We’ve heard of people swapping Mazda rotary engines into older Miatas, but if reports out of Japan are to be believed, the next MX-5, due out in 2012, will come standard with an all new, super efficient rotary engine – as well as a hybrid system.
7Tune is reporting that an article in the Japanese magazine Best Car outlines Mazda’s plans for a “rotary hybrid” MX-5, set to compete with the “Hybrid Sports” competitors from Honda and Toyota. After that, things start to get a little suspect, as 7Tune reports that
“According to the popular magazine, Mazda is pondering whether to offer their newly developed Sky-G Hybrid Rotary Engine in a 1.2 liter ( commonly known as the 12A ) or 1.3 liter ( commonly known as the 13B ) engine capacity for their venerable Roadster.”
Despite these claims, the SKY-G has previously been announced as a highly-efficient piston engine, while the 12A – and the 13B for that matter- hasn’t been build for a couple decades. Last December, the SKY-G seemed to be a sure bet for the MX-5, and the engine was confirmed off the record through Mazda sources, who stressed that the new car would be an ultra-lightweight affair, with a 1.3L SKY-G being an integral part of the package. To put a rotary into an MX-5 would be a dangerous blurring of Mazda’s two strongest brands, their RX sports cars (famous for their rotary engines) and the MX-5 (which follows the classic 2-seat, bare bones sports car format that has made it so successful).
On the other hand, Mazda recently announced a patent for a new type of integrated electric motor, mounted in the wheel hub. A compact system like this could actually work on a car like the MX-5, where packaging and a light weight are essential, bu only time will tell what powertrain Mazda decides to go with for their iconic sports car, but with over 1 million cars sold over 20 years, Mazda has a lot of customers that they can’t afford to alienate, and a hybrid system would be the antithesis of the no frills experience that made the MX-5 such a hit.