’s 2017 revival may preview a second rotary in 2020

Mazda RX-9 rendering

Last week, Mazda design chief and RX-8 designer Ikuo Maeda said he would “never give up” in reference to an RX series successor.

According to a new report by Motoring, there’s a new concept being developed alongside the new RX-7, however it won’t see the light of day until 2020.

All signs still point toward a 2017 release date for the RX-7, but now, Motoring’s executive source at Mazda says that the rotary is coming back with a bang.

“We want to surprise everyone in 2017 with something special to celebrate the birth of the rotary,” the executive said. “Then, to celebrate the company’s 100th birthday, we want to take it to another level in 2020.”

The new, 2020-bound car will reportedly be called the RX-9, and may feature a 450-horsepower, twin-rotor 16X unit. The 16X, also called the RENESIS, improves on the first-gen Wankel 13B by offering true direct injection, increased torque, and higher displacement than before.

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Mazda’s 450-hp target has allegedly given the brand some trouble, as Motoring’s source said “to get there with a rotary engine is not easy. To get to the targeted [450 hp], some significant extra devices are necessary.”

The “extra devices” the source refers to may be a two-stage turbo system that includes an electric boost at low rpm, while the turbines kick in as the revs climb.

Another bit of encouragement for rotary fans: both the RX-7 and RX-9 nameplates have also been registered as patents by Mazda.

The 2017 reveal date is particularly appropriate, as May of that year will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Mazda Comso. The Cosmo is notable for being the first production vehicle to feature a Wankel rotary engine. 

(RX-9 rendering by Alex Hodge)