Mazda patents new rotary-engined, rear-driven sports car

Patent images preview a new rotary engine, which could slot into Mazda’s Large Architecture to create the next RX-badged sports car

Mazda badge

Mazda has filed a series of patent images for a new, electrically assisted rotary engine, adding a little more credence to the rumour that the Japanese brand will soon revive its RX-badged, rotary-powered sports car lineage.

The last rotary-powered sports car from Mazda was the RX-8. It was pulled from the showrooms back in 2012, but the company has since teased the powertrain’s return with the RX-Vision concept. The unconventional engine will also make a return later this year as a range-extender in certain versions of the electric MX-30 SUV.

Mazda’s latest patent drawings show a new three-rotor wankel engine, meaning the engine in this sketch has one rotor more than the old RX-8’s powertrain. That, coupled with the company’s new hybrid system, should provide a healthy boost in power over the previous RX model’s 228bhp output.

These patent images also preview a new transaxle gearbox, likely designed to help with the car’s weight distribution. In this application, the engine’s power is transferred to a gearbox mounted on the rear axle via a torque tube.

Mazda rotary patent

Mazda hasn’t yet confirmed what platform the new rotary engine will be bolted to. However, the current front runner looks to be the company’s upcoming Large Architecture, which was designed to suit the brand’s new range of six-cylinder hybrid powertrains.

Both 48V mild-hybrid and plug-in hybrid technology have already been engineered for the platform. There should also be plenty of room to house the larger three-rotor engine up front, as the space it occupies is about the same as a conventional six-cylinder petrol engine.

Now read our review of the Mazda RX-8 sports car…

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