It’s been more than a decade since the last Mazda RX-8 rolled off the production line. The RX-8 didn’t make a massive amount of power, but it sure could corner, and most importantly, it had a rotary engine. Since then, rumour after rumour has continued to pop up, tricking us into thinking that maybe, just maybe, Mazda was going to finally give us the long-awaited but never confirmed RX-9. And yet, it has never happened. Don’t worry, though, this time it’s definitely real.
Mazda CEO Katsuhiro Moro announced at the 2024 Tokyo Auto Salon that the Japanese automaker is forming a team of engineers dedicated to rotary engine development, Motor1 reports. As part of a speech that focused on the recently revealed Iconic SP concept, Moro said:
I am very happy and deeply moved by all the support and encouragement I have received for the compact sports car concept. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all. With your encouragement, we are launching a rotary engine development group on February 1 to move closer to this dream.
In order to break through the challenges of the carbon-neutral era, rotary engine engineers who have acquired a broad technical perspective that transcends the boundaries of engine types and cutting-edge internal combustion engine technology, and who have been trained as users of model-based development, will reunite. It is not so easy, but I hope we can take a step forward into a new chapter of insatiable challenge.
We’ve been fooled before, but we also can’t help but feel a small amount of hope that Mazda is actually going to build the Iconic SP. Like the engine in the MX-30 crossover, the Iconic SP’s engine is meant to serve as a range extender to charge the batteries, which is probably the only way to feasibly put a rotary engine into production these days. And clearly Mazda is dedicating resources to making that happen. Still, we’re firmly in the “we’ll believe it when we see it” camp. We don’t want to get hurt again.
We’ve reached out to Mazda for more comment but haven’t heard back. We’ll update this post as soon as it responds.
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