For the past few years, it’s seemed that we’d never again see a rotary-powered sports car, not from Mazda, not from anyone. I hadn’t even seen one in Pirelli World Challenge at the local St Petersburg city course since the 2012 Honda Grand Prix. The days of that wonderful banshee wail and accompanying stinky yet aromatic exhaust, it seemed, were over. But then, at the Tokyo Motor Show on Tuesday, Mazda unveiled this, the RX-VISION Rotary concept.
According to Mazda, the RX-VISION concept is powered by the next-generation SKYACTIV-R rotary engine. Mazda is the only car company to have continued development and production of the rotary engine for so long. Despite its tendency towards inefficiency, expensive repairs, and low torque, its low weight and high revability have earned it a cult following over the years. Apparently, Mazda’s engineers continued to develop the rotary after the end of RX-8 production in 2012 and sought to improve the rotary’s three main disadvantages, “fuel economy, emissions performance and reliability.
A minimal interior houses a three-pod gauge cluster with the tachometer in the center. Although the press release does not give any indication on possible transmission options and the left pedal looks a bit too wide to be a clutch, with Mazda’s enthusiast heritage, it could be safe to assume that a manual option would be available if this were to go to production.
In an age of styling elements being draped over generic body styles, the RX-VISION instead demonstrates timeless beauty with a 2 door, 2 seat coupe layout clothed in the KODO design language. With some luck, perhaps this will not just be a concept but an eventual production reality. We can only hope, and with this unveiling, our hopes are kept alive.
For further information and images, view Mazda’s news page.