Infographic: Why the rotary engine is special to Mazda

They just keep coming back to it
by Dinzo Tabamo | Feb 1, 2016

Mazda rotary infographic

Those who know Mazda and its place in car culture will always associate it with the rotary engine. But why is this powerplant design so important to Mazda? How does it work, really? And if it’s so good, why haven’t other companies used it?

A new infographic commissioned by sheds light on these questions. Basically, it shows the rotary’s better power-to-weight ratio, smoother acceleration, and simplicity.

Over a standard four-stroke engine, Wankel rotary engines have these advantages:

* With no crankshaft, rods, valves or a camshaft, rotary mills are simpler and, inherently, more durable.

* With fewer moving parts, they produce three times more power than a similarly sized four-stroke engine.

* Acceleration is smoother with a very high redline. Rotaries are a good choice for racing.

Interest in this sort of powerplant should pick up, as Mazda teased the return of its legendary RX sports car during last year’s Tokyo Motor Show.

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"I don't have any insider info, and I'm not offering any predictions here, but I'd be shocked if Mazda brought back the RX without offering a rotary engine," says manager and director Frank Mitchell. "While the rotary's emissions aren't as clean as other engines, Mazda's Skyactiv technologies are impressive. It wouldn't surprise me at all if Mazda has found a way to make the rotary engine meet future emissions standards."

We concur with the belief that the rotary engine is part of Mazda’s past and future. We want to see how a modern version will perform, especially if it’s wrapped in the RX Vision’s body.

Mazda rotary infographic

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