Mike Stevens | Nov 5, 2010

Reports of an RX-9 sports car joining Mazda's future line-up have been circulating for years, and the question of what would power the top-shelf Mazda has been as much in debate as the existence of the car itself.

In 2008, when Mazda was busy testing its hydrogen-powered RX-8 project, rumours predictably swung to the idea of a hydrogen-powered RX-9, leading a range of hydro-hybrids.

This week, a new report by British magazine Autocar claims that Mazda plans to showcase its upcoming 16X rotary engine in an all-new sports car dubbed, of course, the RX-9.

Unlike the current RX-8, the RX-9 would reportedly see Mazda's RX badge return to its traditional dedicated sports car purpose, inspired more by the legendary RX-7 than the RX-8 four-door coupe.

To keep costs in check, the new RX car would likely share its platform and major components with the next-generation MX-5. With the new MX-5 expected to weigh around 1000kg, the new RX-9 would likely weigh no more than 1250-1300kg.

As for styling, a new Mazda sports car could potentially draw inspiration from the recently-revealed Shinari concept.

Speaking with Autocar in the lead-up to last year's Tokyo Motor Show, Mazda design boss Ikuo Maeda said the carmaker is eager to return to the high-powered sportscar segment and that he has already begun designing a new RX-7.

"We really want to have an RX-7 and if the market allows us to build it we will have it ready," Mr Maeda said.

Whatever name Mazda gives the new model, it seems fans of the iconic sports car will soon have reason to cheer again.

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