Mazda is working on a new rotary engine for an RX-7 successor that can run on petrol or diesel – and offer much-improved fuel consumption compared with the recently discontinued RX-8.
The two-stroke 16X engine is designed to rectify the shortcomings of Mazda’s most recent rotary powerplant, including its high oil consumption. Sources in Japan say the new unit has achieved significant improvements in fuel efficiency.
But the final go-ahead has not yet been received from Mazda’s top executives. The firm is still working out how to attain the best combination of performance, economy and emissions, and needs to address the rotary’s lack of torque in the mid-range. In its current state the 16X is expected to give the RX-7 around 300bhp and enable it to reach 60mph in under five seconds.
Mazda’s R&D department has invited several external drivers and racers to test RX-7 mules, and the design team has sought feedback at customer clinics.
Much of the push towards another rotary-engined sports car comes from Mazda USA. A recent independent survey revealed that demand for an affordable rotary-powered sports car is still as strong as it’s ever been in the US. It’s been suggested that were it not for American demand for the car, the project would have been shelved.