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Sunday, September 5, 2010

Mazda working on new rotary engine for RX-8 heir

Mazda is working on a new rotary engine for the RX-7 descendant that can run on either petrol or diesel, and offer improved fuel economy compared to the recently terminated RX-8 coupe.

The two-stroke 16X engine is designed to correct the shortcomings of Mazda’s most recent rotary engine, including its high oil consumption and lack of torque in the mid-range. Sources in Japan say the new unit has achieved considerable improvements in fuel efficiency.

But the final go-ahead has not yet been received from Mazda’s top executives. Mazda is still working out how to attain the best mixture of performance, economy and emissions. In its current situation, the 16X is expected to give the RX-7 about 300bhp and enable it to reach 60mph in less than 5 seconds.

Mazda’s R&D department has invited several external drivers and racers to test RX-7 mules, and the design team has required feedback at customer clinics.

Much of the push towards another rotary-engined sports car comes from Mazda USA. A recent autonomous survey revealed that demand for an affordable rotary-powered sports car is still as strong as it’s ever been in the U.S. It’s been suggested that were it not for American demand for the car, the project would have been abandoned.

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