Mazda Is Worried About How A New Rotary Sports Car Might Be Received

A new rotary-powered sports car from Mazda is one of the most talked-about topics in recent years, yet the car manufacturer still remains non-committal about such a model.

Speaking with Cars Guide at the Tokyo Motor Show, Mazda chief designer Ikuo Maeda admitted that it remains a dream for the car manufacturer to use its rotary technology in a new sports car, but is unsure how it would be received.

“I don’t know if we are having an RX-8 replacement, we have to see what the society thinks of that and what the environment is like in terms of accepting the idea of a sports car,” he said, indicating that Mazda could be seen as irresponsible for release a rotary-powered performance car in a world increasingly becoming focused on EVs and efficient hybrids”, Maeda commented.

Also Read: Mazda New Rotary Sports Car – A Dream That May Not Come True

“I understand that the clock is ticking and that the environment constantly changes, and we have to see if the current and future environment would be able to accept a sports car with open arms,” he added. “We understand that we are racing against time. But if the notion of driving a sports car causes people to think negatively about the pressure that is putting on the global environment, if having a sports car itself is seen as a negative thing, then we don’t want that.”

Although the future of a new Mazda sports car remains far from confirmed, Maeda said that in the more immediate future he would like to see a hot, MPS version of the sleek new Mazda3 hatchback, despite previous reports that the company doesn’t intend to make one.

“If you look at the range that we have in product currently, I think we can say the Mazda3 hatch is quite fitted or suited to that kind of sporty vehicle. Personally, I’d like to try to have a high-performance version of this vehicle, but I said personally, and when I say personally you always say Mazda would like to.”

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  • Marcus Meyn

    Best to be pure electric.

    • Arthur

      If they released a EV RX I can’t see them selling it for less than $80-$100K to break even much less make a profit and while for the vehicles they do sell now are close to encroaching Lexus and other entry level luxury models, that’s a far cry from asking for double what the most expensive Mazda currently for sale even if the RX would serve as the company’s Halo car.

  • Six_Tymes

    As they should be. Do I want them badly to produce one? sure! But the timing isn’t good. Honestly, I don’t think they should at this point. I just don’t think a large majority would support it now. Sure many in the “car community” would, but mazda would need masses to support it to be financially feasible. And with all the talk in support of ev’s do you really want to see mazda fail? I don’t. Maybe now is not a good time, 10 years ago my opinion would have been the opposite. sad

    • Nordschleife

      Very logically stated. I feel the exact same way. They have to be cognizant of the changing desires of America but they are on a race against time. I think they just need to make the concept and maybe give it a skyactive supercharged engine.

  • Porkopolis

    Wait, political correctness is ruining sports cars now?

    • Yavor

      Carrying about the environment we live in is NOT political correctness…

  • Jason Miller

    But if the notion of driving a sports car causes people to think
    negatively about the pressure that is putting on the global environment,
    if having a sports car itself is seen as a negative thing, then we
    don’t want that.


    • Six_Tymes

      “we don’t want that” obviously, and I agree, but “we” are not the masses. I think if Mazda were a bigger company they would take the chance and produce it. I don’t think this is a good time. I don’t think they would sell enough. I for one would go take another mortgage out on my house to buy one! The problem now is, ev popularity, suv popularity, global car buying slow down. the timing is bad.

  • Mr. EP9

    Or perhaps it could be that it won’t sell well given how CUVs are far more profitable. Most climate activists probably won’t care if Mazda makes a sports car.

  • Stephen G

    Not only is this idea ludicrous…bringing up such an idea is insane. With the industry pivoting toward electrics, seems like development of such a car would be throwing money away. A new Mazda Speed 3 may give more bang for the buck.

  • atomiccow

    The future may hate combustion, but it won’t hate the sports car. An ICE does not a car make. If Mazda thinks that the ONLY reason anyone would buy their sports car is because they have a novelty rotary engine, then they’re selling themselves short. What they should be selling themselves on is quality of driving and excellent car design. None of that hinges on the type of the power train.


  • illogicalPotato

    The brand needs a new halo vehicle to promote enthusiasm for the brand. If they think the Mazda 3 is filling that role then I think they need to re-check their logic.

  • Javier Bl

    Stop making damn crossovers if you care about enviroment.

    • Matt

      Ok, but then they’d lose market share are probably go bankrupt.

  • Netsphere

    i have more fun reading comments than the actual article. i would buy a new rx7 in a heard beat and have 2 in my garage

  • Rocket

    Curious that they care how a rotary would be received, but they went ahead with their relatively inefficient Skyactiv-D launch in North America despite diesel being a dirty word these days.

    Regarding the MazdaSpeed3, they’ll need to ditch the torsion beam and offer a manual gearbox if they want it to be taken seriously.

    • Able

      The French hot hatches show that a torsion beam is just fine.

      • Rocket

        “Fine”? Sorry, not good enough. Does anybody believe the Civic Type R would be remotely as competent with a torsion beam setup?

        • Matt

          Uh the FK2 CTR was torsion beam and that was a weapon and well-received. The Megane 275 is also torsion beam and is regarded as one of the best driving hot hatches of the modern era. It’s all about tuning. ‘Fine’ is understating things – in fact most torsion beam-equipped hot hatches are excellent or even sublime (not an exaggeration).

          • Rocket

            I’m not suggesting they haven’t done well with the hardware and budgets they were given, but making the most of what you got doesn’t mean they didn’t leave some performance on the table. Find me a dedicated sports car with a torsion beam and I’ll retract my comments.

            For Mazda to go backwards with the current model’s suspension was disappointing, but to do so while increasing prices in their desire to move upmarket is baffling. Yes, they maximized cargo capacity with the torsion beam setup, but let’s not pretend cost wasn’t a factor.

          • Jason Miller

            100% agree man. The multi-link setup in my Elantra Sport was one of the main reasons I chose it over others I was looking at. Wouldn’t have it any other way. I feel like the only reason Mazda switched to the beam was to save costs so they could put money elsewhere like the interior.

  • Able

    Make it a hybrid then? Even a mild hybrid like the SkyActiv-X engine.

  • Giziclown

    There is no more RX-7.

  • Squeaky_1

    Easy, they could run it on PETROL instead of “gas” . . . . man I detest Americanisms! Only in America would they use the exact same word (gas) to describe something like liquid petroleum AND a gas.

    • Tumbi Mtika


    • Jason Miller

      Feel better? And yes, Knee-san is the correct way to say it.

  • Bo Hanan

    -or they could just make the damn thing reliable! leave twin turbos on the floor. No stupid 4-door coupe bull. single turbo and add hybrid later.

  • Brian Regan

    Maybe have a rotary or rotary hybrid as an option and then an actually reliable and efficient skyactiv as the “main” engine option.

    • Benjamin B.

      What’s the point of a hybrid with a rotary? Rather have a traditional petrol engine.

  • MarkoS

    I forgot about rotary as soon as I herd about that new inline 6.

  • MarketAndChurch

    This is annoying marketing, and nothing more.

  • Dude

    I guess Mazda is more worried than most because they’re doing pretty bad right now but this worry is kinda unfounded. No one gets up in arms when Ferrari, BMW, or Porsche comes out with a new sports car. Why would anyone get mad at Mazda?

    Actually me. Everyone knew about the shifting landscape. And instead focusing on the alternative energy future Mazda’s been using the same aging 2.5L and the same aging 6 speed. Supposedly that to maintain an enthusiast image, but what’s the point when the vast majority of your money comes from SUVs? Electrify those and make way, way more of them, and then you don’t have to worry about “reception”.

  • SteersUright

    If only they made that exact concept car at $100k to compete with GTR and Lexus LC. Enthusiasts would accept any engine that is reliable, efficient, powerful and sounds amazing, rotary or whatever.

    • Benjamin B.

      Rotary isn’t reliable or efficient. Also rotary engines have dismal torque numbers. They make good HP for smaller displacement engines snd rev quite highly. But they use a lot of oil and fuel.

  • Vassilis

    So F all of us who like sportscars and enjoy driving. Thank you Mazda.

    • Benjamin B.

      The Mazda MX-5 uses a traditional inline four cylinder engine. I argue it is the purist sports car. Rotary is overrated.

      • Vassilis

        Yeah OK, that doesn’t mean there isn’t space for a faster coupe. The RX-7 was around when the MX-5 was as well.

  • Toronado_II

    To me, rotary engine is dead. So complicated to use, heavy oil consumption, unreliable and underpowered !
    This is not what I want from an halo car…

    • Benjamin B.

      In Hiroshima, Japan there are a small group of engineers who won’t let the rotary be given a proper burial. They even decided it’ll make a perfect range extender for an EV. Really? Use an engine that drinks a lot of oil and petrol/gasoline? What’re they smoking in Hiroshima?

  • BarryFastCars

    A two rotor with an electric motor between the engine and trans makes so much sense. Rotary engines are small and smooth as silk, they make minimal torque and tons of hp at high rpm. Pair that with a torquey electric motor and and lithium battery and you are golden!

  • Bart

    Please, stop this fake nostalgia trip already. Except a few journos and about two other guys no one cares about rotary engines. Go ahead and make a bigger sports car, Mazda. If it would look good and have a decent performance – people will buy it. Otherwise: a rotary engine would not save it.
    Seriously, take the concept shown above, put a four banger SkyActive-X in it, add an 100-hp electric motor, and you’re golden.

  • Mi Lito

    After all this time, and technology that has come out, Mazda is telling us that the ultimate rotary was the same as the 1st gen RX? I’m certain that there are ways to bump power, torque, and efficiency. Try actually being innovative.

  • Benjamin B.

    In Hiroshima, Japan there are a small group of engineers who are obsessed with trying to get the rotary engine to work in the twenty first century. They won’t give up on this ancient Nazi-era technology. I have a love-hate relationship with the rotary. On one hand it’s a cool high revving engine for a sports car. On the other hand it’s extremely inefficient, uses more oil than a tiny displacement engine should, and has limited torque. HP numbers are pretty good for small displacement engines, but torque is dismal. Again there are obviously a group of engineers at Mazda who love the rotary and don’t want to see it die in Hiroshima.

  • Benjamin B.

    I disagree, but the MX-5 RF is a pretty cool halo vehicle. Now Mazda should bring back the Mazdaspeed MX-5 as well as other Mazdaspeed vehicle. Maybe a turbocharged variant of the Skyactive X engine with electric motors and a smaller, lighter battery pack. That’ll be a fun sports car. Rotary should be given a proper burial and Hiroshima engineers should let it Rest In Peace.

  • Benjamin B.

    Like your idea but I would combine forced induction as well

  • Benjamin B.

    But let the rotary die

  • Benjamin B.

    I agree. Rotary should die. Interesting point. Ford is making an EV that’s a combination of its Mustang and Explorer. Also Porsche’s electric car uses turbo badges which I’m still pretty annoyed with. Remind me of when non car companies use to use turbo to describe everything from blenders to vacuum cleaners. Also Audi badges it’s 3.0L supercharged V6 as a 3.0T. That’s from the same company. VW.

  • Benjamin B.

    But I do disagree that the new EV is ugly. It’s quite a good looking vehicle. But I would prefer more traditional doors. It’ll only have to be a few more inches longer I’m sure.

  • Alduin

    Rotary engines are crap. They burn oil get terrible gas mileage and are just pointless. The RX-8 was what a puny 1.3L? such a tiny motor.

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