Mazda is bringing the rotary back, not in a screaming banshee of a rear-wheel drive coupe but as a range extender for electric vehicles.
“As part of multi-electrification technologies, the rotary engine will be employed in Mazda’s small-segment products and be introduced into the market in the first half of 2022,” Mazda CEO Akira Marumoto said at the launch of the MX-30 in Japan this week.
The remarks were made to Automotive News, and the Hiroshima-based automaker has confirmed the MX-30’s third variant will feature an electric motor driving the wheels, while an on-board rotary engine is capable of recharging the batteries when required.
Since the discontinuation of the RX-8 in 2012, the company has continued working on rotaries and hinted the engine type will make a return, albeit not in the form which would excite enthusiasts the most.
In Japan, the MX-30 will initially be availably only with a 24V mild hybrid drivetrain.
This setup has a 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine with 115kW of power and 199Nm of torque, a six-speed automatic, and a starter-generator capable of adding 5kW and 49Nm to the mix.
It’s unclear if the mild-hybrid system will be made available in MX-30s sold in export markets.
In contrast, the MX-30 is offered in Europe solely as an electric vehicle. It’s fitted with an electric motor, rated at 107kW of power and 270Nm of torque, driving the front wheels.
Hooked up to a 35.5kWh battery, the MX-30 is said to have a driving range of 200km using the WLTP standard.
The MX-30 has yet to be confirmed for Australia. In August, a Mazda Australia spokesperson told CarExpert “a decision will be made before the end of 2020”.