Mazda’s design boss has said there will be no new Mazda RX model without a rotary engine, putting an end to rumours of a revival of the motoring icon.

Mazda’s design boss Ikuo Maeda, who designed the RX-8 and whose father drew the RX-7, has told Automotive News (subscription required) that while he’s desperate to resurrect the RX brand there are a number of hurdles a new RX has to overcome.

Mazda RX models

“I will never give up, Maeda said, “Inside my head, I’m always going over shapes.”

But the problem lies in the name of the sports car; R stands for rotary and so Mazda’s current crop of Skyactiv engines just won’t do. “Skyactiv is a wonderful powertrain. So it is possible to create a sports car using that powertrain … but we would just do it in a different vehicle,” Maeda said.

And while Mazda’s engineers have had a next-generation rotary engine since 2007, it’s reportedly nowhere near able to meet today’s strict emissions rules.

More than that, demand is crucial to resurrecting the RX brand, according to Mazda which retired the RX-8 in 2012 due to falling sales around the world. Last year, Mazda’s CEO Masamichi Kogai said sales would need to reach 100,000 units to make a successful business case.


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