New Mazda RX-9 could use Toyota’s hybrid drivetrain

New Mazda RX-9 could use Toyota’s hybrid drivetrain

Mazda’s next rotary powered machine is often the subject of rumour and speculation with claims that the RX-Series of vehicles may end with the RX-8. But fresh reports are suggesting that there will be an RX-9 and what’s more, it will use a hybrid drivetrain borrowed from Toyota.

These latest rumours have some weight behind them because last year an agreement was signed between Mazda and Toyota that would have the Zoom-Zoom company licensing the same hybrid tech that powers the Prius. Back then, Mazda announced that its first hybrid vehicle would reach the market in 2013. But nobody really thought it would come in the form of an RX-9.

Naturally a rotary engine will still spin under the vehicle’s bonnet, but it will likely take on a low-powered form with the hybrid system adding extra grunt. Doesn’t sound so flash right? Well not when you consider the rotary motor’s traditional design flaws of weak torque at low rpm, leaky seals and high fuel consumption. If the borrowed hybrid system can solve these issues it may be what saves the rotary engine from production car extinction.

Reports and common sense are also suggesting that the successor to the RX-8 will drop the model’s odd suicide rear doors for a more standard coupe format and share its underpinnings as the next Mazda MX-5. If that’s true, the RX-9 could beomce the world’s first real rear-wheel-drive hybrid sportscar built for global markets. Styling could follow the direction of the Kabura Coupe concept (pictured).

For now the fate of the RX-series is uncertain, Mazda is putting most of it’s spend into the more popular MX-5. If there is a new RX sports car, hybrid or not, don’t expect to see it before late 2013.

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