Saturday, 31 October 2015

Mazda RX-Vision Concept is a Statement of Rotary Intent

Hey, remember the Mazda RX-7? Yes? Good! So does Mazda, and with great fondness no less. We heard a couple of years ago that they were planning to bring out a new RX model in 2017 and since then the rumor mill has not stopped turning for a moment. Well now Mazda themselves had stirred things up good and proper at the Tokyo Motor Show with this, the RX-Vision Concept.

Sexy thing, isn't it? Long, low, sleek and clean, it's every bit a worthy successor to the FD-generation RX-7 aesthetically (not to mention much more dramatic than the often-overlooked four-door RX-8 of a decade ago). The twisting side surfacing is very clever and gives the shape a complexity without making it look like windswept origami as so many concept cars do these days. It'll take some refinement and adjusting for reality before the expected release date of 2017, but what a great start!

We know that this car has a new rotary engine, using lessons learned from their previous efforts and with the aim of improving on the traditional weak points of the spinning-Smint engine design - namely low torque, high fuel/oil consumption at anything other than a cruise, and unreliability. They've given it a name of "SkyActiv-R" but haven't given us any specifications at all. We have no idea on power nor whether it's turbocharged, supercharged or a hybrid. Pleasingly, it does appear to have a manual gearbox. These are the people who make the willfully back-to-basics MX-5, remember.

At a guess, I'd say it's either naturally aspirated or a hybrid, given that other SkyActiv Mazdas are generally not turbocharged. Power should be between 250-350bhp and it should be somewhere around the Nissan 370Z, Porsche Cayman, Audi TT-S and cars like that in terms of price and performance. I would also expect them to be chasing a lightweight, much like they did for the new "ND" MX-5 that's around 100kg lighter than the car it replaced. With only two doors it should weigh less than the RX-8, that's for sure!

We'll see where this goes. Hopefully somewhere fun.

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