2015 Mazda RX-Vision Concept

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The Mazda RX-7 sports car was introduced in 1978 as the world's first production sports car with a Wankel rotary engine. The car sold well, and was the defining model for the company internationally until the introduction of the wildly successful MX-5/Miata in 1989. Sales of the rotary RX-7 dropped considerably over time as the car moved up-market and became less competitive, and the final series built from 1999-2002 was only available in Japan.

Given that history and the now strong likelihood of Mazda bringing back the RX name for a sports car to slot above the Miata, the beautiful RX-Vision is one of the more intriguing concepts of 2015.

The rotary engine might be particularly relevant to the modern era for use in a hybrid. The strength of rotary engines is their compactness and light weight relative to power output. Their weakness has typically been in the area of overall efficiency. However, if the rotary engine is utilized in a hybrid configuration, efficiency is much less important since the engine will usually only provide a small proportion of power. The system has potential, and no automaker has more experience with these engines than Mazda.

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(from Mazda Press Release) Mazda Reveals Mazda RX-VISION Concept

Powered by next-generation rotary engine SKYACTIV-R, represents Mazda’s vision of the future

HIROSHIMA, Japan—Mazda Motor Corporation unveiled the rotary-powered Mazda RX-VISION sports car concept at the Tokyo Motor Show*1 today. The rotary engine is a symbol of the company’s “never-stop-challenging” spirit.

RX-VISION represents a vision of the future that Mazda hopes to one day make into reality; a front-engine, rear-wheel drive sports car with exquisite, KODO design-based proportions only Mazda could envision, and powered by the next-generation SKYACTIV-R rotary engine.

Rotary engines feature a unique construction, generating power through the rotational motion of a triangular rotor. Overcoming numerous technical difficulties, Mazda succeeded in commercializing the rotary engine, fitting it in the Cosmo Sport (known as Mazda 110S overseas) in 1967. As the only automaker to mass-produce the rotary engine, Mazda continued efforts to improve power output, fuel economy and durability, and in 1991 took overall victory at 24 Hours of Le Mans with a rotary engine-powered race car. Over the years, the rotary engine has come to symbolize Mazda’s creativity and tireless endeavor in the face of difficult challenges.

While mass production is currently on hold, Mazda has never stopped research and development efforts towards the rotary engine. The next rotary engine has been named SKYACTIV-R, expressing the company’s determination to take on challenges with convention-defying aspirations and the latest technology, just as it did when developing SKYACTIV TECHNOLOGY.

“I look forward to talking with you more about this vision we have revealed here today at the Mazda stand,” said Mazda’s Representative Director, President and CEO, Masamichi Kogai. “Mazda will continue to take on new challenges in an effort to build a special bond with our customers and become their ‘one and only’ brand.”