A new patent filing could give us a few clues about Mazda’s new rotary-powered sports car.
When Mazda unveiled the stunning RX-Vision Concept, we were hoping it previewed a future RX-8 successor. Four years have passed since then, but Mazda still hasn't produced a new rotary-powered RX sports car since the RX-8 finished production back in 2012. However, a new patent design filed by Mazda suggests the long-awaited RX-9 sports car is in the pipeline.
As reported by Japan's Motor Magazine, the patent shows a spaceframe chassis that looks like no other platform that underpins Mazda's current models, suggesting the RX-9 will ride on an independent platform. The publication notes there's a double-wishbone front suspension, and a crossmember in the engine bay suggests the car will adopt a front-mid engine layout. There's also extensive use of carbon fiber reinforced plastic and aluminum to reduce weight. Of course, the patent doesn't confirm an RX-9 is on the cards, but it's the most compelling evidence we've seen yet.
What does Mazda have to say about the possibility of making an RX-8 successor? Last December, the automaker's CEO Akira Marumoto said it's difficult to make a business case to develop a new rotary engine as the current priority is to meet the demand for electrified powertrains instead. However, he also said that producing a new sports car powered by a rotary engine "is a dream of everyone at Mazda," so an RX-9 hasn't been ruled out entirely. We're still dreaming about it too.
Mazda design boss Ikuo Maeda is also keen to make this dream a reality. "When it is decided as a brand that we need a sports car, that's when we will produce the car. As you know, we already have the MX-5. If we need a more premium sports car, then we need to have a serious think about it," he told Autocar. A more recent report also claimed Mazda will unveil a new 355-horsepower, four-door coupe sports car within a few months. We're keeping our fingers crossed.