Mazda shows what’s old is new again. Maybe.

By Product Expert | Posted in Technology on Thursday, October 4th, 2018 at 6:57 pm
A photo of the rotary engine that used to be used by Mazda vehicles, like the Mazda RX-8.

Is Mazda bringing back the Wankel rotary engine?

Remember the Mazda RX-8? It was sleek, quick and had one of the most revolutionary powertrains found in the entire automotive industry. The automaker shuttered RX-8 production back in 2011, taking its unique engine with it. It doesn’t happen as much anymore, but we occasionally get people coming into the Gorman McCracken Mazda showroom asking, ‘Is Mazda bringing back the Wankel rotary engine?’ An informational release from Mazda seems to allude to a very strong possibility of this happening in the future. A possible re-emergence of the Mazda rotary engine is a single and important element to the automaker’s long-term goal of drastically reducing carbon monoxide emissions that come from its vehicles.

READ MORE: Upgrades are already appearing in the Mazda lineup

Quick Reminder: What is a rotary engine?

In a traditional engine, a camshaft turns which moves pistons up and down to compress and air/fuel mixture that ignites to create power. A rotary engine is different from how it compresses the air/fuel mixture by using rotational forces instead of linear motion. However, the most attractive aspect of a rotary engine is that it is able to make a huge amount of power with a relatively small package. We’ve included a video to better illustrate what is so special about this technology.

Future Mazda rotary powertrains

From a driver-experience point of view, a revival of the Mazda rotary engine would be awesome for people looking for a truly unique experience. However, the automaker plans on mixing the powerful and efficient nature of the rotary power plant with coming developments in vehicle electrification.

Battery-powered vehicles are the wave of the future. Mazda is currently working on bringing this technology to future models coming to dealerships like Gorman McCracken. There is one key difference between the coming iteration of the rotary engine and what was available with the Mazda RX-8. The main source of propulsion will be a battery-powered electric motor with the new rotary engine playing a supporting role. Instead of relying solely on a gas-powered engine, the rotary power plant will work as a generator and range-extender.

There is no concrete timeline for when this leap forward in fuel-efficient will be available. You can check the Gorman McCracken Mazda Blog for updates. If you don’t want to wait to see what Mazda has to offer, make an appointment with one of our product experts today.

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