Mike Stevens | May 26, 2011

Reports and rumours of a new 'RX-9' sports coupe for Mazda refuse to die, swinging from Mazda's delayed 16X rotary engine to a potential hydrogen-powered drivetrain.

Now, new reports out of the US this week claim that the Japanese carmaker is looking to Toyota's hybrid technology to produce a powerful, low-emission flagship for its sports range.

According to AOL's MotorTrend, one insider at Mazda has confirmed that a plan exists - but that the company is short on resources.

"We have a guideline. We know what we have to do. But as we must give priority to the next-gen MX-5, we only have a small band of guys working on the RX-9," the unnamed source is quoted as saying.

The source added that Mazda's famed rotary engine technology has been dropped from the RX-9 project, with the team now looking at using Toyota's hybrid technology - the electric motor to be a power-boosting and range-extending addition.

Mazda has already confirmed plans to feature Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive system in its future models, but this report marks the first mention of a sports car coming out of the deal.

The RX-9 would likely replace the current RX-8, while also doing away with the unique rear-hinged 'suicide doors' and returning to a true coupe design - as per the iconic RX-7.

Styling for the RX-9 will likely draw from Mazda's pool of concept designs, and while earlier plans may have been based on the likes of the Furai concept, the company's more recent Shinari could offer a glimpse of what's (reportedly) ahead.

The report adds that the RX-9 would likely be on the smaller side, sharing its platform with the next MX-5 - expected to be smaller and lighter than the current model as Mazda looks to return the convertible to its roots.

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