The key constraint on Maeda’s desire: the market. As always, a new car from Mazda must have a business case behind it, perhaps now more than ever. Speculation on what the RX-7 successor might evenutally look like is just that, but it can almost be guaranteed to feature two seats instead of the Mazda RX-8’s four, and a rotary engine.
The desire for a new RX-7 is not new within the company, but it’s heartening to hear it from the man that currently holds the post. Former Mazda design global design chief Lauren Van den Acker had previously been behind a project expected to be called the RX-9, a sort of spiritual successor to the RX-7 featuring an up-rated 16X Renesis rotary engine and possibly a dual-clutch transmission, pointing at halo-car aspirations. Maeda took over as lead designer at Mazda in April 2009.
Looking as far back as 2007, the the modern revival of the RX-7 was being foretold in general terms with the Taiki concept, a two-seater which featured the same 1.6-liter, 270-horsepower 16X Renesis rotary expected for the next-gen car. The concept’s materials and design also hint at a lightweight goal for the car, possibly as low as 2,600 pounds–a figure almost unheard of in today’s age of crash testing, pedestrian safety and full-featured interiors.
In February of 2009, rumors re-emerged of work for the RX-9, confirming the previous iterations of the rumor in terms of hardware and goals. A patent application from May of 2009 also revealed Mazda’s work on the direct injection in the rotary form factor, yet another indication that work behind the scenes is already well underway.
It will still likely be several years until any potential production model is revealed, however, as the car must go through prototyping, concept and testing stages first. If Mazda decides the market might bite on a new RX-7, however, expect to begin seeing test mules and prototypes in our spy shots soon.