Mazda’s board of directors has formally approved the design, engineering and production of the company’s long-awaited successor to the RX-7 and RX-8 rotary coupes, according to Japan’s Holiday Auto magazine which has also produced these new renderings.
Expected to be called the RX-9 — a trademark Mazda has registered — the born-again performance coupe is not due on sale globally until January 2020, when it will be the centrepiece of Mazda’s centenary celebrations.
Before then, the Mazda is likely to reveal a prototype version at the 2017 Tokyo motor show to mark the 50th anniversary of its first rotary model, before the final production model debuts at the 2019 Tokyo show.
Apart from producing these three new renderings — which show a range of updates from the2020 RX-VISION concept revealed last October, including a sharper body-side surfacing and a more chiselled front-end design – Holiday Auto has reported a number of key new details.
As previewed by the SKYACTIV-R concept engine, Mazda’s next-generation rotary engine will grow to 1.6 litres by employing twin 800cc rotors displacing 1.6 litres. It’s speculated that the Mazda sports car will combine turbocharging and diesel-style HCCI compression ignition in a world-first application, made all the more significant by applying the advanced fuel-delivery and ignition technology to a rotary engine. Even if HCCI doesn’t happen, the SKYACTIV-R engine will feature recessed spark plugs for improved fuel efficiency, in keeping with the engine’s SKYACTIV name.
Like us, Holiday Auto believes it will produce around 300kW, but the Japanese magazine says the RX-9 has a target weight of less than 1300kg, which will give it a formidable power-to-weight ratio.
Combined with the improved overall weight balance wrought by a rear transaxle, the low-slung rear-drive rotary coupe – which will be shorter than the rangy RX-VISION concept – should offer outstanding dynamics.
Fitted with a leather-lined interior and all of Mazda’s latest safety and convenience technologies, Holiday Auto says the two-seat Mazda sportster will be priced under eight million yen (about $A100,000).
Computer-generated images: Holiday Auto