Mazda has confirmed it is still developing its rotary engine, which has become a trademark of the Japanese carmaker.
Last used in the Mazda RX-8, the Wankel engine was removed from the automaker’s lineup because of its low efficiency.
The RX-8’s engine wasn’t able to pass stricter emissions regulations and was criticized for its high-fuel consumption for its output. However, the rotary engine may still have a chance, as Mazda has recently developed a series of technologies under the SkyActiv name that focus heavily on improving the efficiency of combustion in an engine.
Results from the project could be applied to the rotary engine to improve its fuel-efficiency and output. Mazda also believes that by using more advanced ingnition systems it could obtain significant gains, further boosting performance while reducing consumption and emissions.
According to a Mazda engineer quoted by Autocar, the new rotary engine may be produced within five years, although nothing is confirmed yet. If it will be made, the new engine will initially be offered in naturally aspirated form, with turbocharged versions to follow if they prove reliable in testing.
Mazda CEO Takashi Yamanouchi has pledged that research into future rotary engines will continue as long as he is office.