The Wankel rotary engine was removed from Mazda's line-up due to its low efficiency. It wasn't able to meet stricter emissions regulations and it suffered high-fuel consumption for its output.
SkyActiv, a recent series of technologies developed by Mazda, focused heavily on improving the efficiency of combustion in an engine. Advances resulting from the project could be applied to the rotary engine in order to improve its economy and output.
The manufacturer also believes that there are considerable gains to be had by utilising more advanced ignition systems. This would further serve to boost performance while reducing consumption and emissions.
A Mazda engineer told Autocar that he’d like to see the new rotary in production within five years but, at the current moment in time, nothing is confirmed.
If it were to go in to production, the new engine would initially be offered in naturally aspirated form, with turbocharged versions following if testing proved them reliable.
Mazda boss, Takashi Yamanouchi, has stated that research into future rotary engines will continue as long as he works at the company. "The challenger spirit that has made us the world leader in rotary engines is still alive and well at Mazda."