Mazda has dropped a subtle hint about the launch date of its highly anticipated new RX model.

Last month’s Tokyo Motor Show was the venue where Mazda unveiled the RX-VISION concept powered by a newly developed rotary engine, but they didn’t provide any details about the powertrain. Now, a company executive says the secret will be out in 2017 when Mazda will celebrate the 50th anniversary of its rotary engine. This can only mean a new production-ready RX model will be out then and is going to get “SKYACTIV-R” technology which clearly refers to a rotary engine.

Motoring is citing sources within Mazda that have declared testing is underway for a “16X” hybrid turbo rotary engine featuring a dual-800cc rotor setup with an output estimated to surpass 455 PS (335 kW). The rear wheels will be driven through a rear transaxle and the yet to be confirmed dual-clutch gearbox will be incorporated into the rear axle to optimize weight distribution.

There’s also some juicy gossip about a two-stage turbo system equipped with an “electric turbo assist” system that kicks in at low rpm while at higher engine speeds the standard exhaust-driven turbo takes care of boost.

Now that the new Miata is out and about, it is believed Mazda has shifted focus towards the new RX model development, so they plan to have it ready for a 2017 launch and it will likely be called "RX-9." The production car will allegedly be up to 200 mm shorter than the RX-VISION concept and is expected to tip the scales at less than 1,400 kg (3,086 lbs) thanks to an aluminum-intensive construction with plenty of carbon fiber.


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