Emission Impossible? Mazda Still Not Committing To A New Rotary Sports Car

Ever since Mazda pulled the plug on the RX-8 in 2012, reports have been circulating about a new rotary sports car that was supposed to have been launched by now.

However, with the stricter emissions rules that have already affected plenty of vehicles, such a model could turn out to be mission impossible for the Japanese automaker.

The brand’s chief of Powertrain Developments, Ichiro Hirose, told journalists at the 2018 LA Auto Show that a new RX-8/RX-9 is his personal dream, according to CarAdvice. But the thing is that it could remain just a dream, for now at least.

“We continuously develop the rotary engine technology, [but] worldwide, there are so many environmental regulations, so many things are happening there, so we have to provide the technologies to be able to comply with all those environmental requirements.”

Also Read: My Rotary Diaries: An Owner’s Guide to the Mazda RX-8 Galaxy

Despite facing some tough challenges when it comes to the development of the actual rotary powertrain, Mazda is not ready to give up on it just yet.

“We already understand the problems of the rotary engine. That means that we can come up with the solutions to overcome those issues”, added Hirose. “So, we still continue to research and develop the technologies to do that.”

Making a new rotary sports car is not impossible, in Ichiro Hirose’s vision, but it all comes down to funding, as getting the necessary investment requires customers to “purchase [other] Mazda vehicles”. And in the end, the new RX-8/RX-9 needs to make a viable business case on its own.

In conclusion, the Mazda official admitted that they haven’t started working on a new rotary sports car yet. But if they haven’t, then what was that mysterious mule spied testing near the Nurburgring last year?

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Photo Credits: CarPix for CarScoops

  • Anton Yuri Calderon

    Who cares about the rotary engine. It’s been a huge overpromise / underdeliver endeavor for decades. What’s wrong with Mazda just producing another RX with pistons?

    • PhilMcGraw

      It’s quite literally in the name. You can’t have an RX without a rotary because RX is Mazda’s designation for “Rotary eXperiment”. It would have to be an MX vehicle which Mazda designates as “Mazda eXperiment” although some may say it also stands for “motor experiment”.

      • Anton Yuri Calderon

        I could easily look beyond their naming parameters if they were to introduce a nonrotary RX9.

        • Mr. EP9

          But other people couldn’t. You’d pretty much have to name it something else and I think Mazda knows that.

          • Julien Lachemoi

            I don’t think so. I’m a car enthusiast and I didn’t know RX was a reference to the engine. Most people don’t know and offending the very thin base wouldn’t hurt them much if they offer a competitive product.
            Audi calls an A1 with a 1.0L a “30” and people buy it. Names for better or worse don’t have to have a meaning anymore nowadays.

      • Alex

        Numbers on BMW and Mercedes-Benz cars have no relationship to engine displacement anymore. RAM model names no longer have any relationship to towing capacity. Peugeot no longer updates the model names on their models, they are now permanently stuck in xx8 with xx1 used for low-cost models. Names don’t really matter.

        • PhilMcGraw

          Ah so the argument of “well everyone else is doing it so why doesn’t Mazda?”

          It’s Mazda’s choice if they choose not to produce an RX-9 or to produce an MX-6 like they recently patented the name for. I highly doubt you would see an RX model name without a rotary engine. Plain and simple. MX-6 is what it would be called. Just telling you the facts.

    • Six_Tymes

      and… pistons will soon be in the same boat.

  • Mr. EP9

    It’s pretty much out of the question at this point and it will most likely continue to be the case as the years pass. I’d like a new rotary powered car but I don’t ever see it happening again.

  • Six_Tymes

    disappointing, but a very smart move. let it go for good Mazda, amazing performance for its time. in fact banned as race cars because rotary was too fast and crushed the competition for a brief period until other competitors got them banned from racing. that said, as far as rotary in consumer cars, rotary has its limitations for cleaner burning. EV is the future and Mazda knows it. so again, smart move for Mazda to let the idea of new rotary go.

  • Rani

    Article makes it pretty clear. Regulations are making it difficult for Mazda so I can’t blame them.

  • Dude

    Pretty sure the “mule” is just someone’s custom RX-8

    • Jim Ragland

      I was thinking the same thing…I highly doubt Mazda bring that back to life unless it’s EV. As we can see their not even playing that game.

  • Bo Hanan

    Please be done with the RX cars already. I’ve owned several and the 1981-1985 12A cars were the best (most reliable). Everything before and after was just pretty crap. Mazda needs to “let it go” and look for a new sports car family.

  • Infinite1

    Not surprised but sadden by the news

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