A new-generation rotary engine will power Mazda's new RX-9 sports coupé, which will pick up where the RX-7 left off
4 November 2010

Mazda is well advanced with a new-generation rotary engine which it intends to use in an all-new sports model.

Japanese insiders say it is most likely to power a two-door coupe built in the image of the most recent RX-7, the highly regarded version championed by the legendary 'Koby' Kobayakawa, which went out of production in 2002.

The new car, likely to be called RX-9, will therefore not repeat the outgoing RX-8’s convenient but complicated four-door coupé layout.

See Autocar's rendering of the Mazda RX-9

The RX-9 will share the major chassis components of the next-generation MX-5 roadster, and should have a kerb weight around 1250kg, light for a car with more than 300bhp on tap.

The engine, known as 16X and believed to use an electric supercharger, is described as “quite a bit bigger” than the current 2.6-litre twin-rotor unit used in the 228bhp RX-8.

However, it will be considerably more efficient than the RX-8 engine, which was discontinued earlier this year because its high fuel consumption and propensity to use oil prevented it from meeting the latest Euro V clean air standards.

Read Autocar's scoop on the next Mazda MX-5

Even so, the RX-8 has been a considerable success: Mazda UK began selling it in 2003, moving up to 10,000 units annually in the early years. The British RX-8 population is around 50,000 cars. Mazda is still deciding whether the 16X engine will be configured to run on pump petrol and sold in volume like the RX-8, or become a more symbolic clean-air project running purely on hydrogen.

Either way, Mazda is determined to continue its association with an engine type it considers to be iconic – and which it used to win Le Mans outright in 1991.

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Join the debate


4 November 2010

50,000 R8s in the UK? Really? Wow. No accounting for taste.

4 November 2010

[quote kraftwerk] No accounting for taste[/quote]

Well you are entitled like anyone to your opinion. Have you considered that there are people that want something a bit different?

4 November 2010

"No accounting for taste", says kraftwerk. Well, it's good to know who the new messiah of taste is. I'm not an owner of an RX8, but have driven them on a number of occasions, I found much to admire. It has a great chassis, clever packaging, a thoroughly intriguing power unit and looks interesting and, seems to have stood the test of time pretty well, I think. But, what do I know? I'm sure the self appointed arbiter of taste will explain why those poor deluded RX8 owners picked the wrong car.

4 November 2010

[quote kraftwerk]50,000 R8s in the UK? Really? Wow. No accounting for taste.

I know. Dreadful isn't it? Well at least there are as many RX-8s on the road, so things don't look as bad, lol

4 November 2010

I've always thought the RX8 was a good looking car and with the door arrangement simply brilliant, a sports car that is almost practical (I say almost, the rear seats are still a little squashed but at least it's easy to get in and out of them).

If it wasn't for the rotary engine, high fuel and oil consumption, doesn't like short trips, I'd have happily bought one.

So to sum all that up, I'm a little disappointed that Mazda aren't looking to replace the RX-8, 10,000 a year in the uk alone seems to be alot to miss out on.

4 November 2010

[quote Autocar]The engine, known as 16X and is believed to use an electric supercharger, is described as “quite a bit bigger” than the current 2.6-litre twin-rotor unit used in the 228 bhp RX-8.[/quote]


4 November 2010

"The engine, known as 16X and is believed to use an electric supercharger, is described as “quite a bit bigger” than the current 2.6-litre twin-rotor unit used in the 228 bhp RX-8."

2.6? Really? I thought the current RX8 was 1308cc.

4 November 2010

First off, at 1250kg or less and 300 HP and RWD with a supercharger - WELL DONE Mazda, sounds perfect.

However, an electrically supercharged Wankel does give me the jitters, let alone the whole Hydrogen thing. I hope they keep it simple and mass produce this.

Now we need Honda to grow some and actually start making driver's cars again....waiting...

4 November 2010

I actually liked the RX8, but realistically you couldn't get better than 14 MPG driving it close to how it was supposed to be driven. Add to the fact a total oil change every 800 miles and you got a very stupidly annoying car to maintain.

If the RX9 can address those issues and give a yummy performance, it will be very nice indeed.


4 November 2010

1250kg & 300bhp+ if realised should give the Cayman, Evora crew something to worry about. As long as they can sort the oil consumption and get rid of the irritating 'Nagare'-style (?) wavt line affectations down the side, Mazda could have a contender.

Will there be a couple of seats in the back for the sprogs...?


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