Mazda RX-8 set to return in 2017

Mazda confirms Wankel-powered flagship coupe for 2017

Mazda RX-8 front static

Mazda is developing a new rotary-engined sports car to succeed the RX-7 and RX-8, Auto Express has learned. Bigger and more powerful than the Mazda MX-5, the car is aimed at a 2017 launch, to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the launch of the Cosmo Sport, the first Mazda powered by a Wankel rotary engine.

Mazda Engineers are working to address the Wankel engine’s inherent flaws – high fuel and oil consumption and meagre torque – without resorting to turbocharging.

The answers are being sought through Mazda’s ‘SkyActiv’ engineering philosophy, which focuses on shedding weight and using high engine compression ratios to boost power and efficiency from revvy, naturally aspirated engines. It’s a technique we’ve already seen used to great effect in the current Mazda 3 and 6.

It’s understood that Mazda is targeting a 300bhp output for the reborn rotary engine, up from 238bhp in the most potent RX-8. Mazda could opt for a compact, low-slung RX-7-style coupe bodystyle instead of the Mazda RX-8’s four-door configuration, in an effort to slash weight.

The RX-8, discontinued in 2010, weighed in at around 1,310kg – 120kg more than a modern Toyota GT 86. Mazda’s new flagship will stick to rear-wheel drive.

We hear that an extended version of the new MX-5’s rear-drive platform is being used to develop the car, beefed up to cope with the lofty power output. Familiar six-speed manual and five-speed auto gearboxes will be similarly honed for the new high-performance application.

Mazda has a rich history of rotary-powered cars, starting with the Cosmo Sport of the late 60s, which developed up to 129bhp and could hit 120mph.

More famously, Mazda had the RX-7 that was sold in the UK through the 90s and the RX-8 that went on to replace it. Mazda also won the Le Mans 24 Hours race in 1991 with the rotary-powered 787B – the only time a Japanese manufacturer has won the event.

Recommended

Best Japanese modern classic cars 2022
Best Japanese modern classics - header image
Best cars & vans

Best Japanese modern classic cars 2022

From rally car brawlers to elegant luxury limos, Japan is the source of some quirky and hugely desirable modern classic cars
24 May 2022
Future classics 2022: car investments that could make you money
Future classics - header image
Best cars & vans

Future classics 2022: car investments that could make you money

Identifying future classic cars is a tricky but potentially lucrative business, here are our future classic recommendations
23 May 2022
Mazda Montrose: where did they get that name?
Mazda Montrose feature 1
Features

Mazda Montrose: where did they get that name?

We visit an unassuming Scottish town on the trail of the real story behind one of the odder names in car history – the Mazda Montrose
28 Feb 2022
Mazda gears up to launch three new electric cars by 2025
Mazda EV platform
News

Mazda gears up to launch three new electric cars by 2025

After 2025 Mazda will roll-out its new Skyactiv EV Scalable Architecture, which allows different-sized cars to be built on the same production line
4 Feb 2022

Most Popular

New 2022 MG7 could be a cut-price Audi A5
MG 7 - side
News

New 2022 MG7 could be a cut-price Audi A5

The new MG7 saloon has been teased ahead of its August reveal
8 Aug 2022
“Volkswagen, SEAT and Skoda cars are just too similar”
Opinion - VW and Skoda
Opinion

“Volkswagen, SEAT and Skoda cars are just too similar”

Mike Rutherford thinks Volkswagen, SEAT and Skoda need to target different audiences if they are to be successful in the future
7 Aug 2022
New 2025 Land Rover Discovery set for luxury reinvention
Land Rover Discovery - front (watermarked)
News

New 2025 Land Rover Discovery set for luxury reinvention

The Land Rover Discovery nameplate could spawn a family of models like the Defender
4 Aug 2022