New details emerge on the rotary-powered 2017 Mazda RX-9

November 23, 2015

Mazda’s most talked-about cars is the forthcoming halo model, the Mazda MX-9. The highly anticipated sports car was previewed by the Mazda RX-VISION concept (featured image) at the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show last month. The production version is likely to arrive in 2017, the year which will mark the 50th anniversary of the Japanese automaker’s first rotary engine-powered car – the Mazda Cosmo, which also served as the company’s halo model throughout its lifecycle of three generations.

The 2017 Mazda RX-9 (name unconfirmed) will be powered by an all-new rotary engine dubbed ‘SKYACTIV-R’, with the ‘R’ standing for rotary engine technology, as per a report from This engine would be based on the next-generation 1.6-litre RENESIS (rotary engine 16X) concept engine which has a twin-800 cc (800 cc x 2) rotor setup. The company is currently testing a new hybrid turbocharged rotary engine and it is still referred to as 16X.

According to the report, the 2017 Mazda RX-9 will have a rear-wheel drive drivetrain layout. The wheels will be driven via a rear transaxle and the transmission will be rear mounted. Mazda engineers are said to have been working on a two-stage turbocharging system that incorporates an “electric turbo assist” for handling duties at low engine speeds and an exhaust-driven turbocharger that takes over at higher engine speeds.

The Australian publication’s source says that a capacitor will be employed to ensure stability of output at low engine speeds, and when boost pressure rises, the standard exhaust-driven turbocharger will get in business.


The report says that the all-new rotary engine will operate in Homogeneous Charge Compression Ignition (HCCI) combustion mode. In HCCI form of internal combustion, the mixture of fuel and air is compressed to the point of auto-ignition.

HCCI engines can operate at much higher compression ratios than conventional spark ignition engines, resultantly achieving a higher fuel efficiency. Cleaner combustion provides much lower CO2 emissions – something Mazda would be very careful about this time, because apart from low sales, another major reason why the Mazda RX-8 went out of production in 2012 is said to be because of its incapability to meet stringent emissions norms in major markets.

The report concludes stating that the all-new rotary engine’s development has not been given to Nobuhiro Yamamoto, Program Manager of the fourth generation Mazda MX-5, but to some other younger engineer whose name still remains a mystery.


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