Mazda Continues Testing RX-8 Prototypes At The ‘Ring, Fuels Rotary Return Rumors

Reports of a possible return of the rotary engine have been going back and forth ever since Mazda discontinued the RX-8 seven years ago. The latest thing that fueled the rumors once again is a mule that was spied testing at the Nurburgring not long ago, with its front end hidden beneath vinyl stickers.

So, could it be that the Japanese automaker is planning to bring back the RX-8 or RX-7 nameplate (or could it be the RX-9?), using a brand new rotary engine, with or without some some sort of electrification? Your guess is as good as ours, although we’re inclined towards the latter scenario.

Also Read: Is This The Mazda RX-9 Mule We’ve Been Waiting For?

The rumor mill speaks about a possible rotary engine that could act as a range extender in the company’s first electric vehicle. The all-new EV was teased for the 2019 Tokyo Motor Show, which starts later this month, and is believed to be aimed at Europe, China and Japan. It could also launch in America with a range extender, and that’s where the rumored rotary engine comes into play, catering to those “suffering” from range anxiety.

On a second note, patent images showing a turbocharged rotary engine made their way onto the web a few months ago, suggesting perhaps that Mazda will launch a modern-day “RX-7”. Our guess is they could do both, but even though at this point, it’s pretty much anyone’s guess, we don’t think Hamamatsu has chosen the RX-8 as a mule randomly, especially when it rotary-powered sports cars have so many fans.

 

  • Kitty Pourquoi

    Even though they put tape on the front, it doesn’t show any changes compared to the normal RX-8 facelift. The “L” badge on the rear window indicates the car is driven by a new development driver, who is currently being trained

    • Six_Tymes

      oh, I did not know the meaning of the “L” badge. so another words, I shouldn’t hold my breath.

  • Endera A

    Put a Skyactiv-x inline 6 in it and call it RX-6. There you have a RWD Sports car above the MX-5.

    • Andrewthecarguy

      The last RX-6 was a fantastic car.

    • Jason Miller

      “RH” is rotary powered, you cannot use that designation for anything else. MX-6, maybe…

  • Bige Lee

    Rotary is cool but very unreliable and inefficient…

    • toodog

      I’ve been working with rotary engines since 1993 and have never had any of the experience you’re claiming.

    • Jason Miller

      Inefficient, maybe. Unreliable, depends on who you ask. Most N/A rotaries are super reliable. All comes down to maintenance.

  • toodog

    Starting at 2:20 tells you exactly why they are there testing. Any autophile can tell you that.

  • Giziclown

    Come to Butthead!!!

  • Jason Miller

    If you think this is the range extender, you don’t know what a range extender is.

  • MarkoS

    It is testing a rotary range extender for now. That new inline-6 will likely power the next sports cars and I am good with that.

    • Jason Miller

      The definition of a range extender is that it acts like a generator. It has no physical connection to the wheels, so it doesn’t drive the car. This is not the range extender.

      • MarkoS

        We have yet to see precisely what that would look like. In any case I never stated it did. There is also no One definition of just what a range extender is.

  • Alduin

    Why bother? Rotary engines are terrible,burn oil and aren’t reliable. I don’t know why some people think a renesis engine is “special” it’s not.

    • it’s funny, each time I see a comment from you it’s negative.

      • Alduin

        Not always.

    • SteersUright

      Listen to a 3-rotor which is common in racing Mazdas, it sound like a F1 car from the V12 days, absolutely incredible. As far as reliability, just dont know, never owned one.

    • Netsphere

      mine has 160k on it all original with perfect compression. by burning oil you mean oil injection to lubricate apex seals then yes, burn it because its badly made no. all cars burn oil, get over yourself. go drive your civic

      • Alduin

        Rotary engines still suck. 1.3L lol thats smaller than a 2002-2005 Civics engine at 1.7L.

  • pcurve

    the only car company doing interesting engineering stuff (to me)

  • How to attract cameras? Put camo on a old (but still great looking!) car. 99.99% of people would just think it’s just an other Mazda. People modified the RX-8, an effective Camo would be stupid paint, stickers, colors… to make it look a tuned car by an idiot.

  • SteersUright

    Sounds like a Renesis rotary, which is to say not very good at all. They sound like dentist drills. Now the older 3-rotor, thats another story altogether. Also, doesnt look very fast which lends me to believe it is in fact some evolution of the underpowered Renesis. Handling seems good though.

  • i think these things burn to much oil to get past emissions laws…

    like VW had a hard enough time with their Diesels… i dont’ see this working out to well.

    • Jason Miller

      You assume these new versions actually burn oil.

      • there are only 2 types of rotary engines. one’s that burn oil, and ones that will burn oil soon enough.

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