The last rotary powered Mazda to be sold to the public was the RX-8 which received mixed views from the press and owners alike. That car was in production for nine years, between 2003 and 2012. Whilst not lasting as long as the RX-7, it still gained a following in the car community, thanks to drifters and video games.
So here we are, at the end of 2017 and there is still no rotary powered Mazda on the market. This may changed soon though, as a mystery RX-8 based prototype has been spotted testing near the Nurburgring. Said prototype was based on a JDM Spirit R run out special of the car. This implies that the car belongs to Mazda’s R&D team.
The prototype in question is supposed to be running Mazda’s upcoming twin-rotor turbo engine. It has been speculated that this is the turbo 1.6 twin-rotor with approximately 400bhp, which is a massive step up from the RX-8’s 1.3 Renesis engine with a maximum power output of about 225bhp. Another rumour points to a hybrid rotary powertrain which might produce up to 450bhp. The later would make more sense if Mazda want to keep up with the next gen Toyota Supra and the Honda/Acura NSX.
When the final version of the RX-9 goes into production, the car is expected to weigh about 1300kg thanks to Mazda’s use of lightweight materials as seen in their most recent model line-up and styling inspired by the beautiful RX-Vision Concept.
The RX-9 is supposedly coming out in 2019 which conveniently marks the 60th anniversary of the Wankel engine and the 50th anniversary of the Mazda Cosmo II. This seems like a good year for the company to release the RX-9 or at least bring back the Wankel engine somewhere in it’s production car line up.
For the moment though, it’s safe to assume this is a development mule of the new twin-rotor turbo engine itself. Just be glad that Mazda are continuing development of such a unique engine. However, if this is a sign of the RX-9, expect the actual car to make a debut at the 2018 Tokyo Motor Show or the 2019 Detroit Motor Show.
So, what do you think? Is this just an engineering prototype for the engine or an early mule for the RX-9? Let me know in the comments below.