Mazda Forms Team to Develop Engines, Teasing RX-7 Enthusiasts
Rotary engines are rising from the ashes at Mazda. A decade after discontinued the RX-8, and nearly 5 years since dissolving its last rotary team, the automaker plans to recommit resources toward reviving its signature powerplant.
Mazda President Katsuhiro Moro broke the news himself at the 2024 Tokyo Auto Salon. Flanked by the stunning Iconic SP rotary sports car concept unveiled last year, he announced engineers dedicated solely to rotary development will reunite February 1st.
Moro indicated the Iconic SP itself is now destined for production based on overwhelmingly positive feedback. “With your encouragement, we are launching a rotary engine development group…to move closer to this dream,” he told the energized crowd.
Further specs flashed on screen during the announcement, confirming the concept’s dimensions: 164.5 inch length, 72.8 inch width, 45.2 inch height and 101.9 inch wheelbase. Curiously, its twin-rotor engine output was listed at 365 horsepower – on par with entry-level Porsche 911s Moro says the Iconic SP can match for driving pleasure.
Mazda engineers suggested shrinking the stunning design “to Miata-like proportions” was feasible last year. And unlike electric sports cars, Moro says the rotary coupe won’t suffer range anxiety. The engine has even been engineered to run on various fuels including hydrogen and biofuels.
Past the tantalizing concept itself, rebooting rotary development holds broader importance for Mazda. Engineers working across engine types will join forces to solve carbon neutral challenges from a clean sheet.
It’s an insatiable challenge, as Moro admits. Don’t expect a production model before 2026 at the very earliest. But make no mistake – the rotary now has a future again at Mazda. It stands to be a centerpiece of the company’s next era much as it powered iconic hits like the RX-7 in decades past.
Between the Iconic SP and the very best talent refocusing on Felix Wankel’s eccentric design, Mazda seems poised to reclaim its unconventional engineering roots. A 50-year rollercoaster for the rotary may finally achieve stability through innovation rather than nostalgia.