Mazda RX-Vision Revealed, Heralds New Rotary Sports Car - Tokyo Motor Show Photo:
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Mazda RX-Vision Concept Photo:
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Tony O'Kane | Oct, 28 2015 | 8 Comments

The much-loved Mazda RX-7 may finally have an heir, with Mazda throwing the spotlight on its sleek RX-Vision sports car concept at the Tokyo Motor Show today.

Its low-slung silhouette and organic body styling evoke the shape of the FD-generation RX-7 - the last model to wear that badge - while other design details like the quartet of round tail lamps are also a homage to that model.

Even the arched LED daytime running lamps mimic the covers of the FD RX-7's pop-up headlamps. It may look futuristic, but the RX-Vision is full of retro throwbacks to Mazda's most iconic rotary sports car.

However, it occupies a substantially larger footprint than its predecessor. At 4389mm long, 1925mm wide and 1160mm tall, the RX-Vision is longer, wider and lower than the last-gen RX-7 (above), though it shares its two-seat cabin layout.

What's also unclear is what similarites are under that elongated bonnet. The last RX-7 made use of a twin-turbo 1.3 litre two-rotor engine, but all we know about the RX-Vision's powerplant the fact that it is indeed a rotary, and it's called the SkyActiv-R.

We do have a few clues, however.

Back in 2012, an enlightening chat with Mazda's performance car chief Nobuhiro Yamamoto revealed plans to reintroduce a rotary-powered sports car in 2017, the 50th year since the introduction of Mazda's first production rotary-engined car, the Cosmo.

He was surprisingly candid, saying that car would likely be powered by a development of the 16X 1.6 litre rotary that was revealed as a prototype late last decade, with no turbocharger and an output in the region of 220kW.

No hybrid gubbins, no AWD; just a naturally-aspirated rotary and a kerb weight somewhere around 1250kg. It should be cleaner, more efficient and more reliable than rotaries of the past, too.

Mazda says the SkyActiv-R, "represents Mazda's next significant step towards achieving a breakthrough in addressing three key rotary engine issues - fuel economy, emissions performance and reliability".

Was he leading us down the garden path? We trust his word, but we'll find out for certain in 2017.

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