The RX-Vision has classic long hood, short cockpit proportions.
Chris Paukert/CNET

With the introduction of the Mazda RX-Vision concept at the Tokyo Motor Show on Wednesday, Mazda has rekindled a key part of its sports car spirit. There’s been a gaping hole in its lineup ever since the RX-8 left the market in 2012 — not just in terms of product, but also philosophically. That’s because the Japanese automaker’s identity has been inextricably intertwined with the rotary, a type of engine of which it has been the sole practitioner of for years.
The RX-Vision concept is a front-engined, rear-drive sports car powered by a next-generation Skyactiv-R powerplant. It has classic long-hood, short rear-deck proportions, which is interesting because the chassis looks like it was designed to accommodate a massive engine, but rotaries are known for their compact dimensions.
At the moment, Mazda doesn’t produce a rotary-powered product, primarily because these engines have been known to be inherently difficult to meet emissions regulations because of their design. But “while mass production is currently on hold, Mazda has never stopped research and development efforts towards the rotary engine,” the company said in a statement. The notion of a next-generation rotary engine has been fodder for auto enthusiast Internet forums for years, and the RX-Vision is the first tangible proof that the company remains committed to the technology.

Mazda’s 2015 RX-Vision concept looks menacing even in low light.
Chris Paukert/CNET
Mazda recently put its fourth-generation MX-5 Miata roadster into production, and the car has been warmly received by critics. It’s not clear if a company the size of Mazda can afford to bring another sports car to market, and it’s not saying anything about the likelihood of the RX-Vision reaching production, but a rapturous reception on the auto show circuit would certainly seem to improve its chances.

Mazda RX-Vision Concept brings rotary power…

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