Mazda has made its reputation as an innovator in internal combustion engine technology. Way back when, it glommed on to the Wankel engine and made it work when nobody else could. That led to a mini-boom in rotary powered vehicles, including a pickup truck, family cars, and the utterly divine Mazda Cosmo sports coupe that was way ahead of its time and the precursor to the iconic Mazda RX-7. I autocrossed an RX-7 — a black GSL-SE beauty — for many years. I still remember the sound of that rotary engine screaming to red line and digging hard for more.
The luster of the rotary engine has faded, but Mazda has kept its engineers busy designing ever more efficient internal combustion engines. It has made an alliance with Toyota — if the bigger company will share its hybrid and electric car technology with Mazda, the smaller company will share its ICE technology with its big brother. That way, both companies get a competitive edge without a duplication of effort.