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Mazda Showed Off The Rotary Engine That Will Power The Iconic SP And No One Is Talking About It

Key Takeaways

  • Mazda, Toyota, and Subaru will collaborate on developing new emissions-free combustion engines with their own respective twists.
  • Mazda will use electrified rotary engines, while Toyota and Subaru will develop four-cylinder and horizontally-opposed engines, respectively.
  • The Hiroshima-based brand previewed single-rotor and twin-rotor engine designs.
  • Twin-rotor engine offers more power and appears to be designed for high performance.

Earlier this week, Toyota, Mazda, and Subaru announced that they will collaborate to develop eco-friendly combustion engines that can run on synthetic fuel, hydrogen, and other sustainable fuels. All three companies will take a different approach to emissions-free powertrains, with Mazda looking to its past for help with the future.

While Toyota will invest in an inline-four motor and Subaru will develop a horizontally opposed ‘boxer’ engine, Mazda will use a “small and lightweight yet powerful” rotary engine. The automaker recently reintroduced the rotary as a range-extender in the MX-30, but it appears the automaker will further develop these emissions-free engines for future performance cars.

2024 Mazda MX-5 Miata




2.0L Inline-4 Gas


181 hp

Fuel Economy

26/34 MPG

Rotary Engine Will Be Paired With Electrification

At the presentation, Mazda displayed two rotary engines: a 2-Rotor Rotary-EV and a 1-Rotor Rotary-EV system. The Hiroshima-based brand will combine electrification with the rotary setup, allowing for a more compact design. This will give designers more freedom, as the engine will take up far less space than before. We can expect lower hood lines, which could improve aerodynamic performance.

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Japan-based Motor Fan Car reports that Mazda will use electrification to warm the engine and catalytic converter when it is still cold. Electrical pre-heating reduces emissions and prolongs engine life. The rotary engine will be well-suited to running on carbon-neutral fuels. The single-rotor engine will send its power directly to the wheels and will likely power mainstream crossovers and SUVs, for example. It could likely also work as a range extender.

2-Rotor Engine For A Sports Car?

Positioned between two tires, it’s clear to see how low Mazda intends to position the twin-rotor engine in future vehicles. This will contribute to a lower center of gravity and reduced weight, resulting in sharper handling and crisper turn-in. The publication reports that the dual-rotor engine will use a dry sump lubrication system to position it as low as possible. This is often used in high-end sports and racing cars, so it wouldn’t make sense to use this as a basic range extender. The increased power of a two-rotor also seems unlikely for something only meant to recharge batteries. Rotary engines are very power-dense, so Mazda wouldn’t have to use unnecessary batteries, which add weight and dull the driving sensation.


Mazda’s Rotary Engine R&D Department Is Officially Alive Again

The ‘RE Development Group’ has been reinstated within Mazda’s Powertrain Technology Development Department.

Therefore, it’s safe to assume that Mazda is developing this twin-rotor engine for a range-topping sports car. This could be the ideal powertrain for the Iconic SP concept, which was previewed last year. At the time, Mazda said the rotary engine, paired with electric motors, produces 365 horsepower. Despite adding the supplementary motors, the Iconic SP weighs just 240 lbs more than the RX-7, which makes sense, seeing as Mazda plans to make the rotary motor so light. It’s worth noting that the automaker has achieved the optimal 50:50 weight distribution. All that remains is for Mazda to officially confirm what its fans have long expected: a true RX-7 successor, and the signs look good…

“This concept unit is equipped with two longitudinally mounted rotary engines for power generation, enabling a larger power supply and realizing low center of gravity proportions. The unit also aims to improve vibration and emissions by increasing the displacement. It is also being considered for use in sports cars.”

Source: Motor Fan Car

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