ROTARY fans, rejoice! The RX-Vision has been revealed at the 2015 Tokyo motor show to be the long-awaited return of Mazda’s legendary rotary-powered sports car.
The seductive red concept car is a rear-wheel drive, two-seat, two-door coupe in the same fashion as the legendary Mazda RX-7.
The RX-Vision is powered by a new SkyActiv-R engine, with the R standing for rotary.
“This name expresses our intention to make breakthroughs in the rotary engine’s dynamic and environmental performance with the same high aspirations that made SkyActiv technology possible,” said Mazda President and CEO Masamichi Kogai.
Mazda says it has gone ‘back to the drawing board’ in developing a new rotary engine in the face of ever-tightening emission laws, describing it as the soul of its brand.
While revealing little about its new halo engine, Mazda has said that the application of SkyActiv to the new rotary has followed the same philosophies of its existing SkyActiv units in pursuing fuel efficiency and reliability – two things that rotary engines are not especially known for.
“There are still many issues to overcome, but we will continue our development efforts in the spirit of never stop challenging,” said Kogai.
The RX-Vision builds on the Kodo design language that has proliferated across Mazda’s range since the 2012 Mazda 6 was unveiled, but melds it into a sleek body that offers classical long-bonnet, short rear deck proportions.
Its 2700mm wheelbase suggests that it sits on a stretched version of the Mazda MX-5 platform, with the previous MX-5 sharing its underpinnings with the RX-8, Wheels’ 2003 Car of the Year.
The RX-Vision’s short overhangs see its 20-inch wheels pushed as far as possible, with an overall length of 4389mm making it substantially longer than the MX-5 (3915mm), and 71mm shorter than the Mazda 3 hatch. It’s far lower (1160mm) and wider (1925mm) than both. It’s also shorter, lower and wider than the last Mazda RX-8.
The concept is fronted by the brand’s trapezoidal grille, flanked by slim headlamps with a cap that seems a nod to the pop-ups that were offered on every generation of the company’s famed RX-7 sports car. At the rear, the stubby tail features clever detailing such as the integrated spoiler above twin circular tail lights mirrored by the exhaust tips in the diffuser.
It’s also a step up from the four-door, RX-8 four-seater sports car, the last rotary sold by the company until production ceased in 2012.
“We are not a big company, but the cars we make stand out,” said Kogai. “Our vision is to offer customers driving pleasure along with excellent environmental and safety performance. We don’t see cars simply as a means to get from one place to another.”
The Mazda RX-Vision concept is not confirmed for production, but could be in showrooms by 2017 with an estimated price of around $70,000.