Mazda still is teasing us with rumors of the return of the RX-7; rumors that continue to heat up as production of the RX-8 – the Japanese automaker’s only Renesis rotary-powered vehicle in its fleet – winds down this year.
We hear that the engine still being considered for the new RX-7 is a version of the 16X direct-injection rotary powerplant first unveiled at the 2007 Tokyo motor show. But according to a source close to Mazda, the engine still does not meet the company’s goal of lower emissions, better fuel economy, and beefier mid-range torque, issues that plagued the RX-8.
One insider tells us that to remedy this situation, engineers are thinking outside the box and “testing the rotary in conjunction with technologies including an electric turbo.” We were also told not to expect a hybrid or hydrogen interference, as those have been tested and apparently don’t solve the underlying issues Mazda is trying to address.
In addition, we hear that if the car gets the green light, Mazda is seriously considering changing the name from RX-7 to RX-9, a moniker that has been tossed around before. If the RX-7 actually does reach production, don’t expect it before calendar year 2013 at the earliest, possibly wearing some of the same design cues featured on the latest Mazda5 as rendered in the illustration at top. Mazda has indicated that its design direction will be moving away from the ‘Nagare’ flowing theme seen in the illustration, but it will likely take a generation or two for the new direction to supplant the present aesthetic.