Next Mazda RX-8 to rival BMW i8

* Engineers planning premium electric sports car * Will be range-extender version with rotary engine * Predicted to go on sale before 2018...

Next Mazda RX-8 to rival BMW i8

Mazda is planning to replace the RX-8 with a BMW i8-rivalling electric sports car, high-level sources have revealed to What Car?.

It’s understood that Mazda engineers are currently working on a high-tech, high performance car that uses plug-in range-extender technology. It’s believed that an all-new version of the company’s rotary engine will be paired with an electric motor to produce high performance with high economy and low emissions.

Previously, company sources have admitted that small capacity rotary engines, as traditionally used in Mazda’s sports cars, lend themselves well to being used in electric range-extender models where they become ‘generators’ for the electric motor which drives the wheels.

Mazda’s engineers and designers are known to be keen to produce a range-topping sports car, but one that is different from the norm. However, like the forthcoming BMW i8 it’s likely to be a rear-wheel drive two-seater.

There’s no word yet on when the new RX-8 will go on sale. However, it’s likely to be before 2018 to comply with new zero emissions regualations in California, the world’s largest sports car market.