We’re still waiting for a follow-up to the RX-8.
Ever since Mazda showed off their Vision Coupe a few years ago, enthusiasts have been aching for a follow-up to the RX-8, which went out of production in 2012. We’ve had some mixed signals since then, where Mazda is reportedly developing a “large architecture” to accommodate a new sports car, or focusing on electrified drivetrains instead. Last year, CEO Akira Marumoto said it was difficult to make a business case for a new rotary sports car.
Now, Japanese site Motor Magazine discovered a new patent application documenting what could be an upcoming Mazda RX-9. Specifically, the patent is for a “shock absorbing structure”, but does not mention exactly which vehicle this will be used for. With the crossmember suggesting its engine will be mounted behind the front axle, double wishbone suspension and aluminum alloy body with CFRP (carbon fiber reinforced plastic) frames, the consensus at the moment points to an “RX-9”. Of course, it’s unclear whether Mazda will actually use that name should they build an RX-8 successor, or go in another direction.
“There seems to be no platform sharing between the RX-9 and other vehicles. I recognize that the RX-9 will be built on an independent platform,” a source told Motor Magazine.
Is it coming? Maybe, maybe not
Honestly, it’s really worth taking this patent application with an enormous grain of salt. Naturally, filing a patent application does not mean the technology will go into production soon, if ever. Mazda also has several other projects in the works, including the new CX-30, an as-yet unrevealed electric car, and hammering out production for its new Alabama plant, which is part of a joint venture with Toyota. The company hasn’t seen the best times with their sales figures either. On that basis, now would not be a particularly good time to introduce a low-volume sports car.
Then again, we have seen Mazda sort of mention it in the past few months, we it may be in development. Spy photographers also caught a lightly-camouflaged RX-8 testing on the Nürburgring. Coincidence? Maybe, or Mazda does have a new sports car — the RX-9 — up its sleeve.