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Mazda RX-VISION Concept 2016 - Rotary engine

Mazda RX-VISION Concept 2016

Mazda RX-VISION Rotary Sports Car Concept -A Vision of the Future that Harbors the Soul of the Mazda Brand

Mazda’s is committed to delivering true driving pleasure with every model, earning their cars a prized position in the affections of their customers and enriching their motoring lives. This motivates the company to continually defy convention and push the boundaries, building cars that match its unique vision.

Mazda is the only carmaker in the world to successfully bring to market and mass-produce the rotary engine. It is a symbol of the company’s tirelessly challenging spirit and, as the soul of the Mazda brand, represents the unique and innovative technology that helped establish the brand and create a solid bond between Mazda and its customers. That is why, even though there are no rotary-powered cars in the current product line-up, rotary engine research and development continues today.

The Mazda RX-VISION rotary sports car concept introduces the next-generation SKYACTIV-R rotary engine and Mazda’s vision of the ultimate in front-engine, rear-wheel-drive sports car styling. Making its world premiere in Tokyo, the RX-VISION represents an ideal of the future that harbors the soul of the Mazda brand.

Mazda RX-VISION Concept 2016

One-of-a-kind Proportions Born of KODO Design and the Rotary Engine

The RX-VISION adopts the beautiful proportions of a front-engined, rear drive sports car such as could only be envisioned by the principles of Mazda's KODO design philosophy. The styling is modern but maintains a sense of lineage and authenticity, encapsulating Mazda’s entire history of sports car design.

A low and wide body, short overhangs, a taut cabin and a low overall height make the model immediately recognizable as a serious sports car. These elements combine with an incredibly low hood -made possible by the compact and lightweight next-generation SKYACTIV-R rotary engine- to create truly one-of-a-kind proportions.

The design aim was to shave away all but the essentials, giving birth to the dynamic tension and ambience of a machine that is all business. The fine craftsmanship of Mazda’s renowned clay modelers have created reflections that convey motion, thereby capturing the spirit of the KODO design language without relying on character lines or other such elements. This is an elegant and highly vital form that subtly changes its appearance with even the slightest change of viewing angle.

Weaving specific design motifs that reflect the history of Mazda sports cars into the styling of the RX-VISION reinforces the company’s unchanging passion for the sports car. A unique red body color features both energetic brightness and depth, highlighting the luster and contrast between light and shadow that encapsulates the RX-VISION design.

Mazda RX-VISION Concept 2016 - interior

For the interior, the design team pursued an ultimately simple yet powerful image, fusing the tactility of painstakingly handcrafted work with a sophisticated, machined-finish ambience. Intricate instrumentation gives the cockpit a true mechanical appeal which, in combination with the simple instrument panel and genuine leather trim incorporating a saddle motif on the center tunnel, creates an interior atmosphere that speaks of handcrafted warmth and quality, yet maintains a sense of tension.

Mazda RX-VISION Concept 2016

The Next-generation SKYACTIV-R Rotary Engine Aims Towards the Future

Committed to the creation of the ideal internal combustion engine, Mazda returned to the drawing board and built the SKYACTIV-G gasoline engine and SKYACTIV-D diesel engine from scratch.

Despite production of the RX-8 ceasing in 2012, Mazda's research and development programmes to further evolve the rotary engine have continued uninterrupted.

Reflecting the company’s ongoing resolve to apply the most advanced engineering and the same high aspirations that yielded SKYACTIV technology, this next-generation unit has been christened SKYACTIV-R. It represents Mazda's next significant step towards achieving a breakthrough in addressing three key rotary engine issues - fuel economy, emissions performance and reliability.

Mazda will never stop challenging to deliver new rotary engines that provide its unique brand of driving pleasure.

Mazda RX-VISION Major Specifications Seating capacity

2 persons

Overall length x width x height

4,389 mm x 1,925 mm x 1,160 mm


2,700 mm




Front engine, rear-wheel drive


Front: 245/40R20 / Rear: 285/35R20

Rim width

Front: 9.5J / Rear: 11J

Challenging the Impossible — The History of Rotary Engine Development

Rotary engine

Mazda's rotary engine development history began in 1961. Emerging from the confusion of the postwar period, Japan's automotive industry was starting to expand. There were clear signs that competition was intensifying amongst car makers, and the pace of the industry’s reorganization and capital tie-ups increased rapidly.

Within this environment, a late starter such as Mazda faced tough decisions as to how best to display its distinctive character if it were to maintain its independence. So, early discussions within the industry as to the potential of the rotary engine as dream technology for the future presented a golden opportunity.

Tsuneji Matsuda, then president of Toyo Kogyo (which became Mazda), paid a personal visit to the headquarters of NSU Motorenwerke AG in West Germany, developer of the Wankel engine, where he signed a technical cooperation contract.

Effectively gambling Mazda's corporate identity on one major engineering challenge, Matsuda-san's aim was to widely commercialise an unknown new technology, the mass-production of rotary-engined vehicles simultaneously establishing the company's global credentials as a unique, independent car maker boasting the very highest levels of technological prowess.

However, the reality of rotary engine development was to prove extremely demanding. The team of 47 engineers in Mazda’s rotary engine research department faced innumerable challenges of considerable complexity; not least of which was the elimination of the chatter marks -also known as 'the devil’s nail marks'- etched on the inside walls of the rotor housing as the result of friction caused by the rotor turning at high speed.

Refusing to compromise, the company's engineers doggedly resolved one technological challenge after another until, finally, on May 30th 1967, Mazda unveiled the Cosmo Sport - the world's first two-rotor rotary-engined production car and a new step forward in automotive history.

The following year, the Cosmo Sport competed in the 1968 Marathon De La Route-an 84-hour endurance race staged at Germany’s famed Nürburgring. Completing the 3.5 day non-stop race and taking fourth place overall, Mazda's unique machine proved that the rotary engine not only delivered excellent performance but was also highly durable.

The product of indomitable spirit, the Cosmo Sport reflected the unrelenting determination of Mazda's engineers to bounce back after each setback and overcome every obstacle. This same spirit lives on today as the company continues to tackle fresh challenges in the further evolution of the rotary engine.

Evolution of the Rotary Engine Opens Roads to a New Era

Following the launch of the Cosmo Sport in 1967, Mazda introduced a succession of rotary engine-powered cars, such as the Familia Rotary, Luce Rotary Coupe, RX-2 and RX-3.

However, various events during this same period -such as the U.S. Congress passing the Clean Air Act Extension (the so-called “Muskie Act”) in 1970 and the 1973 oil crisis- led to increasing demands for better environmental performance and fuel economy, presenting Mazda with an entirely new range of technological challenges.

Driven not only by the corporate responsibility born out of having successfully developed rotary engine technology for commercial automotive use, but also by a strong sense of loyalty to the company's burgeoning customer and fan base, Mazda's engineers once again rose to the challenge, significantly improving the engine's fuel economy and emissions performance.

Launched in 1978, the Savanna RX-7 sports car rapidly became a big hit. With its appealing design and the uniquely powerful feel of its rotary engine, the RX-7 proved a popular motorsport choice, earning high acclaim as a sports car that delivered speed, durability and excellent fuel economy.

The huge leap forward in fuel economy achieved under the Phoenix Project played no small part in the car's success, and, like the proverbial phoenix rising from the ashes, the RX-7 became symbolic of a come-back for the rotary engine.

Rotary engine development continued to pursue the evolution of both power and fuel economy thereafter, with the implementation of turbocharging, the addition of a third rotor, and other advances introduced as a result of feedback from motorsports activities.
Then, in 1991, the 700-horsepower, four-rotor rotary engine-powered Mazda 787B was the overall winner of the Le Mans 24hr race -a world first for a Japanese car manufacturer. The culmination of 18 years of rotary-engined competition and demanding the highest levels of performance, this outstanding victory in the world’s most grueling endurance race is the very epitome of Mazda's indomitable spirit.

In the late 1990s, with the company starting down a new path as a member of the Ford Group, the existence of the rotary engine was considered of immense symbolic importance to the restructured Mazda brand.

In 2003, the company brought the new-generation RENESIS engine to market; a technological evolution that raised the rotary engine’s winning combination of compact size, light weight and high performance to the next level. Mazda combined the dynamic performance of the RENESIS engine with authentic sports car styling to give birth to the RX-8 -a fully-fledged, four-door, four-seat, rotary-engined sports car.

History of Rotary Engine Development at Mazda



First Mazda rotary engine prototype completed

Mazda Cosmo 110S 1967 - 1972
Mazda Cosmo 110S 1967 - 1972



First rotary engine announced and Cosmo Sport launched (with 10A engine)



Familia Rotary Coupe launched


Cosmo Sport becomes the first rotary engine powered car to compete in the Marathon De La Route 84-hour endurance race and finishes in 4th place overall.



Luce Rotary Coupe launched (with 13A engine)

Mazda RX2 Capella Coupé - 1970 - 1978
Mazda RX2 Capella Coupé - 1970 - 1978



Capella Rotary (RX-2) launched (with 12A engine)



Savanna (RX-3) launched



The rotary engine passes American 1975 emissions regulations



Cosmo AP (RX-5) with “Anti-Pollution” rotary engine launched (13B engine)

Mazda RX7 First Generation - 1978 - 1981



Savanna RX-7 launched



Savanna RX-7 competes in IMSA series 24 Hours of Daytona race and wins with first and second place finish in the GTU class (fifth and sixth place overall)



Second-generation RX-7 launched (with turbocharged 13B engine)



RX-7 competes in IMSA San Antonio 45-minute race and wins with a first place finish in the GTO class (and first place overall), becoming the first model in history to earn 100 wins

Mazda RX7 Third Generation - 1991 - 2002
Mazda RX7 Third Generation - 1991 - 2002
Mazda 787B Wins 24 Hours Le Mans with Rotary engine



Mazda 787B competes in The 24 Hours of Le Mans race and wins overall

Mazda 787B Wins 24 Hours Le Mans with Rotary engine


Hydrogen-powered HR-X concept car exhibited at the Tokyo Motor Show


Third-generation RX-7 launched (with 255PS 13B-REW engine)



RX-8 launched (with RENESIS engine)

Mazda RX8 Rotary engine adapted to hydrogen - 2003 - 2012



Hydrogen-powered rotary engine released and leasing begun



Next-generation RENESIS engine (16X) exhibited at the Tokyo Motor Show



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