Mazda seems to be embroiled in multiple ‘will they/won’t they’ scenarios right now. Will rotary engines be used as anything other than range extenders or not? Is there going to be a Mazda 3 hot hatch or should we abandon hope? Will it build an ‘RX-9’ sports car or is that a fanciful dream?
There have been conflicting reports for each, but right now, it’s looking like the answer is ‘no’ for the first one, and ‘quite possibly’ for the second two. As for why that is, we need to look at a patent filed by Mazda and unearthed by Japan’s Motor Magazine.
Mazda’s patent - titled ‘Vehicle Shock Absorption Structure’ - shows a spaceframe-style platform with a double-wishbone suspension setup made from aluminium. Considering this setup and the fact the design forces a front-mid layout - with the engine behind the front axle - it has to be concluded that this is for a sports car.
Also, there really doesn’t look like a lot of space back there for the powerplant, suggesting that a compact rotary engine may be the only realistic engine choice. It’d be hard to imagine Mazda’s incoming inline-six fitting in that gap.
According to Motor’s insider source at Mazda, the spaceframe platform - which will have carbonfibre-reinforced bodywork attached - is going to remain exclusive to one car. The report follows another patent filing by the Japanese firm earlier this year, which showed a twin-scroll turbocharger for use with a rotary engine.
Soon, it may be possible to buy both a brand new Toyota Supra and a rotary-powered Mazda RX sports car. What year is it?