The last thing we heard about the possibility of a rotary-powered Mazda RX-8 successor was Mazda CEO Masamachi Kogai’s assertion that it’s not going to happen anytime soon. But according to a new report, all hope is not lost. At the Frankfurt auto show, Kogai told Autocar that there is still a Mazda engineering team working on rotary engine development.
Though he didn’t specify the reason for this team’s continued work on rotaries, Kogai did emphasize that these engineers are working to get the unique engine technology up to snuff in terms of C02 emissions and low-end torque. Essentially, Mazda will only consider bringing back rotary powertrains if it can match the standards of conventional piston engines, meaning that there’s no timeline yet for when a new Mazda RX sports car may arrive.
Even still, the fact that Mazda is still working on rotary engines is an encouraging sign. Previous rumors about a new Mazda RX sports car have run rampant ever since the Mazda RX-8 went out of production in 2012. While previous estimates about a 450-hp Mazda RX-7 with a turbocharged rotary engine arriving as soon as 2017 don’t look promising, Autocar speculates that a new Mazda RX sports car could debut in time for the original RX-7’s 40th anniversary in 2018—that is, if Mazda’s rotary development is going as well as Kogai says it is.
Stay tuned for more news on a future Mazda sports car plans to see if the RX faithful might have something to get excited about.