New Mazda RX-9 rotary sports car to be unveiled at 2017 Tokyo Motor Show

Article by Christian A., on July 19, 2017

Ever since Mazda discontinued the iconic RX-8 rotary sports cars, there have been rumors and speculations that it would proceed with the eventual rotary successor, the RX-9. These rumors were never confirmed as true and yet they keep on resurrecting. Just lately, a number of Web sites in Asia have reported that Mazda would be unveiling the new RX-9 at the upcoming 2017 Tokyo Motor Show slated in October.

According to the Web sites – among them are LeVolant Boost, Thairath and Auto Sina – the new Mazda RX-9 would still be powered by a rotary engine, an evolutionary version that the carmaker just patented in 2016. Featuring a power output of over 400 hp (298 kW), this new rotary engine is quite different from the usual rotaries that Mazda had employed.

For instance, this engine was rotated 180 degrees about its longitudinal axis, allowing it to offer packaging under the hood. This layout allows the rotary engine to have a top-mounted turbocharger and high exhaust ports, thereby freeing up more room in the engine bay to be used for additional suspension components. Moreover, the evolutionary rotary engine will feature a tri-angle rotor and new fuel injectors – all located in proximity to the combustion chamber thereby helping improve fuel efficiency. Interestingly, the decision to phase out the RX-8 was due to the rotary engine not being able to meet emissions regulations.

The reports have also said the new RX-9 would adopt a number of delightful cues from the Mazda RX-Vision concept, adding that it would weigh between 2,866 pounds (1,300 kilograms) and 2,976 pounds (1,350 kg). Interestingly, when the Japanese carmaker unveiled the Mazda RX-Vision Sports Car Concept at the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show, hopes were ignited that a new Mazda sports car – the RX-9 in particular -- was on the way. After all, the concept represents a “vision” of the future that only Mazda could provide with its rotary engine, now sportier and more stylish.

Furthermore, reports say that Mazda would commence sales of the new RX-9 in 2019 with a price of between JPY8 million and JPY10 million (between $71,150 and $88,950 at current exchange rates).

Unfortunately though, these Web sites failed to cite their sources, so we don’t know the credibility of these reports. At best, the reports could qualify as speculations without any credible source.

To note, Mazda’s top honcho, chief executive Masamichi Kogai already told Automotive News in an interview that Mazda is not bound to launch another rotary engine if it would be short-lived due to fuel efficiency constraints. Kogai said the rotary engine has to comply with future emissions regulations. However, Kogai also confirmed that Mazda is still working with its r&d team to overcome any issues regarding emissions and fuel efficiency.

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