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Mazda, however, has maintained the rotary in its line-up because its small size and high performance fit the brand’s “zoom-zoom” image, said Kiyoshi Fujiwara, the Japanese maker’s global product design chief.
The rotary-powered Mazda 787B won an overall victory at Le Mans, in 1991, the only Japanese entry ever to take the title.
The rotary appeared to get a death sentence when Mazda announced it was pulling production of the slow-selling RX-8, a four-door sports car.  No other applications appeared on the horizon reflecting, at least in part, the challenge of working with an engine known for its decidedly fuel-thirsty nature. Senior company officials have continued to support efforts to develop a more efficient – and powerful – version of the Wankel, Fujiwara confirmed – though he also noted that the project was moved to the back-burner during the global economic downturn to help Mazda live within its budget. Invented by German Felix Wankel, who received a patent in 1929, the rotary engine is decidedly different from the gas and diesel powertrains used by most of the world’s automotive manufacturers.  Tiny by comparison, it uses a similar four-stroke cycle, but instead of relying on pistons moving inside an engine block, a triangular rotor spins within a somewhat oval-shaped housing. The technology produces significantly more power for a given displacement than a conventional piston engine – a fact that Mazda has used to its advantage, over the years, on the race track.  In fact, the maker is the only Japanese auto company to capture an overall win, in 1991, at the grueling 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race.
Fuel economy is one of three key problems that Mazda faces as it seeks to bring back a practical rotary, says Fujiwara, and the one that is proving most difficult to resolve.  But the executive hints the next-general Mazda Wankel could make use of some of the technology his company will use in a more conventional piston powertrain dubbed Skyactiv.
Debuting on the updated Mazda3, next year, Skyactiv promises to deliver hybrid-like mileage without the added battery-powered hardware.  Some of the technical tricks, such as direct injection appear to be on the list of ways Fujiwara’s team believes it can update the rotary. He believes that the revived powertrain will be able to deliver mileage that is at least comparable to Mazda’s current gasoline engines, a significant improvement from what the current Wankel can achieve.
NSU abandoned the technology due to problems with the rotary engine’s seals – which separate the triangular rotor from the outer housing.  Similar problems nearly bankrupted Mazda before it came up with a solution still in use today.



Whether Fujiwara’s goal can be met remains to be seen.  It will require both an infusion of cash to complete the redevelopment effort – and it will depend upon Mazda coming up with an appropriate product, likely a sports car of some sort, that would make effective use of a rotary. But considering the way the rotary has, for many, helped define the Mazda brand, Fujiwara is confident that even in extremely low volume it will eventually make a return. Tags: atuto news, car news, mazda lemans, mazda news, mazda rotary, mazda skyactiv, mazda wankel, mazda wins le mans, paul a. This is why AVL and FEV make range extenders with the Wankel rotary as prime-mover and claim, but not correctly, they have the best NVH properties.
Billions of dollars have been spend to improve its fuel efficiency, unsuccessfully (the RX-8, “the last of Mohicans”, is phased-out).
Instead of investing more money on the Wankel, Mazda could try other unconventional engines, like the PatOP. Vehicle crash and safety data is provided by NHTSA, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Take the first step to a great deal on your dream car with a free, no obligation Internet price quote! To save money on your next car purchase, please follow the instructions below to turn JavaScript on. Well over twenty years ago the Mitsubishi L200 pick-up was launched, setting standards of comfort, build-quality and reliability which other manufacturers could only aspire to.


Fifteen years ago the introduction of the Mitsubishi L200 double cab brought us a whole new concept of car-like space and comfort in the shape of a truck.
Today these very same vehicles remain legendary leaders of the pack, yet very soon the all-new third generation Mitsubishi L200 will herald a revolution, with a brand new engine, new suspension, steering and drive-train packed into the most stunning, spacious, manoeuvrable, comfortable, car-like pick-up yet. Fujiwara and his team in Mazda Wankel know more than me about the pros and cons of Wankel rotary and the competitors.
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Styling is attractive with enough sculpting to give the body work some drama without being busy. A rear-view camera and rear cross-traffic alert sensors are optional, as is a blind spot monitoring system and lane departure warning. The 2016 Impala earned a full five-star overall crash test rating from the NHTSA, their highest score.



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