Mazda’s rotary engine program on death row

August 11th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Mazda has keenly championed the rotary engine since it was originally used in the 1967 Mazda Cosmo but now the future of this iconic motor is uncertain.

The Wankel rotary has powered numerous Mazdas over the years, including the RX-2, RX-3, RX-7 and finally the RX-8. Mazda even sold a rotary-powered ute between 1974 and 1977. But in 2011 the automotive landscape is much different and Mazda big wigs are currently in discussions about where to go next with the unique powerplant.

While the engine hasn’t been officially axed altogether, current economic conditions have forced Mazda to re-evaluate several programs and the rotary engine is one of the things that could be dropped. For now, the company has halted development of the engine and will focus on new SKYACTIV technologies.

Mazda still believes in the advantages of rotary power including its light weight and fewer moving parts but its weaknesses are more apparent than ever. The rotary engine doesn’t burn as clean as a piston engine, it consumes more oil and is very thirsty for petrol. In these times of emission regulations and minimal fuel usage – the rotary just doesn’t fit in. Continue reading “Mazda’s rotary engine program on death row” »

Lamborghini ready to phase out manual transmissions

March 31st, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Lamborghini has got tongues wagging in the motoring world with a recent report that it will be phasing out manual transmissions from it’s line up, just like Ferrari. The decision is apparently part of the company’s new commitment to following the trend of increasing overall fuel economy in its vehicles. Further to simply scrapping the third pedal, the raging bull says it plans to build even-lighter vehicles, so count on even more carbon fibre in Lambo’s future range.

Turbocharging won’t be on the menu for the next few years, though. While many other automakers are getting busy strapping forced induction to their engines to help curb fuel consumption and maintain power, Lamborghini says it has no interest in boosting up. Instead, it will make use of stop/start tech and cylinder deactivation during the next decade, as well as a possible mild-hybrid vehicle.

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