Topic of discussion for this post: the Mazda RX sports coupe, arguably the brand’s only formidable halo flagship sports car. And ever since the last RX coupe was axed, the RX-8, due to obsolescence, word of a successor has been up in the air, with some fearing that Mazda was going end its rotary sports car for good.
But over time, rumors have cycled into the rumormill, suggesting that Mazda still indeed has a RX successor in the works. For those who need a memory refresher, the last RX-8 was axed because the original Renesis rotary engine was incapable of meeting Europe’s latest emissions and fuel economy standards. Not to mention, the engine was known to be high maintenance.
Over the last couple years, those rumors often pointed to an all-new rotary engine, nicknamed the 16X. And recently, in lieu of the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, AutoBlog recently spoke to a Mazda USA insider and confirmed that the first application of the new 16X engine will happen in two years time. But details were not disclosed.
The “insider” was however able to share some details about the 16X’s goals, which are to reduce fuel consumption while increasing performance, and to curtail one of the most common complaints with the last rotary: excessive oil consumption.
This will apparently be resolved with a higher torque figure thanks to a longer stroke engine. For those doubting the existence of a “stroke” when determining the displacement of an internal combustion engine (maybe you’re one of those unfortunate souls who’ve been told that rotary engines have timing belts/chains, and yes, this has happened to me), hearing “rotary engine” and “stroke” in the same sentence is not at all an incorrect description, as all rotary engines employ a four-stroke combustion cycle much like a traditional ICE with pistons and rods. The four strokes are: intake, compression, combustion, exhaust, and start all over again, much like traditional piston engines. And a stroke in mechanical terms, just translates into a reciprocating motion with two main motions to equal two strokes: there and back.
Rotary engines accomplish a stroke in the same way a piston does, but in a completely different manner, and the size of the stroke is determined by the amount of distance the rotary has to travel between the beginning of the first stroke (the bottom dead center or BDC) and the end of the first stroke (the top dead center, or TDC). And the distance of each succeeding stroke remaining in the cycle is the same, otherwise you’d have a completely unbalanced engine that would just fall apart.
And to keep from boring you any more with tech jargon, this just simply translates into the new rotary receiving an enlarged design to increase engine displacement, which is partially determined by the length of a stroke in the engine and may provide the answer to all of the complaints about the previous Renesis engine.
Either way, the Mazda RX is not dead and hasn’t been. And nor is the rotary, so obviously, this has us really excited to see what’s next.
– By: Chris Chin