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.
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.