The RX-7 is probably one of those cars that are either vaguely familiar or instantly recognizable as a revolutionary sports car of the ‘80s. The RX-7 was probably best known for its rotary engine and relatively low price for the performance. In fact, the RX-7 spawned a new class of racing in organizations like the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) know as SPEC-7, a class still being raced today throughout the U.S. The all adds fuel to the rumors that the RX-7 may return for 2011, but what will the newcomer look like and what will happen to the RX-8?

X3 concept based on Mazda RX-7

X3 concept based on Mazda RX-7

The current speculation is that the newest RX-7 will launch in late 2011 and our sister site, MotorAuthority.com, has some great links to prototype renderings and specification details. Speaking of details, how will the RX-7 and RX-8 coexist in the current state of the automotive industry? The answer there seems to be that the RX-8 will go up on the chopping block with the most likely outcome of being discontinued. The proposed RX-7 would then take its place coming in at a lower price, weight and getting a significant boost in the fuel efficiency column.

The weight reduction and fuel economy should come from the new Renesis 16X rotary engine. The speculation is that the 16X engine is capable of well over 300 horsepower, but in order to bring the spirit of the original RX-7 back to the market, Mazda will probably opt to go with a more modest power output of between 200-250 horsepower. If the car actually achieves a low curb weight of 2600 lbs, then those horsepower numbers could produce quite the sports car slotting the RX-7 between the Hyundai Genesis and the heavier and more powerful long time competitor—the Nissan Z.

2010 may be a year of going back to roots and with all the new technology, the heritage of the past may blossom into the resurgence of cars that we haven’t seen for decades. Be sure to check out all the details at MotorAuthority.com.