Development of next-gen rotary powerplant knocks new sports car launch into 2011

Problems with the development of Mazda’s next generation of rotary engines are delaying the launch of the new RX-7 sports car, according to sources close to the company.

The fourth-generation RX-7 was originally scheduled to be unveiled at last year’s Tokyo show and go on sale this year, but issues facing the new 16X engine forced the company to scrap that schedule. The car’s release date is now unknown.

Engineers are trying to solve the heavy oil and fuel consumption issues of the current rotary, and its lack of mid-range torque. Adding direct injection will make the unit more efficient, but extra components mean the new engine weighs more than the current 13B motor. This goes against Mazda’s strategy of cutting 100kg from all of its cars in the next five years.

The engineers have also been having problems getting the engine to reach their target for maximum revs; the current rotary revs to 9000rpm.

Development has also been hit by the economic downturn. Mazda is battling with a drop in global sales of nearly 19 per cent, and MX-5 sales are down by 26 per cent. Sales of the RX-8, the only production car with a rotary engine, are also down and workers in Japan have been laid off.

Mazda is keen to retain the rotary engine for a new generation of cars. The engine is a source of pride within the firm, and has been used in 18 models since it was launched in the Cosmo Sports in 1967.

Dan Stevens

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Comments
10

7 January 2010

Shame - while I'm not a fan of rotary engines in most applications I always liked the rx-7, despite oil consumption. At least they'd dealt with rotor wear. I hope they sort out these issues.

7 January 2010

I wish all the luck with mazda, there are few car makers who stick with a unique technology. can they not cut the weight of the car itself and not worry so much about the weight of the engine. there are lots of options with low weight seats, carbon fibre roof and more efficient air-con. If Ferrari only gets to 9000rpm with the 458 then why are mazda worrying.

7 January 2010

Mazda have been working on the Wankel since the early sixties; it still consumes too much fuel and uses too much oil. In ALMS they scrapped the rotary in the P2 class car for a piston engine and immediately did much better. Being novel for the sake of being novel is not good business; especially not in these times. I get the affection for smooth high revving engines and that would be great except for the anemic torque and other problems, time to can this thing and move on.

You don’t need a weatherman
To know which way the wind blows
—Robert Allen Zimmerman

7 January 2010

Ahahaha...

What a load of rubbish these engines are. I agree with jackjflash, time to admit defeat and move on.

My mate had no end of bother with his RX8 and the infamous "flooding" problems.

7 January 2010

It’s funny, they race the RX8 in the Grand Am series here in the states, they have to stack 3 rotors and allow it to run with more fuel just to be competitive with Porsche’s flat six and other manufacturers V8s and V6’s that run with less fuel. As a sports car engine it is a total failure, and as an everyday driver it makes even less sense because a piston engine is cheaper and yes better. What is worse is the illusion of an RX8 keeping pace with other cars because its outlandish rules advantage is not known by the general car buying public. That may be a boon for Mazda marketing, not so much for the poor sucker taken in to buying the road going version. ZOOM, ZOOM, ZOOM my arse.

You don’t need a weatherman
To know which way the wind blows
—Robert Allen Zimmerman

7 January 2010

Like I said, what is the point? By the time you increase the displacement by adding rotors to match the piston engine rivals the engine is heavier uses more fuel and still could not be competitive as I forgot to mention they also allow them to run with less chassis weight. Good for marketing though, if it’s any consolation I owned 2 Miata’s an NA and NB, they make much more sense.

You don’t need a weatherman
To know which way the wind blows
—Robert Allen Zimmerman

7 January 2010

I have,like many others im sure,considered buying an RX8 but i was put off by the high oil and fuel consumption.The other factor here in Ireland is the high CO2 emissions,the tax on these vehicles here would make your eyes water!!!!

15 March 2010

[quote Phillip Moffatt]

Ah, the old "it uses too much oil" arguement, sorry, but most modern performance BMW's are using almost 1l per 1000 miles, the mazda uses less than half that....

[/quote] I have no idea where you're getting your info from but I have a E46 3 series and it's 10 yrs old and doesn't burn a single drop of oil! If you're burning oil in a BMW engine it's usually because you're using the wrong oil for the engine or the driving that you're doing, or the wrong oil for the climate you're in. I don't even know anyone who drives a Mazda with a rotary and I still get told the Mazda rotary engines burn oil like crazy! The major problem with your argument is that EVERY Mazda rotary engine burns oil like crazy!... Not just a few of them.

15 March 2010

[quote italia458] I have a E46 3 series and it's 10 yrs old and doesn't burn a single drop of oil![/quote]

He said modern. 10 years old is ancient in car terms. I think he means the newer high performance engines use oil.

i dont know though.

is it audi that have that tiny 60cc wankel engine thats meant to be really efficient and runs at a fixed rpm. if that works why not fit 10 of those engines in a big bonnet. a wankel supercar thats eco friendly ish,

15 March 2010

Why don't Mazda keep the Rotary dream alive by making a an even smaller version than the current (1.3?) RX-8 unit and using it as a range-extender engine in a Volt/Ampera rival?

It's benefits might be better suited there.

Just a thought....


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