As far as patents go, this is pretty cool.
Japanese carmaker Mazda has gone to pretty great lengths tugging our heartstrings back and forth on the subject of a future rotary-powered sports car. The last of the breed died out with the RX-8, which was killed off in 2012 amid rising emissions regulations and slowing sales. The rotary Wankel engine, famed for its engineering brilliance and infamous for its wear-and-tear foibles, has failed to find a new home since then really, no thanks to management in Hiroshima seemingly undecided on the subject.
Interest has remained strong on such a project, but the costs involved and the relatively-limited breakthroughs in rotary technology mean that Mazda’s engineers have been focused on compression-ignition engines and other things. One of those other things, it seems, is this fancy new rear wing design, which is easily one of the most discreet-but-effective solutions of its kind we've seen in a long while.
The patent was filed at the US Patent & Trademark office way back in October 2016, according to filing documents that were uncovered by AutoEvolution. It took them until March this year to approve the patent, before the Office published them a couple of weeks ago. The patent diagrams go to great length to detail the application of the innovative wing design, showing that it sits prominently against the rear most of the time, serving as a design detail that cuts through the taillights, not dissimilar to how we’ve seen chrome garnish used to link taillight units on production Mazda cars.
At higher speeds, the patent filing details that the section will then extend, and then move upwards, providing much-needed downforce over the rear wheels, the same purpose as any other retractable wing but arguably doing so in a rather pretty way (in our minds, at least). What we find rather interesting is that in one of the diagrams, the wing is seen to cut through taillights that look very similar to the RX-Vision concept car that we saw back in 2015 (the first of many potential RX-8 successors).
What doesn’t look like the RX-Vision concept car is the rest of the demo-vehicle sketched into the patent filings, as the rest of the car looks like an unholy union between a Mazda MX-5 and the Popemobile. While there’s no real idea of were we can expect to see this fancy wing, we reckon that it may make an appearance on the rotary concept car that Mazda’s confirmed will be bowing in at the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show later this month.