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What to expect from the first production Mazda rotary car since the RX-8

The MX-30 small SUV will be the first production Mazda model since the RX-8 sports car to be available with a rotary engine.

Mazda will officially bring the rotary engine back early next year, but its eagerly anticipated return will come with a twist.

As reported, the new MX-30 small SUV will be the first production Mazda model since the RX-8 sports car to be available with a rotary engine, with it to be used as a range-extender for its Electric version.

And after speaking to the MX-30’s program manager, Tomiko Takeuchi, via a translator, CarsGuide now has a better idea of what to expect from the rotary range-extender.

“It’s very important for us to have a variety of electrified technologies,” she said. “We can combine the rotary engine with the battery, (and) then we can offer a comfortable environment for the users.”

When asked why the rotary engine was specifically chosen over a regular internal-combustion unit to be the MX-30’s range-extender, Ms Takeuchi revealed “the biggest advantage of the rotary engine is its compact size”.

“In the (engine bay), we can package a small, compact rotary engine and a big (electric) motor,” she added. “Another of big advantage big advantage of the rotary engine is its quietness and very low vibration.”

According to Ms Takeuchi, the unit in question is “a uniquely designed rotary engine” and therefore different to that of the RX-8 given it will “be used as a power generator”.

When asked if the reliability issues of previous rotary engines were able to be overcome for the range-extender, she declined to comment, noting that “we can talk more when we are ready to introduce this product”.

Ms Takeuchi further explained “we have to get through the homologation process to receive the approval from the government”, meaning it’s still too early even share how much the rotary engine will extend the MX-30 Electric’s 224km driving range (NEDC) by.

That said, when asked if the rotary range-extender will be more fuel efficient than the MX-30’s M Hybrid (24V mild hybrid) version, which just went on sale in Australia, Ms Takeuchi indicated “we want to make that technology the core technology of Mazda’s future”.

“We like to challenge ourselves to improve fuel efficiency,” she said.

Ms Takeuchi confirmed no other versions of the MX-30 are planned “at this moment”, although the three current ones will be continuously updated, while the Electric could become available with other batteries and/or electric motors.

“I think we have to develop our strategy to offer the right products to meet the regulations of each country and power source of each market,” she added.

For reference, the MX-30 Electric will launch in Australia in July with a 35.5kWh battery and a 107kW/271Nm front electric motor, while Mazda has all but confirmed the rotary range-extender will join it and the M Hybrid in local showrooms next year.