The two-door, two-seat coupé is described as being “Mazda’s vision for the ultimate in front-engine, rear-wheel drive sports car styling,” and is said to represent “a vision for the future that harbours the soul of the Mazda brand.”
The model measures 4389mm long by 1925mm wide, with a height of 1160mm and a wheelbase of 2700mm. Those dimensions make it marginally longer and wider than Jaguar’s F-type coupé sports car, and significantly lower.
Key to the concept is its next-generation rotary engine. Dubbed SkyActiv-R, Mazda says it has been able to solve three key issues with previous rotary engines – fuel economy, emissions and reliability. Exact power outputs and specifications have not yet been revealed.
On the continued development of rotary engine technology, the company said that it will “never stop challenging to deliver new rotary engines that provide its unique brand of driving pleasure.”
Speaking to Autocar on the eve of the Tokyo show, Mazda’s head of research and development Kiyoshi Fujiwara said: “People think rotary can not meet modern Eco demands. The SkyActiv engineers worked on rotary and have made it cutting edge tech. It is an essential part of our DNA and it just be passed onto future engineers. It is synonymous with the brand. Some time in the future it will return and be called SkyActiv-R."
It was revealed earlier this year that Mazda had continued working on rotary engine technology after the axing of the RX-8 in 2012, with Mazda boss Masamichi Kogai saying: "Initial targets for rotary were set higher than gasoline. I said before it would be difficult for mass production, and this encouraged our engineers to work harder to achieve these targets. I believe one day our engineers can overcome those challenges and meet targets.
"We want to have good communication with our fans on the concept. I'd like to know how great their expectations are. R&D are working very hard - the targets are strict, rotary engines have lots of issues, and we need to solve each of them. It's not just emissions, it's performance as well, and making it easy to maintain. A rotary engine is a difficult engine to solve all these problems.
"If I say anything about [launch] dates I put too much pressure on our engineers. I want to avoid putting pressure on them. I would like to hear feedback on the design of the vehicle. This is the design of a sports car that really encapsulates a front-engined rear-wheel drive car. It embodies a Mazda sports car."
Further hints as to concept's rotary power source came earlier this month when Mazda released details of other cars that will be shown on its Tokyo stand, including the 967 Mazda Cosmo Sport 110S, the company’s first rotary powered mass-production model.
The concept’s design is said to offer “a sense of lineage and authenticity, encapsulating Mazda’s entire history of sports car design.” Following Mazda’s KODO design language, the RX-Vision’s low body features short overhangs at either end, with a low roofline and low bonnet – something made possible by the compact dimensions of the SkyActiv-R engine.
Inside, the concept features handcrafted components with intricate instrumentation, leather trim and a simplistic instrument panel. The concept has 245/40R20 tyres at the front, and 285/35R20 rubber at the rear.
Speaking about the car’s design, Kogai said: "It is a two-door, two-seater. It is a pure sports car design. We have MX-5 and another icon is a rotary sports car. We haven't talked about market reach but this would be in that segment."
Mazda design boss Ikuo Maeda added that the concept "represents our dream, but we don't want it to be a dream too long."
Text by Mark Tisshaw