LA Show: Rejoice! Mazda's Rotary engine isn't dead!
The Los Angeles Motor Show is in full swing and Mazda, like pretty much every other manufacturer under the sun, has been revealing its future to the press.
CEO and all-round nice guy Takashi Yamanouchi gave his keynote speech at the show and revealed the future of Mazda's incredible Wankel rotary engine.
You see, the engine, as well as the car it's attached to – the RX-8 – has been removed from circulation in Europe as it failed to meet stringent Euro V emissions regulations. Any hope of it meeting upcoming Euro VI regs are fruitless, so work has to be done to make a newer, cleaner Wankel.
During his speech, Yamanouchi commented: "I'm very attached to the rotary engine. So long as I am president then research and development in this area will continue."
In laymans' terms he said: "I WANT MORE ROTARY POWER!"
Fair play to the man, but he has to remember that the Wankel is an inefficient, polluting and (compared to modern 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engines) not all that impressive in the power stakes.
Mazda is committed to making its cars 100kg lighter within five years, which is commendable. However using it as an excuse to throw a new rotary engine in to the mix, like S Club 7 after Paul Cattermole departed, may simply be putting off the inevitable.
Perhaps it'll come back as a hybrid?
If Mazda can make a rotary engine with 300bhp+, that emits less than 150g/km CO2 and sips petrol, the firm will be on to a winner. Let's hope it can.