03 October 2007

Is this the next RX-8?

Erm, no, but Mazda's Taiki concept previews a swoopy rotary future

Mazda Taiki

Is this the next-gen Mazda RX-8?

No, probably not. But it's good to dream, and this wild concept should give a few hints about where Mazda is going with its rotary-engined coupe.

Called the Taiki, the two-seater concept is due to be unveiled at the Tokyo motor show later this month.

Like the RX-8, the Taiki is front-engined and rear-wheel drive, and will feature Mazda's next-generation rotary engine.

Displacement has been expanded to 1.6 litres - up some 300cc on the RX-8's current engine - while Mazda reckons it will provide more torque throughout the rev range.

And the styling? According to Mazda, the Taiki 'visually expresses the atmosphere (called taiki in Japanese) that wraps the Earth in its protective mantle'. Obvious, really.

In case you need a little more elucidation, we're told that the design 'was inspired by the image of a pair of Hagoromo - the flowing robes that enable a celestial maiden to fly in Japanese legend'.

That grille is familiar from the Kizashi concept we saw in Geneva, and while those outboard rear wheels are proper high concept stuff, the panoramic glass roof is more likely to find a place in a production car. In one aspect, it's a touch more sensible than the RX-8 - the 'suicide doors' are gone, replaced by a more conventional pair.

So no, the next Mazda RX-8 won't look anything like this. But you've got to love Mazda for churning out the crazy concepts. Expect more surprises before the Tokyo show.

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