After the long-running Mazda RX-8 left production in 2012 following poor sales and a failure to meet stringent Euro-zone emissions requirements, Mazda was left with a conundrum: should they abandon the rotary engine entirely, great for sporty performance but traditionally not so good for environmental and reliability concerns?
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The RX-8 took some heat for being softer and less engaging than the chassis-code "FD" RX-7 car that preceded it, and while it was still a competent driver, it just lacked that certain special edge. Before the company revitalized itself with a slew of strong new products, it looked as if the rotary was dead.
Enter the RX-9. An 800cc, dual-rotor hybrid powertrain is rumored to be in the initial stages of development. Early rumors suggest the engine may produce at least 350 horsepower. If approved for production, Mazda may aim to debut it as a halo car ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Stay tuned for the latest updates.
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Pictured: Mazda Shinari concept featuring Kodo "Soul of Motion" design.