Concept Cars

Mazda rotary concept confirmed for Tokyo in October

The words come straight from the mouth of an executive, so you can trust 'em.

Mazda

It's a rare occasion when talking to an executive at an auto show produces genuinely interesting copy, but AutoExpress managed just that with an exec from Mazda.

Mazda will unveil a new rotary-engine concept car at the Tokyo Motor Show in October, AutoExpress reports. It learned this information from Matsuhiro Tanaka, Mazda's vice president of research and development, during a conversation at the Frankfurt Motor Show.

"With the Tokyo Motor Show we will be introducing a new design concept -- you can think of it as an evolution of theme of the RX Vision," Tanaka said, according to AutoExpress. "When we introduce a concept, our intention from the engineering and design community is to make it a reality. What I will say is that we are making the utmost efforts to try and make this a possibility."

As long as it's this beautiful, I don't care what engine is under the hood.

Mazda

The RX Vision concept was unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show in October 2015. With a rotary engine in the front, the drive wheels in the back and a long, long hood, the RX Vision looked like the spiritual successor to the third-generation FD RX-7 from the 1990s, albeit in concept form. It sounds like Mazda's next concept will build on this one, but perhaps with more production-ready components.

It's expected that, if Mazda does really build a new rotary sports car, it will do so to coincide with its 100th anniversary in 2020. Considering the rotary engine was a staple of Mazda's lineup and Mazda's alone, a new one on the eve of its centenary would be a proper nod to the company's past.

Instead of pistons moving up and down, like in a traditional internal combustion engine, the Wankel rotary engine uses a triangular rotor to compress the air-fuel mixture, ignite it and expel it. It's compact and light and can rev to the heavens, although it's always been a bit light on torque. They're also known for having sealing issues and middling fuel economy.

It's entirely possible that Mazda will attempt to make up for the rotary engine's shortcomings, especially the lack of torque, by adding partial electrification to provide the low-end grunt that many drivers are after. But, according to Tanaka's conversation with AutoExpress, he believes that rotary fans will want a pure, non-electrified rotary engine, so that will likely arrive first.