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Mazda Taiki unveiled at the Show


The Mazda Taiki takes centre stage at this year’s show, and though it may be a wild concept, underneath is an engine that points to the future of Mazda production vehicles.

An exercise in advanced aerodynamics that hints at a future generation of more sustainable sports cars, Taiki is designed to “visually express the flow of air” and takes inspiration from the shape of the traditional flowing robes that enable a celestial maiden to fly in Japanese legend.

But underneath the skin is a front-mounted rotary engine that signals the future of Mazda’s RX models. Taiki is powered by Mazda’s next-generation Renesis rotary engine, which features a longer stroke and larger displacement of 1.6-litres (800cc x 2 rotors) to raise thermal efficiency and boost torque at all engine speeds. A new direct injection system and aluminium side housings (in lieu of steel) mean the engine is lighter and more efficient, especially at low revs, while reinforcing the rotary engine’s traditional merit of compact size.

The current production RX-8 uses the existing version of the Renesis rotary engine and at 1.3-litres, produces astonishing levels of smoothness and power-per-capacity. The RX-8 is rated at 180kW and its Renesis 13B engine revs to 9000rpm.

But its 13B rotary engine is a design bordering on ancient, harking back to the Mazda RX-4 (aka Luce) that introduced the 13B engine in December 1973 to replace the smaller capacity 12A rotary engine. Incredibly, the 1308cc engine has remained largely unchanged, evolving through the RX-5, RX-7 and RX-8 with constant refinement to emission control and reliability.

The engine has also appeared in different configurations from single rotors, triple and even quad-rotor forms. The Mazda 787B remains the only Japanese car to win the famed Le Mans 24 Hour race and ran a quad-rotor 26B, effectively two conjoined 13B engines.

The 16x engine used in the Taiki offers a clear clue that the next generation of Mazda RX-8, possibly called the 16B in production form. Mazda claims it will go into production “around the middle of the next decade”.

The Mazda Taiki is now on display at the Show.

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