Mazda ro­tary is back

Mazda shows next gen­er­a­tion spin­ning en­gine at Tokyo

The Witness - Wheels - - MOTORING - AL­WYN VILJOEN

WHILE the Lexus LF-FC flag­ship con­cept took cen­tre stage at this week’s Tokyo Mo­tor Show and Nis­san’s fu­tur­is­tic Leaf showed how forth­com­ing tech­nolo­gies will rev­o­lu­tionise the re­la­tion­ship be­tween car and driver, it was Mazda’s old ro­tary en­gine in the RX-Vi­sion that the petrol­heads sali­vat­ing.

Mazda said the ro­tary en­gine is a sym­bol of the com­pany’s “never stop chal­leng­ing” spirit and the RX-Vi­sion rep­re­sents a vi­sion of the fu­ture that Mazda hopes to one day make into re­al­ity; a front-en­gine, rear-wheel drive sports car with ex­quis­ite, Kodo de­sign-based pro­por­tions, all pow­ered by the next-gener- ation Skyac­tiv-R ro­tary en­gine.

Ro­tary en­gines fea­ture a unique con­struc­tion, gen­er­at­ing power through the ro­ta­tional mo­tion of a tri­an­gu­lar ro­tor.

Over­com­ing nu­mer­ous tech­ni­cal dif­fi­cul­ties, Mazda suc­ceeded in com­mer­cial­is­ing the ro­tary en­gine, fit­ting it in the Mazda 110S in 1967.

As the only au­tomaker to mass-pro­had duce the ro­tary en­gine, Mazda con­tin­ued ef­forts to im­prove power out­put, fuel econ­omy and dura­bil­ity, and in 1991 took over­all vic­tory at 24 Hours of Le Mans with a ro­tary en­gine-pow­ered race car.

Over the years, the ro­tary en­gine has come to sym­bol­ise Mazda’s cre­ativ­ity and tire­less en­deav­our in the face of dif­fi­cult chal­lenges. While mass pro­duc­tion is cur­rently on hold, Mazda has never stopped re­search and de­vel­op­ment ef­forts to­wards the ro­tary en­gine.

The next ro­tary en­gine has been named Skyac­tiv-R, ex­press­ing the com­pany’s de­ter­mi­na­tion to defy con­ven­tion with the lat­est tech­nol­ogy, just as it did when de­vel­op­ing Skayc­tiv tech­nol­ogy.

PHOTO: QUICKPIC

The ro­tary is back, and with it, Mazda at its best, in the RX-Vi­sion sports car con­cept.

PHOTO: SUP­PLIED

Nis­san’s fu­tur­is­tic Leaf front and rear.

PHOTO: SUP­PLIED

The LF-FC flag­ship is a hy­brid that shows where Lexus is aim­ing at.

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