The introduction of the Mazda RX-Vision concept sports car design exercise heralds the return of rotary engine from the only manufacturer to bring that technology to the mass market successfully. Calling the engine "the soul of the Mazda brand," the company's executives say the next generation of rotary engines have been developed under the automaker's Skyactiv drivetrain program and as such will be called the Skyactiv-R.

The new powertrain is mounted in the RX-Vision, which is a front-engine rear-drive (FR) two-seat sports car with sweeping body forms employing Mazda's Kodo design language. The grille opening is similar to that found on all Mazdas from the MX-5 Miata up through the Mazda6. The car has short overhangs and a low and wide body that is made possible by the compact dimensions of the rotary engine.

Sports car dimensions

The concept's overall proportions feature the cab pushed all the way to the rear of the vehicle with a long dash-to-axle ratio (the distance between the front firewall and the centerline of the front axle.) The Mazda RX-Vision rides on a 106.3-inch wheelbase, measures 172.8 inches long, is 65.7 inches high and stands just 45.6 inches tall. Riding on 20-inch wheels, it's equipped with 245/40R20 tires up front and 285/35R20 rubber at the rear.

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Inside the cabin, the design is simple, clean and mirrors the exterior's flowing shapes. The intricate instruments give the interior a mechanical feel, and the use of leather trim with a saddle motif on the center console gives the RX-Vision the look of a handcrafted vehicle.

Rotary work continued after RX-8 demise

Even though Mazda stopped building the rotary-powered RX-8 2+2 sports coupe in 2012, work continued on the technology. While this vehicle is only a concept, it points to the fact that the automaker is continuing its efforts to keep this alternative to the traditional piston-powered engine viable. For now, though, the Mazda RX-Vision remains a concept only, and the automaker has not said whether or not it will bring a successor to the RX-8 to the market.

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