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Mazda hints at new rotary-powered sports car – 50 years after its first Cosmo Sport

on October 2 2015 | in Highlights, Industry news, Latest news | by | with Comments Off

Mazda will roll out a sports car concept at the Tokyo motor show later this month – and speculation is it will be a badged a new RX model and showcase an improved version of the dual-fuel rotary engine the carmaker has used in its Renesis hydrogen programme.

A cutout of the Wankel rotary engine used by Mazda

A cutout of the Wankel rotary engine used by Mazda

Further conjecture has it that the engine will be larger, lighter, and considerably more fuel efficient than the 1.3-litre unit which powered the RX-8.

A production version of the concept could be expected in 2017 – timed to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Mazda’s first Wankel rotary-powered sports car, the Cosmo Sport.

Mazda has revealed nothing other than a press release with the silhouette of a two-door concept. The teaser text said: “The design of the sports car concept … is modern but maintains a sense of lineage and authenticity, appearing almost to condense Mazda’s entire history of sportscar development into a single model.”

It was accompanied by images of the 1967 Cosmo Sport, which will be among 14 models on display at the Mazda stand to “compliment a heritage display showing Mazda’s history of convention-defying engineering.”

The Mazda RX-7 first appeared in 1978

The Mazda RX-7 first appeared in 1978

It is no coincidence that the Cosmo Sport has been trotted out to sit alongside the new concept. Nor is it a coincidence that the Cosmo Sport’s 50th birthday is only two years away.

The carmaker has continued to develop the rotary engine since the 1.3-litre Wankel unit in the RX-8 was discontinued in 2012 after failing to meet Euro5 emissions standards.

It has used it as a dual-fuel unit, running on hydrogen for a range limit of 200km before switching to petrol. It has used it as a range extender in hybrid test cars.

The first hint that Mazda was readying the concept came at a press conference at the Frankfurt motor show a few weeks ago. The carmaker’s global sales and marketing chief Masahiro Moro was asked about plans for another RX model to follow the Cosmo, RX-3, RX-7 and RX-8. Moro replied: “You came up with a dangerous question” … and added “stay tuned.”

The concept is expected to be rear-drive and based on a longer version of the latest MX-5 platform. Senior Mazda management are on record as saying the MX-5 chassis is stretchable.

The rotary-engined Cosmo Sport of 1967, Mazda's first rotary

The rotary-engined Cosmo Sport of 1967, Mazda’s first rotary





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