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Mazda RX-Vision Concept Marks Return of Rotary Engine

Mazda RX-Vision Concept Marks Return of Rotary Engine

TOKYO – The Mazda RX-Vision, a sports car with a next-generation rotary engine dubbed the Skyactiv-R, debuted at the 2015 Tokyo Auto Show. The concept may signal Mazda’s return to the unusual engine design that it last featured on the Mazda RX-8.

“RX-Vision represents a vision of the future that Mazda hopes to one day make into reality,” Mazda said in a statement.

It did not provide specifications or production plans for the new rotary engine.

The “RX” designation stands for “rotary engine,” a gasoline internal-combustion engine that uses spinning rotors instead of the pistons found in most engines.

“Mass production is currently on hold,” Mazda said, while noting it has “never stopped research and development efforts towards the rotary engine.”

Rotary engines, sometimes known as Wankel engines after inventor Felix Wankel, are part of Mazda’s heritage.

German automaker NSU beat the Japanese automaker to production with the first rotary-engine car, the Wankel Spyder, in 1963.

But Mazda later signed a license arrangement with NSU for production of Wankel rotary engines and rolled out its first rotary-engined car, the 110S coupe, also known as the Cosmo Sport, in 1967.

Mazda entered rotary-powered cars widely in competition, burnishing the engine’s reputation.

In 1978, Mazda launched the rotary-engine RX-7 sports car, which won the Japanese Car of the Year award and developed a global reputation as one of the best small sports cars in the world.

The subsequent Mazda RX-8 was discontinued in 2012.

The RX-Vision is bigger than the current Mazda MX-5 Miata convertible and uses a front-engine, rear-wheel-drive configuration.

Edmunds says: A rotary-powered Mazda sports car may be returning to Mazda showrooms before too long.

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