I’ve been watching Mazda very closely over the past year or so, but it doesn’t take a genius to realise they don’t know quite know what to do with the RX series of sports cars. I think we can agree that the RX-9 is coming, but in what form is its powertrain going to arrive? We’ve heard rumours of hybrid systems with small Rotary motors to be used as range extenders, and we’ve heard that it could be solely powered by a new, more efficient Rotary. Now, unfortunately, it looks like the cat is out the bag: The RX-9 isn’t going to have a Rotary at all.
Sales of the RX-8 were poor and with its production ending in 2012, Mazda turned its head to efficient cars for non-enthusiasts. Even the MX-5 Miata went through a rough patch, but finally the Japanese marque pulled its ideas together and are now sporting a very impressive model lineup. Although, apart from the Miata, they don’t quite get the heart racing.
The SkyActiv engines fitted to a lot of these cars are honeys, though. They produce ample power while preserving fuel. They’re so good that Jalopnik tells us that it will be powering the new RX-9. The rumour comes from an anonymous source but is said to be trustworthy, stating that the engine that will be hiding underneath the hood of the fabled RX-9 will be an inline-6. It’s said to produce around 400bhp, which puts it in direct competition with the new Toyota Supra and the recently revealed Nissan Z Proto which may come to market in the next couple of years.
If Mazda is able to pull weight out of this new sports car and increase its agility over the Supra, then Toyota could really be in trouble. But in the same breath, Mazda will have to give up its legendary history of Rotary-powered sports cars. The ‘RX’ even stands for ‘Rotary Experiment’, so I’m sure a lot of us will feel cheated if this is true.
We can only hope that Mazda has something in store for the hardcore fans out there, and with it being the company’s 100th birthday this year, I’m hoping it’s coming soon.