Mazda Motor Corporation unveiled the Mazda RX-VISION at the Tokyo Motor Show. It is an exquisitely proportioned front-engine, rear-wheel drive concept. The RX-VISION represents a “vision” of the future that could only come from Mazda. And one that countless fans of the brand around the world hope will become a reality.
Rotary engines are unique in that they generate power through the rotational motion of triangular rotors (unlike the reciprocating pistons in conventional automotive engines). Overcoming numerous technical difficulties, Mazda succeeded in commercialising rotary power, first in the Mazda Cosmo Sport 110S in 1967 and then in several other models. The most successful of these was the Mazda RX-7, the most-sold rotary car ever with more than 800,000 produced between 1978 and 2002.
Continually striving to improve output, fuel economy and durability, Mazda was the only company to ever win the 24 Hours of Le Mans with a rotary-powered race car, a feat it managed in 1991 in the Mazda 787B.
Although not currently mass-producing any rotary models, Mazda never ceased its R&D activities. Mazda continues fighting to keep the rotary alive. The RX-Vision starts with the classic elements of a front-engine, rear-wheel drive sports coupe by combining a long, low hood, short rear deck, and a passenger compartment way at the back. From there, Mazda’s stylists add the swooping touches of the brand’s Kodo design language. The result looks thoroughly modern and still subtly evokes generations of the RX-7 in the sculpted fenders and flowing roofline.
Under that shapely hood hides Mazda’s next-generation rotary, which the company has dubbed the Skyactiv-R. Unfortunately, details about it are quite scarce at the moment, including the displacement or even the number of rotors the engine uses. Still, Mazda is abundantly clear that development of the mill is very much moving forward.
Mazda’s designers opt for a retro flair inside with the deeply dished steering wheel and gauges in three pods. The rest is simple and elegant with a minimalist, metal gearshift rising from the center console and leather straps for door pulls. Finishing things off is a clean mix of red and black upholstery with a little carbon fiber for contrast.