Is Mazda Building Up to an RX-7 Announcement?

The Japanese automaker seems awfully nostalgic lately...

Heritage Images of the Hulton Archive via Getty Images

Yes, yes, Betteridge's Law of Headlines and all that. Mazda's next generation rotary-powered sports car has been among the most infamous pieces of vaporware in the car world since the RX-8 was discontinued in 2012. Rumors of a new RX-7 have surfaced every few months since then, always shot down by Mazda, who say they are not planning a new rotary sports car. Nevertheless, patents filed by Mazda suggest that the company is still dedicated to getting the strange spinning Dorito-shaped engine back into one of their cars, and recent social media activity by the marque suggests something is still bubbling over at Mazda HQ.

Yesterday, Mazda's Facebook page posted a short video and statement in celebration of their long-retired RX-7, which went out of production in 2002 after a 24 year production run as part of three different generations, known to rotary addicts by their chassis codes of FB, FC, and FD. The video is but a silent, looping six second slideshow of flattering photos of each of the three generations of the RX-7, and is accompanied with a curiously ad-like statement.

With its rotary engine and responsive handling, Mazda’s iconic RX-7 is a legend among drivers.
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The link is for a page that sums up the driving experience of all three generations of the RX-7, from a publication called Zoom Zoom Magazine, which appears to be published by Mazda. A tab on the page links to another page that celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Mazda rotary, with Mazda having launched the rotary-powered Cosmo Sport in 1967. In theory, a 50th anniversary of the unique Wankel-engined Mazdas would be an ideal time to launch a new rotary powered car, and the last statement on the article leaves such an idea as a possibility.

In recent times, the rotary engine’s chief bugbear was its relatively poor fuel economy and higher level of emissions compared with the best modern gasoline or diesel engines, including Mazda’s own SKYACTIV powerplants. But when its potential benefits are so striking—light, compact, smooth, quiet, free-revving—surely there is still a future for the rotary engine? [...] Mazda merely stated at the time that the rotary remained a symbol of the company’s tirelessly challenging spirit, and that rotary engine research and development continues. But from the company that solved the infamous devil’s claw marks and put rotaries on the world automotive map, who would rule anything out?