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Rumors have whispered sweet nothings into long-lasting RX-7 and Wankel rotary enthusiasts for years, and frankly, enough is enough. Nothing is known for sure; everything said about the fabled Mazda “RX-9” is pure speculation, based on hearsay and obscure patent filings. Nevertheless, here are five things we can determine from the patents that might coincide with the RX-9 if Mazda is still developing it.

(AWD) Front Rotary Electric-rear Powertrain

Mazda RX-Vision on display in Geneva
Mazda RX-Vision on display in Geneva | Getty Images

The patent filings depict a rotary engine mounted behind the front axle. An electric motor powers the rear wheels, and an electric motor for each front wheel, of what is presumably the Mazda RX-9. This alludes to a possible all-wheel drive system, but by all accounts, it remains rear-wheel-drive, like its predecessors. Mazda hasn’t released a rotary-powered car since the RX-8 in 2012. Unless Mazda has developed some new technology based on a new (or old) rotary engine, it’s unclear why this engine would be making a comeback. We’re not arguing.

Battery-assisted acceleration for the Mazda RX-9

Mazda RX-Vision on display in Paris
Mazda RX-Vision on display in Paris | Chesnot/Getty Images

According to the patent illustrations on, the Mazda RX-9 has an electric system that uses a 3.5kWh battery. Loose translations of the patent filings describe capacitors that power the front wheels, which charge from regenerative braking. Any excess energy not used by the capacitors is stored in a battery. When the driver floors the gas pedal, the car’s powertrain draws from the battery.

Based on the RX Vision

Mazda RX-Vision on display in Tokyo
Mazda RX-Vision on display in Tokyo | KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP via Getty Images

Further illustrations depict the rear-end structure of the Mazda RX-9, and it appears to mimic the same design of the RX Vision, which Mazda released way back in 2015. The final product, if there is such a thing, may present a more complex exterior than what Mazda showed in the RX Vision. It was a sleek hatchback atop black multi-spoke wheels. It featured flush door handles and a front grille similar to that of the Mazda 6.

A new “R” trademark snuck in under our Mazda RX-9 radar

Mazda RX-Vision on display in Tokyo
Mazda RX-Vision on display in Tokyo | KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP via Getty Images

Mazda also registered for a new trademark emblem in the shape of a white “R”. This doesn’t necessarily mean anything, but it is intriguing. While some companies will register for patents just so other companies can’t use them, it seems unusual to exercise this practice on a specific emblem.

The Mazda RX-9 is built on an aluminum space frame

Mazda RX-Vision on display in Tokyo
Mazda RX-Vision on display in Tokyo | NurPhoto/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Other patents show Mazda’s car design built with an aluminum space frame (ASF). This means the frame is composed of many aluminum alloys, which reduces weight while increasing strength. It allows a stiffer chassis and helps to absorb vibration. Many cars use it today, including the Audi R8, Lamborghini Gallardo, and Pontiac Fiero.

Does any of this offer hope for the future?

Take all of this with a grain of salt. These are mere observations based on patent filings and don’t indicate Mazda’s current or intentional plans of building a sports car. In fact, Mazda CEO Akira Matsumoto says Mazda is tackling too many projects to focus on this sports car and there is no time frame, according to an interview he did with Automotive News Europe. Be that as it may, it’s always fun to speculate, and hold on to glimmers of hope when possible. Hopefully Mazda stops toying with our hearts soon.


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