Mazda considers use of turbo for rotary engine revival

Mazda considers use of turbo for rotary engine revival image

Text: Aurick Go / Photos: Mazda | posted February 09, 2016 10:28

A turbocharger may find itself neighbors with a pair of triangles in the next RX vehicle

Since the exciting unveiling of the RX-Vision at last year’s Tokyo Motor Show, Mazda has yet to divulge any details on its rotary powerplant. Other than announcing the development of a certain ‘Skyactiv-R’, no details have surfaced on the specifics of the motor powering the future RX model.

Now however, it seems they have dropped hints on what we could potentially find alongside the spinning triangles. Recently Tetsushi Marutani, the drivetrain and powertrain assistant manager for the project, shared his insights on the engine’s characteristics.

He believes that the rotary engine’s inherent lack of low-end torque necessitates the use of a turbocharger to augment its torque in the lower rev range. The use of a turbocharger, while mostly beneficial, also has its drawbacks. Turbocharging a rotary engine will generate more heat, thereby requiring more cooling to work properly. To do this effectively, developers will have to find ways to make the turbo rotary setup viable for the average user. While at this point nothing is certain, perhaps it is a sign that the team behind the next RX model is considering the implementation of forced induction.

Successful use of turbocharging on rotary engines can be seen on the 2nd (FC3S, 1985-1990) and 3rd (FD3S, 1991-2002) generations of the Mazda RX-7. The FC3S utilized a single twin-scroll turbine while the FD3S made use of a rather complicated twin turbo setup.