It's been nearly a decade since Mazda made a rotary-powered car. The last one it rolled out was the RX-8 that ceased production in 2012. Since then, rumors of a successor have come and gone, but none have materialized. Mazda did say that they will bring the unusual engine back in 2019, albeit as a range extender for the 2022 MX-30 electric crossover.
Mazda is still pushing for rotary power in one way or another. This time around, a patent hints at something more exciting than a range extender in a small electric crossover. The latest filing by Mazda suggests that it is mulling a rear-wheel drive, rotary-powered car with hybrid technology.
It isn't the first time Mazda patented a rotary-hybrid system. A few years ago, the company filed for a vehicle with a combustion engine and an electric motor. It also stated that it can be paired with a rotary powerplant. However, the new patent explicitly shows a rotary engine at the front. Not only that, the vehicle will use a three-rotor arrangement. The last time Mazda did that was with the Cosmo coupe from the early '90s. Given its layout, it could be based on Mazda's new rear-wheel drive platform.
Gallery: Mazda Patents RWD, Rotary-Powered Car With Hybrid Tech
However, there is a caveat when it comes to patents. Just because a manufacturer filed for one, it doesn't mean it will push through with those ideas. That said, Mazda's patents show that it is not willing to give up on developing that engine. Also, another one filed around August 2021 showed what appeared to be the rear section of a coupe. Whether or not this is a hint of the production RX-Vision concept shown from 2015 is up for debate, but it adds more fuel to the rotary coupe rumor fire.