Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Rotary Revisited in Mazda RX-Vision Concept

Photo Credit: Mazda North American Operations



The Tokyo Motor Show is one of the longest running Asian auto shows, the Japanese exhibition has gained a reputation for showing the world many possible futures for the automobile. Hosted as a biennial event, Japan’s native auto companies is tasked with assembling some bold ideas in concept car forms featuring far-out styling and radical new technologies.

Back in 1964, Mazda showed the Cosmo sports car displaying a different engine concept. For the 2015 edition of the Tokyo Motor Show is guaranteed already to be living up to the aspirations days ahead of the doors opening to the public. Among a vast line-up of concept cars premiering in Tokyo is Mazda’s revival of their rotary engine technology.


Photo Credit: Mazda North American Operations



A front-engined, rear-wheel drive sports car, the Mazda RX-Vision Concept is explored as a continuation to the spirit of the Cosmo as well as the RX-7 high-performance car. Shaped through the influence of Mazda’s KODO design philosophy, the RX-Vision wears a familiar production-like grille at the end of a long hood. The hood positioning creates an exceptionally exotic appearance for the Mazda combined with a sharply raked windshield. At the rear of the concept car, taillights have more than a passing resemblance to the last generation RX-7.

Mazda reminds the world with the RX-Vision Concept their rotary engine development is still ongoing. Often referred to as a Wankel engine, Mazda’s Rotary engine uses a three-sided rotor instead of pistons. Known for boasting a strong power-to-weight ratio and needing fewer parts to operate, Mazda had been the forerunner in bringing the Wankel rotary engine to a widely-publicized manner. In the past, this type of engine configuration has been looked at by General Motors and Mercedes-Benz. There was even plans to equip Wankel rotary engines with the Jeep brand when it was owned by the American Motors Corporation in the 1970s. Mazda is one of few companies that have been able to make rotary powerplants a production reality. Advantages of the rotary engine has also contended with some serious negative points with fuel economy and emissions being a problem. The issue of controlling emissions was still a problem when Mazda sold the RX-8 leading the sports car’s demise.


Photo Credit: Mazda North American Operations



With the Mazda RX-Vision Concept, the new rotary engine is identified as a SkyActiv-R. While there is no details provided on the possible rotary engine of the future but does say it addresses all the disadvantages of the previous generation model of the powerplant.

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