Continuing The Legacy Of Felix Wankel | Part Three

RENESIS: Rotation Instead of Translation

The name RENESIS stands for "rotary engine (RE) genesis" and is representative of a revolutionary approach to rotary engine technology at Mazda. RENESIS is an elegant combination of high performance potential, on the one hand, and acceptable fuel consumption and low emissions on the other.

Starting point for RENESIS development was the MSP-RE (Multi-Side-Port Rotary Engine), first shown in the concept sports car RX-01 at the Tokyo Motor Show in 1995. Four years later, a refined version of the engine was presented at the 1999 Tokyo Motor Show in the concept vehicle RX- EVOLV. RENESIS as it is now being launched in the new Mazda RX-8, is the final production version of these concept engines, and the product of several years of unbroken development.

RENESIS developers were given three clear goals. The new engine should produce roughly the same power as the twin-turbo 13B engine of the Mazda RX-7, but at the same time use less fuel and produce minimum amounts of emissions. Mazda developers achieved these goals. The result of their effort is RENESIS, a twin-rotor, water-cooled engine with two chambers, each with 654 cm³ volume capacity. RENESIS comes in two power versions. The 192ps engine reaches maximum torque of 220 Nm at 5,000 rpm. The torque curve climbs quickly, then flattens out to a high plateau-like shape, which means there is plenty of power available over a wide speed range. In fact, 80 per cent of peak torque is available at 2,500 rpm with the last 20 per cent prior to peak torque at 5,000 rpm achieved gradually over a wide speed range. This characteristic makes everyday driving enjoyable and has definite advantages for city driving.

The 231ps achieves maximum torque of 211 Nm at 5,500 rpm. These figures show how the 231ps version of RENESIS has been modified to be more performance oriented. It develops its power at higher engine speeds. For this reason, the 231ps version has a maximum engine speed of 9,000 rpm, clearly higher than the 192ps version, which reaches maximum engine speed at 7,500 rpm.

Published 21 June 2003 Melanie Carter

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