Here’s a fun question for your upcoming pub quiz: name the only hybrid rotary car ever produced. If you named the Mazda Premacy Hydrogen RE Hybrid, then congratulations! But next year you might be able to name the RX-8’s successor, the aptly-named RX-9, as another car that’s hybrid Wankelin’.
According to Mazda’s Hiroshima headquarters, the company is busy at work on the next MX-5 Miata and new tech like the SkyActiv engine, leaving precious few R&D funds for the RX-9. “We want to take the RX-9 to the next level but just can’t find the man-hours to do it,” says an insider in the company. “We have a guideline. We know what we have to do. But as we must give priority to the next-gen MX-5, we only have a small band of guys working on the RX-9.”
Instead, however, Mazda may resort to licensing hybrid technology from the electric experts at Toyota, mating it with a radical new rotary engine that promises to eliminate many of the RX-8’s problems—chugging fuel, burning oil, lacking torque, just to name a few. The rotary would be used as the primary engine with the hybrid system serving as a range extender.
And with development of the next MX-5, the RX-9 could see a downsizing, to be more in line with the original 1989 dimensions. The current MX-5 had to be enlarged to fit the RX-8’s platform; now, the RX-9 could be shrunken to fit the next MX-5’s. And yes, this would mean the return of two proper doors for the RX again—Mazda’s legendary sports car comes full circle, it seems.
[Source: Motor Trend]