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Mazda confirms rotary comeback with RX-Vision concept

Mazda RX-Vision Tokyo motor show concept

RX-Vision Tokyo motor show concept previews the production future of the new SkyActiv-R generation rotary engine. 

Fifty years after Mazda took the wraps off the first rotary-powered Cosmo prototype, the SkyActiv brand has confirmed it is defying all odds by developing a new SkyActiv-R generation of the wankel engine. 

Nestled within the long nose of the RX-Vision concept, Mazda boss Masamichi Kogai said the SkyActive-R engine is still some way off, but the brand is committed to “addressing the three key issues with rotary engines — fuel economy, emissions performance and reliability.”

The RX-Vision also looks to be more of styling exercise than Mazda’s more production-ready recent concepts, but its long nose, two seat layout likely previews a long-anticipated successor to the classic rotary-powered RX-7 coupe.

Driving the rear wheels, the concept rides on the same 2700mm wheelbase as the Mazda3, but short overhangs front and rear result in a 4389mm overall length that's 71mm shorter than the 3 hatch.

Mazda is otherwise tight-lipped on technical details, but there's a good chance SkyActiv-R will be used as a range-extending engine to support a hybrid-electric drivetrain. The wankel engine's efficiency potential at the constant revs of a range-extender has been highlighted in the past, and there's certainly plenty of real estate between the front axles and thre cabin of the RX-Vision for accommodating additional power sources. 

Kogai-san stressed that the brand is focused on delivering the engine’s engineering goals rather than meeting a specific production deadline, so the result should be better rather than sooner.

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