In a surprise announcement at the Tokyo Auto Show, Mazda revealed that it intends to resurrect the iconic rotary engine, previewing the possibility in a new concept car that also showcases an evolution of the brand’s current design language.
Dubbed the RX-Vision concept, it shares some of its basic profile with the departed RX-8 coupe. Unlike the RX-8, the RX-Vision did not inherit that model’s awkward styling and incorporates many of the cues that made their initial debut on the Kodo concept. This is especially true when viewing the front fascia which adopts the concept’s shield shaped grille as well as its thin headlights. The rear fascia features four round taillamps that incorporate a razor thin spoiler with dual round exhaust tips rounding out the package. Overall it is a massive improvement over the RX-8 while also evoking memories of the RX-7 at the same time.
The interior of the RX-Vision was designed with driver-centric ergonomics and performance in mind with seating for only two passengers available. The cabin itself features only the bare essentials, and tosses many typical luxury features to the curb. Mazda designers opted for a retro theme with a meaty deep dish steering wheel and three pod gauge cluster loudly broadcasting its performance intent. A slick metal gear shifter rises from the center stack while leather door pulls substitute for formal door handles in a bid to shed precious ounces. The interior features red and black upholstery with subtle splashes of carbon fiber adding a dash of contrast to the overall aesthetics.
Details about the performance hardware for the RX-Vision are a little murky with Mazda opting to keep many technical aspects under wraps. What we do know is that the engine is an evolution of the brand’s iconic rotary engine dubbed the SkyActiv-R. It’s unknown how many rotors it has, nor the overall displacement of the engine itself. But the use of SkyActiv technology would seem to suggest that the engine will produce better fuel economy and fewer emissions than its predecessors. Mazda was also quick to point out that development of the new rotary is still moving forward, and shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon.
After it serves its time under the lights in Tokyo, look for this concept to possibly make its debut in the U.S. at either the Los Angeles Auto Show, or the North American International Auto show in January.