Mazda is Quietly Brewing Up a New Halo Car

By Sevan Shahijanian | August 23rd, 2021
Side profile view of RX-VISION Concept Car

C’mon, spill the beans!

If you’re even remotely a fan of Mazda’s RX line, then you’re very familiar with the rumor mill that has surrounded it for over a decade. The RX8, Mazda’s last sports car to use the fabled rotary engine, went out of production in 2012 – leaving fans of the spinning Dorito power plant lusting for more. So what’s the fuss about all this rotary nonsense?

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Rotary engine disassembled showing the rotors and oval housing

Also known as the Wankel engine (named after its creator, Felix Wankel), the unconventional engine design uses spinning triangular rotors contained in oval housings in place of pistons. There are a number of hotly debated advantages and disadvantages to using a rotary engine over a traditional reciprocating engine, paramount of which are reliability and emissions, but the brappy power plant has garnered a cult-like following, nonetheless. Enthusiasm for rotary-powered cars peaked with Mazda’s FC and FD series RX7’s, and it seems Mazda has been dancing around bringing back the icons ever since lukewarm reception of the RX8.

With tightening emissions standards and the overall push towards electrification, it’s unlikely that a rotary engine will return as a solo act; but recent news does hint at a rotary-electric duet of sorts. 

New diagram patents

When it comes to automotive rumors and speculation, us enthusiasts eat them up like high school girls keep up with the Kardashians. New patent images, discovered by Japanese Hatena Blog, lay out diagrams for a new two-door sports car utilizing an aluminum space frame design. The images look very similar to Mazda’s RX-Vision concept car shown off in 2015 and lend to the rumors that Mazda is preparing a new performance halo car. Fingers crossed. 

Mazda electric rotary trademark image

New logo trademarks

Hatena Blog also reported that Mazda has applied for eight new trademarks, four of which are “e-SKYACTIVE R-Energy,” “e-SKYACTIVE R-EV,” “e-SKYACTIVE R-HEV,” and a new electric rotary logo. The logo features the shape of a rotor with an integrated “e,” presumably for “electric” (our second guess was “education,” but we doubt Mazda is getting into the business of educating piston-heads why the rotary is an awesome engine… but I digress).

Although many are stating that this logo is absolute proof that a performance rotary hybrid is on the horizon, I personally don’t think the logo is sporty enough for the RX brand. It’s most likely a badge for cars like the MX-30 EV, which will use a rotary engine as a range-extender. The “R” logo, however, may hold some weight for being Mazda’s new sport line (think Type R for Honda/Acura or M-Performance for BMW) and possibly a revival of the Spirit R trim. Mazda’s R designation has traditionally stood for rotary, and what better way to launch a new performance trim than a fresh halo car?  

Mazda RX-VISION Front Quarter View

With no official news out of Mazda’s tight-lipped PR team, the rumor mill continues to churn. Regardless of whether rotaries play a role in Mazda’s future or not, it’s apparent that they have something sweet in the works for us enthusiasts. The automaker is no stranger to building visceral driver’s cars for the masses, so I have no doubt they’ll be able to pull it off – even if it is a hybrid.