Don’t Get Too Excited About The Newest Mazda RX-9 Rumors Just Yet
It seems that every few months, a new rotary-powered Mazda sports car is said to be on its way, and the automotive internet gets all hyped up. UK’s Auto Express spoke to Matsuhiro Tanaka, Mazda’s R&D VP for Europe, who said that a new concept somehow related to the rotary-powered RX Vision concept (shown above) would make its debut next month in Tokyo. Naturally this got lots of people thinking that a new rotary concept is imminent, but we’re skeptical.
“With the Tokyo Motor Show we will be introducing a new design concept, Tanaka told Auto Express. “You can think of it as an evolution of theme of the RX Vision.”
This is a vague statement that’s frustratingly open to many interpretations. It all hinges on what specifically the “theme” of the RX Vision is. This could mean Mazda is showing a concept of some sort of rotary-powered car, like the RX Vision, or, it’s just something that takes visual inspiration from the RX Vision.
Further complicating matters, Tanaka told Auto Express that Mazda shows concepts of things that it’d like to build. That said, this doesn’t mean that Mazda definitely will build these things.
“When we introduce a concept our intention from the engineering and design community is to make it a reality,” Tanaka said. “What I will say is that we are making the utmost efforts to try and make this a possibility.”
Mazda engineers would undoubtedly like to make a successor to the beloved RX-7 and RX-8—who wouldn’t?—but that doesn’t mean it’s feasible. A new RX would require an big investment for what would likely be a low-volume car. And since Mazda is investing heavily in electrification and a revolutionary new homogenous-charge combustion engine, it might not have the extra resources for a sports car.
Of course, this isn’t to say that an RX-8 successor is entirely impossible. After all, we do know that Mazda still has engineers working on a new rotary engine called SkyActiv-R.
Mazda CEO Masamichi Kogai said last year that this rotary engine could be first used as a range extender in an electric car, but he didn’t dismiss the possibility of it being a future model’s primary power source either. Mazda R&D boss Kiyoshi Fujiwara also told Auto Express last year that he’d like to see a solely rotary-powered Mazda too.
“I would like to introduce the new rotary engine without electrification,” Fujiwara said. “I think that is what the rotary-engine fans will want.”
So the dream of an RX-9 isn’t entirely dead, but don’t take a vague comment by one Mazda VP to mean that its arrival is just around the corner. We don’t know what Mazda will show at the Tokyo Motor Show next month, other than the fact that it’ll be a concept car that references the RX Vision in some capacity. A Mazda spokesperson declined to comment.
We’ll find out soon enough what Mazda has in store, but don’t proclaim that the RX-9 is on its way just yet.