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Old 04-18-2012, 09:22 AM   #1
AVANTI R5
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Default Mazda: No New V-6, CX-7 Won’t Be Replaced, and the Rotary Lives




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We recently sat down with Robert Davis, Mazda’s senior vice president of U.S. Operations. Subjects discussed included the proliferation of the automaker’s Skyactiv technology suite, the future of V-6 and rotary engines, future crossover strategy in the wake of the CX-7 leaving our market, and a little about the next MX-5 Miata. Here are the high points. Rotaries, Plural
When asked how Skyactiv squares with a revived rotary, Davis told us to expect many of the same core technologies to be applied: reduced internal friction, reduced rotating mass, and more-efficient transmissions. He mentioned that a new rotary is being explored for applications where it would drive the wheels as well as those for which it would drive an electric generator. The smoothness of a rotary and its low weight are advantages for this role, while its relative lack of torque wouldn’t be a problem. We are reassured that Mazda sees the rotary as part of the company’s soul.
CX-7: CX-ancelled Mazda recently announced that it will no longer sell the CX-7 crossover in the U.S. (The two-row utility will continue on in other markets, including Mexico.) It turns out that the new CX-5, the first new Mazda to be engineered under the Skyactiv banner, is not only more fuel-efficient than the CX-7, but more space-efficient as well. The CX-7 was somewhat of a tweener, sized between compact and mid-size crossovers. Davis tells us that the CX-5 was at one point considered to replace the CX-7, but overlap in production contracts wouldn’t allow it. That means, for the foreseeable future, Mazda will have a size-four gap between the CX-5 and CX-9.
No New V-6 Planned
Davis also told us that Mazda isn’t working on a V-6 for its Skyactiv portfolio. The 6 sedan and CX-9 currently offer six-cylinders (optional on the Mazda 6 and standard on the CX-9); the new, lighter 6 will make do with four-cylinders (we also expect a hybrid version of the next 6, while Davis says a new CX-9, which would be lighter as well, could get power and good fuel economy from a boosted four-cylinder. So for now, Mazda is concentrating on developing four-cylinders as well as the aforementioned rotary.
Skyactiv and the Miata
We pressed Davis for any information on the next Miata, but he wouldn’t give up much in the way of detail. He did say that the lightweight/efficiency approach of Skyactiv is basically the same as the development process for the third-gen MX-5, and that we should expect the same for the new car. It’ll be lighter, but Davis wouldn’t share the weight target; we certainly won’t say no to a lighter Miata. And it’s obvious, but the automaker’s latest design philosophy, Kodo, will influence the next Miata’s styling. When we asked whether or not Mazda would build anything like the Miata Spyder and Super20 concepts, Davis said, “We would love to. Pay attention: There are some special editions coming that I think your readers will like.”
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Old 04-18-2012, 05:01 PM   #2
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Hopefully they can give us some rotary goodness that actually drinks less fuel than a V8. I would love to get another rotary in the future if I can get 26+ mpg in mixed driving (not too much to ask for at this point).
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Old 04-18-2012, 05:28 PM   #3
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Agreed, i'd love a fun rotary that actually gets decent gas mileage. Don't necessarily want it as small as the BRZ but definitely light weight by todays standards. So i'd say current weight of the RX8 or maybe a little better. Some 3 rotor goodness would be really cool ^_^ Part of the reason why I am kinda turned away from the BRZ is, I've always liked the rotary motors and all the good things I hear about how they drive and how smooth the delivery is. And I don't see anything too special besides getting good output and mpg's out of the BRZ motor.
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Old 04-18-2012, 06:31 PM   #4
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Interesting. I wonder if a turbo 4 is on tap for the new 6?
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Old 04-18-2012, 06:42 PM   #5
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I'd love to see a roadster(Miata)-based rotary. Small frame, super light, NA rotary under the hood powering the rear. Don't load it down with needless luxury stuff, and keep it as cheap as they can while making a profit.
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Old 04-18-2012, 07:28 PM   #6
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I'm so sick of any news NOT pertaining to the next gen miata from mazda... How much longer must we wait?!
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Old 04-18-2012, 10:52 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DivineStrike View Post
...Part of the reason why I am kinda turned away from the BRZ is, I've always liked the rotary motors and all the good things I hear about how they drive and how smooth the delivery is. And I don't see anything too special besides getting good output and mpg's out of the BRZ motor.
How 'bout the boxer allowing BRZ's ridiculously low center of gravity? BRZ specifically utilizes the boxer's unique benefit, and would handle worse without it.
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Old 04-19-2012, 09:29 AM   #8
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A rotary mazdaspeed miata would be just a thing of beauty. Off it as an engine option if nothing else. Maybe only on the top tier miata performance model only.
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Old 04-19-2012, 10:39 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by keepclam View Post
How 'bout the boxer allowing BRZ's ridiculously low center of gravity? BRZ specifically utilizes the boxer's unique benefit, and would handle worse without it.
You mean in the same place it's been on a rotary powered Mazda for...40 years?
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Old 04-19-2012, 12:43 PM   #10
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Rotary is a less than ideal choice for a practical engine, but seems to make a great sporty and race engine.

It should be put in a racy car. RX8 was trying to edge to far toward practical, and most people drive practical cars like economy cars, which hurts rotary engines.

Put rotaries in sports and race cars.

Front-mid is good... Aft-mid is better.

A variable hybrid system, with minimal battery involvement, would be good.

Rotary with start-stop (and the programming NOT to stop the engine while still cold, to avoid flooding the next time, in addition to direct injection.), and a baseline RPM of 2000 or more RPMs... enough to run the oil injection pump properly, and power the electric generator.

At low speeds, a back-to-back pair of electric traction motors drive the rear tires, and possibly optional smaller auxiliary pair of motors that drive the front wheels. with smart linked speed controllers for torque vectoring side to side, and traction control without necessarily using the brakes. the small front pair would also act as regenerative braking generators.

At higher, steady road speeds, where electric motors start to really get less efficient with their high amperage draw, and the rotary is efficient at higher RPMs, the drivetrain would switch over, and drive the rear wheels directly, or at a slight overdrive ratio. A clutch and one gear ratio is much simpler than a regular transmission.

Somewhat similar to the way the Volt operates... but far less reliance on batteries, and far more use of the "range extender combustion engine", more like a near full time generator. The car would only drive solely on electric power for a short distance (to avoid needlessly starting and stopping the rotary while cold, which rotaries don't like.)

It would be more of a full-time series hybrid, more like a locomotive, near steady-state internal combustion engine that is generating electricity that is directly used to drive the traction motors, with an efficient direct mechanical drive mode at higher sustained speeds. (which Volt does at high speeds, the ICE gets clutch-engaged to the drive wheels, because it is more efficient than driving the electric motors at high speeds)
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Old 04-19-2012, 12:43 PM   #11
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I just wish they would produce the new rotary with some facts, getting tired of 3+ years of rumors. I'd buy another if they could fix all the issues.

It also seems like it's taking the next gen Miata forever to come out
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Old 04-19-2012, 01:27 PM   #12
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Ford largely divesting from Mazda has put Mazda in a tough spot, and introduced a lot of uncertainty for Mazda's future operations.

They haven't been sold off to another company with a pool of capital, the way Jaguar and Volvo were.
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Old 04-19-2012, 11:22 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Einzelherz View Post
You mean in the same place it's been on a rotary powered Mazda for...40 years?
I'm missing the point. I know a rotary is compact; are you saying a rotary offers a lower center of gravity than a boxer? Subaru's been using boxers for 46 years, what relevance is it that Mazda has been using rotaries for 40?

The poster I was responding too said he couldn't find anything special about the engine in the BRZ, while to me the boxer layout makes the engine pretty special, particularly in this model, which is specifically designed to maximize the unique boxer quality.

BRZ has a lower COG than Miata and RX-8.
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Old 04-20-2012, 08:25 AM   #14
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Surprising about the CX-7, CX-5 looks a bit small to be a true replacement and I see a LOT of CX-7s on the road.
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Old 04-20-2012, 09:51 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by keepclam View Post
I'm missing the point. I know a rotary is compact; are you saying a rotary offers a lower center of gravity than a boxer? Subaru's been using boxers for 46 years, what relevance is it that Mazda has been using rotaries for 40?

The poster I was responding too said he couldn't find anything special about the engine in the BRZ, while to me the boxer layout makes the engine pretty special, particularly in this model, which is specifically designed to maximize the unique boxer quality.

BRZ has a lower COG than Miata and RX-8.
Well.. a Subaru boxer engine is significantly heavier than a Mazda rotary, so, no doubt, placing it the same position in similar cars would give the Subaru engine'd car a lower CoG.. in the same way that adding 3000lbs of lead weights to the floor of a minivan would give it a lower CoG than a Ferrari.
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Old 04-20-2012, 01:26 PM   #16
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^Doesn't BRZ also have a better power-to-weight ratio than RX-8 (& Miata)?

I get all the points about the rotary, and I think they're cool, but I don't get the argument that the boxer in the BRZ is not special.

Rotary is also special, and one of the unique selling points of the few vehicles that have them, particularly when used to take advantage of rotary's size & weight.

*shrug* I'm glad we don't live in a world of exclusively V engines.
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Old 04-20-2012, 01:31 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by WRXHillClimb View Post
I'm so sick of any news NOT pertaining to the next gen miata from mazda... How much longer must we wait?!
this.
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Old 04-20-2012, 03:21 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Calamity Jesus View Post
Well.. a Subaru boxer engine is significantly heavier than a Mazda rotary, so, no doubt, placing it the same position in similar cars would give the Subaru engine'd car a lower CoG.. in the same way that adding 3000lbs of lead weights to the floor of a minivan would give it a lower CoG than a Ferrari.

I wouldn't bet on that.

An all aluminum H4 engine, especially without a bunch of turbo accoutrements, is probably not much heavier, if at all, than an iron-plate 13B or Renesis.

An all-aluminum 16X is probably somewhat lighter... but who knows how thick it will have to be to maintain thermal integrity.

The rotary is probably about as large as the central crank-case of a Boxer, without the width of the cylinder banks. It is quite compact, and pretty short with only two rotors.

but a rotary engine also tends to have a semi-dry-sump oiling system, IIRC, which shortens the height of the eccentric shaft output. Something Boxers and Rotaries share... the center of the crank-shaft or eccentric shaft is high, in the middle of the engine, not closer to the bottom of an inline or V engine.

BRZ having lowered the engine block by not having to deal with the transaxle geometry, is probably approaching a similar geographic placement as a rotary engine.

However, Mazda seems to be more purposeful about pushing the front axle forward on the car, further in front of the engine's component CG than Subaru seems to have done with the boxer in the BRZ. FD-RX7 really showed that off.


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Old 04-20-2012, 04:53 PM   #19
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I would say the front over hang is actually almost shorter or the same..



The RX7 had a very flat front, the BRZ is far more rounded. You cannot measure front over hang just with a side 2D shot.



What you are calling large front overhang, I do not see it as such at all. Perceived front overhang is usually considered how much side of the car is in front of the wheel...You can see, not much on the side is in front. Now the nose sticks out a bit, but not usually considered overhang.
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Old 04-20-2012, 09:43 PM   #20
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The fact that you two are using 10 and 20 year old rotary sports cars as benchmarks for the BRZ is really a testament to mazda's chassis design
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Old 04-22-2012, 12:38 AM   #21
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The fact that you two are using 10 and 20 year old rotary sports cars as benchmarks for the BRZ is really a testament to mazda's chassis design
Or a detraction to subaru's
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Old 04-23-2012, 11:38 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by arghx7 View Post
The fact that you two are using 10 and 20 year old rotary sports cars as benchmarks for the BRZ is really a testament to mazda's chassis design
The FD is an all time great car, anythign since by Mazda (or anyone else).... not so much.

I would buy one today if I could find one not beat up for a decent price. Likely you could find one for less than a BRZ and it would be better.
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Old 04-23-2012, 12:49 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SCRAPPYDO View Post
A rotary mazdaspeed miata would be just a thing of beauty. Off it as an engine option if nothing else. Maybe only on the top tier miata performance model only.
Would be a game-changer in the segment - especially with a dual-clutch box to keep the turbo(s) on boil
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Old 04-23-2012, 01:17 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Einzelherz View Post
You mean in the same place it's been on a rotary powered Mazda for...40 years?
Porsche has been using it for longer.

Porsche > Mazda
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Old 04-23-2012, 06:44 PM   #25
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Beveling the front end is a visual trick, the front overhang is still measured from the front leading point of the car usually at the car's longitudinal center line, to the point where the perpendicular front axle line crosses it.

The RX7 also appears to have more front fender space between the front wheel well to the front door edge seam, as well as not having to bevel the front end's corners.

And the hood on the RX7 is much closer to the tops of the lower diameter tires.

Vehicles have bulked up as of late.

And it continues to push me more and more into the classic car camp, as some of these 80s and 90s cars cross the ~25 year unofficial threshold into classic status.
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