Goodbye 4-door RX-8, hello “new RX-7” or to be specific, the RX-9. Mazda’s new 2-door flagship sports car has a few tricks up it’s sleeve and development is well underway…
Mazda enthusiasts will be glad to know that the gasoline powered rotary engine is here to stay and the long awaited return of the RX-7 will happen but under a new name. Holiday Auto (HA) claim the new sports car to grace Mazda’s line up will be called “RX-9” and it’s likely to debut after the restyled Roadster, sometime in the first half of 2012! What about the RX-8? It (and the new RX-7) will continue on as a single new 2-door only model, the RX-9. The RX-9 is slated to introduce a world-first clutch technology and is expected to be only slightly heavier than the current Roadster.
A camouflaged Roadster-bodied prototype has been spotted on the test track and two experimental models of the 16X rotary engine are being tested at the moment. The 16X rotary engine is of particular interest, it’s said to produce around 270ps and be 20% more economical on fuel thanks to direct injection and rapid combustion technology. Capacity is increased over the 13B coming in at 800cc x2 and will remain naturally aspirated. HA are quick to add that the 16X will certainly change the perception of the rotary engine as a gas guzzler to one that can produce high power and be light on fuel. Power will be transmitted through a world-first manually adjustable twin-clutch SMG. A dial on the center console will allow the driver to select various modes and while in “Auto” it will engage with precisely the right amount of pressure according to normal driving RPMs. If the RPM exceeds the amount designated for that particular mode, the clutch will automatically increase pressure to compensate. In “Sports” mode greater pressure is applied in the same way but without the reduced driveability that comes with a heavier clutch.
The RX-9’s chassis is said to be a totally new design and will focus on maximum weight saving which will also dictate the use of resin and aluminum panels for the body. Weight is expected to be around 1200kg and only slightly heavier than the current model Roadster. HA say that according to their source, out of all the designs for the new RX-9 that have appeared in various magazines the one pictured above is closest to what the RX-9 should look like.
Words: Justin Karow
Image: Holiday Auto/Stehrenberger Design/Kimura Office