All the buzz around Mazda is currently centered on the upcoming 2016 MX-5 Miata, but there’s another rumored Mazda sports car project further down the pipeline that could mean the return of the rotary engine. Motoring is reporting that a new Mazda sports car will arrive in 2017 with a turbocharged rotary engine making around 450 hp.
This isn’t the first time we’ve heard about a return of the rotary. Way back in 2011, when the rotary-powered Mazda RX-8 was going out of production, we reported that a next-generation rotary engine could appear by 2017. This corroborates Motoring’s story, who say that this new, small-displacement turbocharged rotary would make its way into a new Mazda sports car that will likely be called the Mazda RX-7. In 2013, we reported that a new RX-8 replacement could arrive by 2017 with direct fuel injection -- so long as Mazda had already bolstered its profits by selling more mainstream cars.
The rumor is that Mazda has registered both the Mazda RX-7 and the RX-9 names to leave options open for the nameplate of this new sports car. 2017 would be good timing for the debut of this car, as the first Mazda rotary engine debuted in the Mazda Cosmo in 1967, making 2017 the 50th anniversary of this unique engine design.
When this project first came about with plans for around 300 hp, Mazda was reportedly considering using a version of the next MX-5 Miata’s platform for this RX-7 revival. But with the possible addition of a turbocharger for the rotary engine, a potential output of more than 400 hp means that those roadster underpinnings wouldn’t cut it. Now Mazda is reportedly testing a reworked RX-8 platform that can better accommodate the high horsepower output. Despite the larger platform, though, Mazda is apparently still aiming for its new rotary-powered model to be a smaller sports car that would have about the same length as the compact MX-5 roadster.
The claimed goal is for this new Mazda RX-7 to compete with the revered Porsche 911, giving us high hopes for this possible Mazda sports car. Stay tuned for more information about the revived Mazda RX-7 over the coming years as we approach its rumored debut in 2017.