Return the Wankel?

Hiroshima ( Japan ), September 30, 2015

He is considered long buried: the rotary engine, more commonly known by its inventor Wankel engine. Especially Mazda celebrated great successes with the Wankel, among others in the form of the Le Mans victory in 1991 or the popular RX. 7 His successor named RX-8 held the exotic concept final rod, to 2012 the end came. But now the story could go: Mazda brings the end of October 2015 sports car concept for Tokyo Motor Show with.

Sense of the history

The first image of the as yet unnamed concept car shows designerische bonds at Mercedes-AMG GT. Mazda itself speaks vaguely of a " feel for the Race " and the essence of his own sports car tradition in a model. Fittingly, at the fair, a Cosmo Sport issued by 1967th He made formally and technically a sensation, he was still in front of the NSU Ro 80, the first car with two-rotor Wankel engine.

Surprise Birthday?

Its 50th anniversary in 2017 could be taken as an opportunity to revive the idea of ​​a Wankel - Mazda in sleek form. With the RX - 7 of 1978 the company went successfully to offer the Wankel engine in sports car. Here the unit could play to its compact design, also here is the relatively high fuel and oil consumption were more tolerated. Brings us to the most important sticking point: The RX-8 was not to move under 12 liters average consumption. The solution is called " 16X " and was shown in the study Taiki of 2007.

Economical through direct

Underlying this is a rotary engine with 800 cubic meters twice chamber volume, a side housing made of aluminum and more discharge volume. Most importantly, the type of construction crescent and thus adversely shaped combustion chambers should be better filled by direct injection. Up to 300 hp are talking, could add a small electric drive compensate for the modest response in the lower speed range and reduce consumption.

Traffic light on Yellow

Is there a future for the Wankel? The current Mazda CEO Masamichi Kogai seems to be skeptical. He is quoted as saying that the drive for him would only expect from 100,000 vehicles per year. His predecessor Takashi Yamanouchi had however in 2011 said that the 16X engine for the time being would be on hold until the financial situation of Mazda would consolidate again. Right now the brand on course for success. One may be curious to see if the Japanese treat a flagship project as a Wankel sports car. Finally, two things for Mazda are unique: the MX - 5 and the rotary engine . ( rh )