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Mazda Tokyo concept teaser hints at rotary comeback

Mazda releases teaser shot of new sports coupe concept for Tokyo motor show - hotly tipped to mark the return of its rotary engine. 

Mazda fans’ quirky little rotary-thumping hearts have been sent spinning around the tacho by the release of a teaser shot of what the Japanese company is set to unveil at the Tokyo motor show, a sports car concept which, from what we can see so far, looks lovely when shot in the dark.

It looks certain to be the most exciting news possible for fans of Mazda’s long-dormant rotary engines, which were seemingly shuttered with the retirement of the RX-8 in 2012.

The concept could still signal something quite wonderful; a new entrant in the entry-level sports coupe market, to give the Toybaru 86/BRZ twins a run for their money.

Our sources in Japan whispered that we should look at the kind of engine the venerable and famous Mazda Cosmo had (it was a Wankel, or rotary, and a great one at that) for clues as to what this as yet unnamed concept would offer. Coincidentally, Mazda has also announced that its Tokyo stand will feature a classic Cosmo Sport on display.

The company’s brief press release also drops a pretty solid hint, suggesting that the sports coupe concept would maintain “a sense of lineage and authenticity, appearing almost to condense Mazda’s entire history of sports car development into a single model”.

And you really can’t condense that history without giving said car a rotary engine, like the one that made the RX-7 perhaps the company’s most memorable halo model (cute and fluffy, but not fast MX-5s aside). 

For those who aren’t huge fans of engines that spin to 10,000rpm, the concept could still signal something quite wonderful; a new entrant in the entry-level sports coupe market, to give the Toybaru 86/BRZ twins a run for their affordable money.

Mazda executives would obviously have seen how well the 86 has done for Toyota - both in sales and for its image overall - and the Hiroshima-based company definitely has room in its range, above the MX-5, for a sporty two-door hard top.

The teaser photo shows a sleek black car with a long nose, RX-7-ish rear-slung cockpit and plenty of rounded muscularity in its shape, speaking the Kodo design language, much like the sexy new MX-5. The quad taillights, a rotary signature from the R100 onwards, are another clue, while just barely visible under the stubby back end are twin exhaust pipes.

Mazda CEO Masamichi Kogai has stated in the past that his engineers continue to work on rotary technology, which they can’t be just doing for the hell of it, while design chief Ikuo Maeda has also been public about his desire to bring back an RX car of some kind. And that can only mean a rotary (it’s what the R stands for, after all).

No engine specs or other details of the sporty concept have yet been revealed, but you can bet that Cosmo collectors and all other rotary fans will be watching the internet with baited breath when the Tokyo show kicks off on October 28.

Would you like to see the rotary return? Tell us what you think in the comments below.