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With the passing of the Mazda RX-8 this year, many believe this might be the end of the famous wankel-rotary engine, especially since there is no replacement model in sight.
The rotary engine might be down for now, but don’t count it out just yet, as Mazda is now developing a new rotary engine, with a special new ignition system.
Word from Japan is, that the next generation of rotary engine, which is currently known as 16X Renesis, will use lasers instead of spark plugs. A laser would need a smaller hole on the combustion chamber, which would help in more controlled combustion and hence would improve fuel economy, which has long been the downfall of the rotary motor.
The new engine is said to have grown in size, from 1.3-liters to 1.6-liters, however since it is partly made from aluminum and is physically smaller, it will be lighter and more powerful than the old 13B motor.
Could this mean the return of the RX-7? Here’s hoping.
Mazda‘s last attempt at their RX-7 rotary sports car was a brilliant but deeply flawed effort. Performance and styling were top notch, but reliability issues and a high price tag meant that the car lasted less than five years in North America. The RX-8 that replaced it was a fine car in its own right, but the tame four-seater has forever lived in the shadow of its two-seater predecessor.
Motor Trend is reporting that the RX-7 is due for a revival, and while the performance capabilities will stay intact, the new car will be able to run on gas or diesel. While the rest of the automotive world abandoned the rotary engine long ago, Mazda has stood by the technology, and prototypes of the latest incarnation, dubbed the 16x, have apparently been able to use any number of fuels, even castor oil. Mazda is still refining a number of areas that previous rotaries have struggled with, including oil consumption and a lack of top-end power.
With the RX-8 growing long in the tooth, the new RX-7 should be a welcome replacement for the aging sports car, and a flagship for Mazda’s sporty line-up.