The 2015 Mazda2 will feature a Wankel rotary engine, just not in the way you think

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.

According to a report by Motoring, the 2015 Mazda2 will receive a plug-in hybrid variant that features a small Wankel as a gas-powered range extender.

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.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Robotic companions and computer-aided karaoke

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it's fun to gawk!
Product Review

Audio-Technica's M50xBT headphones bring signature studio sound to the streets

Audio pros may balk at cutting the cord on studio headphones, but it’s hard to argue with these results. Audio-Technica’s wireless ATH-M50xBT offer massive battery life and killer sound you can take anywhere.
Emerging Tech

Scientists use drone to map Icelandic cave in preparation for Mars exploration

Researchers from the SETI Institute and Astrobotic Technology have demonstrated a way that astronauts may be able to map Martian caves using a Lidar-equipped drone that can travel autonomously without GPS.

These are the best memory foam mattress toppers for a better night’s sleep

You may not want to drop a bunch of cash on a new mattress, but with a good mattress topper, you may not have to. Modern technologies make it easier to get a good night's sleep, and we've rounded up the top 10 mattress toppers you can buy.

Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi group uses Microsoft cloud platform for connected cars

The Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance is launching a new cloud platform for its cars. Based on Microsoft Azure, the Alliance Intelligent Cloud will enable features like connected services and over-the-air updates.

The 2019 Toyota C-HR gains a popular tech feature as its price comes down

Toyota has updated the C-HR, its entry-level crossover, by adding an entry-level trim level to the lineup. Every model regardless of price also comes standard with an 8.0-inch touchscreen compatible with Apple CarPlay.
Product Review

2019 Volkswagen Jetta offers German refinement and tech at an affordable price

With enough tech to make villains jealous, the Volkswagen Jetta punches above its class as a forward-thinking sedan. Spacious, comfortable, and efficient, the Jetta is a refined offering. German refinement comes with a serious attitude.

The 2020 Porsche Cayenne Coupe is an exercise in form-over-function design

Porsche expanded its lineup of SUVs with a swoopier evolution of the Cayenne named Cayenne Coupe. Don't let the name fool you: it still has four doors. It stands out with a fastback-like roofline that's lower than the Cayenne's.
Product Review

Chris is the virtual co-pilot phone-obsessives need in their car

Driving while using your phone is dangerous, and often illegal. Meet Chris, the digital assistant for your car that wants to help keep your hands off your phone, and your eyes on the road.

Protect yourself and your ride with our favorite dash cams

Dashboard cameras can assist drivers in car accident claims, settle speeding ticket disputes, and even catch glimpses of incoming meteors, among other things. Here, we've compiled a list of the most noteworthy offerings available.

Tesla revives its referral program with chances to win a Roadster

Tesla has revived its referral program that ended in February because of cost pressures. This time around the perks aren't quite as diverse, though it does offer regular chances to win a Roadster or Model Y.

Tesla ends scheduled servicing because electric cars need less maintenance

Tesla will longer offer scheduled maintenance plans, switching to an "as needed" model. This reflects the fact that electric cars need less regular maintenance than gasoline or diesel cars.

The go kart-like Mini Cooper will soon add zero emissions to its resume

Mini is in the final stages of developing an electric version of the Cooper. The 2020 Cooper SE will receive powertrain components from the BMW i3, including a 181-horsepower electric motor and battery technology.

Formula 1 is putting data in the driver’s seat, and not all racers are happy

After a single weekend of racing, a Formula 1 pit crew typically pulls around 2TB of data from the car. Everything, from tire pressure to the temperature of the track, is recorded and analyzed in the name of boosting performance -- and not…