My favorite of the trio was no doubt the RX-7, despite the fact that engine reliability was a major concern (it was one of the first vehicles to incorporate dual, sequential turbos), mainly due to its sinuous curves, breakneck performance, and incredible handling prowess. Mazda hoped to capture some of that same magic with the follow-up RX-8, but it never quite lived up to the high bar that the RX-7 set and went out of production in 2012 after a 9-year run.
But Mazda is back again, and it still has rotary engines on the brain. “It is a symbol of the company's tirelessly challenging spirit and, as the soul of the Mazda brand, represents the unique and innovative technology that helped establish the brand and create a solid bond between Mazda and its customers,” Mazda writes. “That is why, even though there are no rotary-powered cars in the current product line-up, rotary engine research and development continues today.”
So that explains why Mazda is working on its next-generation SKYACTIV-R rotary engine, which the company says solves three of the problems that dogged rotary engine in the past — fuel economy, emissions performance, and reliability. Mazda didn’t make mention of high oil consumption, but three out of four ain’t bad!
The new SKYACTIV-R is nestled in a front-midship configuration in the positively gorgeous RX-Vision concept. I mean, just look at it! That long hood, the tight overhangs, the sculpted sides, the low roof — it’s rolling art. And Mazda has successfully married its current KODO design language with enough styling cues to tell you that this is a successor to the FD RX-7 (look no further than the rear of the vehicle and its taillights). Inside you’ll find a minimalistic, driver focused interior devoid of massive touch screen displays to distract your eye from the driving experience.
The RX-Vision is “Vision of the future that Mazda hopes to one day make into reality" and the relishes in the fact that it “will never stop challenging to deliver new rotary engines that provide its unique brand of driving pleasure.”
Given the company’s ability to bring to market the fourth generation (ND) MX-5 Miata which managed to shed hundreds of pounds while improving performance, safety, and efficiency, we have high hopes that the company will be able to market the true successor to the FD RX-7.