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Rotary engine will be missed...for the next few years

By SYF77 on 27 Oct 2010

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With the RX-8 sports car expected to be discontinued after the current model year, Mazda, the last bastion of the Wankel rotary engine, will be without a car in its lineup featuring the free-spinning engine. This is because Mazda is yet to engineer a rotary engine to meet its own internal fuel economy and emissions standards.

Marvelously simple and compact yet viciously inefficient, variants of the spinning triangle have been used in Mazda's cars for over 40 years. However, Itís a well-known fact that the 13B twin-rotor engine in the current RX-8 is a gas-guzzler, rivaling some V-8s for thirst.According to Mitsuo Hitomi, Mazdaís powertrain chief, development of a new rotary engine, dubbed the 16X due of its 1.6-liters of displacement, is ongoing but still years away from production.

Hitomi revealed that the new 16X engine is around 30 percent more fuel efficient than the 13B engine found in the RX-8, and about on par with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder in terms of fuel economy and emissions. But sadly, this level of performance is at least one model year behind schedule so it may take another two years for Mazda to further improve the design and announce production, Hitomi conceded.

The good news is that for Mazda at least, dropping the rotary engine is not an option. But getting more out of the rotary design while decreasing emissions and fuel use is certainly a hefty challenge, especially when cost and reliability issues need to be considered as well.

mazda, rx-8, rotary engine, 16x and 3 more...

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SYF77
Written by SYF77
I have been a car fanatic since 1989, when my father was changing our family car then to a Toyota Corolla 1.6 GL fitted with a Twin Cam 16 valve engine that was carburetor-fed, a big deal back in those days. The automobile technology and industry fascinates me and I hope to broadcast these interesting developments to everyone out there through this blog.



 
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