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 |  Jun 27 2011, 1:18 PM

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.

[Source: Autocar]