Mazda’s greatest cars can almost all be attributed to a rotary engine. There’s the original Cosmo of 1967, all of the RX-7s and arguably the most notable, the Le Mans-winning 787b racer. Now, 55 years since its first, the Japanese manufacturer has just confirmed its two millionth Wankel has been produced.
In case you’re not up to date, the rotary has seen a revival this year following its demise with the RX-8 in 2012, returning as a range-extender for the MX-30 R-EV. It’s an unconventional return, and a drive of it left us feeling a little cold, but it’s great to see the rotary back nonetheless.
It’s the SUV that plays host to the two millionth, though as the only car currently in production with a Wankel, no other could take that milestone. Taking just four months since the first R-EV was built to hit the mark, it does leave us thinking Mazda should’ve kept the RX-8 going just a little longer…
It’s just the start of its resurgence, at least, with the engine seemingly being keen on Mazda’s transition to an electric future. The recently-revealed Iconic SP is likely a preview of how the next MX-5 could take shape, itself using a two-rotor as a range-extender with 370bhp on tap from the system.
Speaking on the milestone, Takeshi Mukai, director and senior managing executive officer at Mazda, said: “The rotary engine is a special part of Mazda history and represents our ‘never-stop challenging spirit.’ The rotary engine is much loved by customers around the world, and we are excited to resume production and see it make a comeback.
“I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank everyone who has supported us on this journey—in particular, the many customers who have purchased rotary engine vehicles, our rotary engine fans, and all our business partners who were involved in development and production. Moving forward, we will continue to pass on this ‘never-stop challenging spirit,’ offering attractive vehicles that provide our customers with an exciting driving experience even in the age of electrification.”