Is Mazda Testing A Rotary Hybrid With These Rx - 8 Mules Or A New Rx - 7?

Is Mazda Testing A Rotary Hybrid With These RX-8 Mules Or A New RX-7?

As much as we'd love to see Mazda build a new rotary sports car, it's very unlikely that such a car will come to fruition anytime soon. Nonetheless, the automaker was recently spotted testing a pair of RX-8 prototypes at the Nurburgring, sparking our curiosity.

One of the prototypes in question is painted blue while the other is finished in black. The duo produce very different exhaust notes, while the blue one also features a piece of black and white camouflage across its front fascia which is odd to say the least. Just what is Mazda working on?

Also Read: Is This The Mazda RX-9 Mule We’ve Been Waiting For?

In late 2017, a mysterious Mazda RX-8 mule appeared on the streets near the Nurburgring. That vehicle was apparently being benchmarked against a Porsche Cayman and, at the time, we speculated that the prototype may have been outfitted with a new rotary engine with upwards of 450 HP. Fast forward to mid-2019, and these two RX-8s have appeared out of nowhere.

At last year’s Paris Auto Show, Mazda said it would launch an electric vehicle with a rotary engine acting as a range-extender. Limited details about this vehicle are known, but we suspect Mazda might be testing this rotary, perhaps unaccompanied by electric motors, in these RX-8s in a bid to throw off spy photographers.

On the other hand, last month we came across some patents showing a new, turbocharged rotary engine design. While there’s no word if it is indeed intended to power a modern-day RX-7 (or is it RX-9?), Mazda research and development chief Kiyoshi Fujiwara did indicate a couple of years ago that such a model could indeed become a reality sometime in the future.

"We have still been developing rotary engines as a sports car. Technology is going well but if we launch this kind of model later, we will have to add more technology to it, like autonomous driving, electrification…"