Mazda Exec: New Rotary Engine to be Turbocharged
Top Mazda engineer hints that new rotary engine could feature a turbocharger, fueling speculation about the return of a high-powered Wankel in the future.
Last November, we told you about Mazda’s RX-Vision Concept, which hinted that the car manufacturer was looking to rekindle its love affair with the rotary engine and possibly bring a rotary-powered car back to its lineup in the near future.
The speculation surrounding these rotary-centric rumours has been further hyped recently with a report by Australia’s Motoring that says the new engine (if it comes to fruition) will likely be turbocharged.
According to Mazda drivetrain and powertrain assistant manager Tetsushi Marutani, who recently spoke to Motoring, the new rotary engine needs more torque at low speed. “Personally, I think that a rotary with some turbo or compressor would be good,” he said.
And it seems Marutani is no stranger to rotary-powered cars, adding: “I used to have a second-generation RX-7, and it was very quick.”
The senior engineer wouldn’t confirm when we will see a new rotary engine, but he did indicate that the Japanese car manufacturer – perhaps most famous for its MX-5 roadster – is indeed busily working on a new rotary engine concept.
A likely timeline would see the new rotary launched to coincide with the engine and Mazda’s 50th or 100th anniversaries in 2017 and 2020 respectively.
“We are still developing the new engines with rotary. So in the future we hope to release it, of course, yes. But it’s still under development. We can’t say anything about the [rotary] program; when, what type of vehicle, what is the horsepower, we can’t say anything about it yet,” stated Marutani.
Mazda hasn’t offered a rotary-powered car for sale since the RX-8 and hasn’t turbocharged one since the third-generation RX-7. The RX-Vision Concept (pictured above), however, hinted that a potential Wankel revival could very much be on the cards.
“We will surprise the customer with new technologies, engines, transmissions and AWD systems,” said Marutani.
If reports are to be believed, the RX-Vision Concept could boast twin 800cc (1.6-litre) rotaries, which are complemented by a two-stage electric turbo and hybrid powertrain, all of which produce around 450-horsepower.
It’s definitely an exciting prospect and one we’ll keep you updated on as more details emerge.