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Mazda's new RENESIS named International Engine of the year

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May 13, 2003

Mazda's new RENESIS named International Engine of the year

Mazda's new RENESIS named International Engine of the year

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May 14, 2003 Mazda's new RENESIS rotary engine, which powers the all-new Mazda RX-8, has been named "International Engine of the Year 2003." The prestigious award was presented earlier this week at Engine Expo 2003 in Stuttgart, Germany.Now in their fifth year, the International Engine of the Year Awards have become one of the most sought-after automotive accolades. Judged by a panel of 50 renowned motoring journalists from 22 countries, the 2003 Awards once again highlighted and acknowledged underhood engineering excellence.

All current production engines between sub-1.0-litre to above 4.0-litre capacities are judged in areas such as drivability, performance, economy, refinement, and the successful application of advanced technology. There are 12 categories in all, including the grand prize, International Engine of the Year.Every year, the leading passenger-car engine concepts are nominated for awards in twelve different categories as part of a competition organised by British motoring publication Engine Technology International Magazine.

Judges praised Mazda for, "its sheer bravery in pursuing the Wankel format and making it work", calling the RX-8's RENESIS Rotary, "smooth and strong, clean and compact." The engine already meets the forthcoming 2005 EURO IV emissions requirements, yet delivers up to 240bhp.

The Mazda RENESIS Rotary engine won the outright, International Engine of the Year 2003 award, also placing first in two additional categories, "Best New Engine of 2003" and "2.5-litre to 3.0-litre." The RENESIS engine was launched in the Mazda RX-8 recently in Japan and is poised to hit showrooms in Europe, North America and Australia from about August. It represents nothing less than a revolution in rotary engine technology, as it delivers smooth, high-revving performance, achieves acceptable fuel consumption and is able to meet some of the toughest emission standards in the world.

"Mazda's International Engine of the Year Award success is a remarkable achievement," said Graham Johnson, editor of Engine Technology International magazine and Chairman of the Awards. "The judges are hugely impressed by the RX-8's smoothness, refinement, performance and eco-friendliness. Indeed, 44 of the judges voted for this rotary engine to become International Engine of the Year 2003 - a new Awards record. Mazda can rightly state that it produces the finest automobile engine in the world." The RENISIS engine is unlike any other internal combustion engine in the world. It performs the four processes of intake, compression, combustion, and exhaust in succession by turning a triangular-shaped rotor in a cocoon-shaped combustion chamber to generate the engine power.

Compared to traditional internal combustion engines, it is significantly smaller and exceptionally smooth and high revving. One of the key engineering breakthroughs with the RENESIS engine is the use of advanced side-exhaust technology. The exhaust ports, previously located on the trochoidal housing of a conventional rotary engine, are now situated on the side housing of the rotor chamber, which allowed engineers to optimize the engine's port profiles and eliminate exhaust and intake port overlap. RENESIS also employs variable induction control, electronic throttle valving and new, highly efficient fuel injectors combined with while high-performance spark plugs to deliver better ignition of the fuel-air mixture. This combination of ultra-fine fuel spray and powerful ignition results in nearly complete combustion.

RENESIS is also able to retain most of the unburned hydrocarbons for combustion in the next cycle, a process that greatly reduces emissions. This advanced rotary technology provides Mazda's new RENESIS with a maximum output of 177kW (ECE) at 8200 rpm and maximum torque of 211Nm (ECE) at 5500 rpm for the high power version which will power manual models.

Because it does not need turbocharging, RENESIS is extremely compact and light. So compact, in fact, that it is mounted more towards the rear of the Mazda RX-8 in a so-called "advanced front midship" layout, which greatly reduces the vehicle's yaw inertia moment and helps deliver an ideal 50/50 weight distribution over the front and rear axles. So not only is RENESIS a technologically advanced, high revving engine that is great to drive, it contributes directly to Mazda RX-8's superior sports car handling.

"An astonishing new engine," said awards judge Alberto Bellucci of Mazda's new RENESIS rotary engine, "with power, acceleration and silence better than a real sports car." Best Fuel Economy Class: Honda 1.3-litre IMA (Civic Hybrid)For the last three years, this award has gone to Honda's Insight engine (see story 1908) and this year Honda has won again, comfortably outscoring the Toyota Prius engine and its stablemate Honda Insight engine.

The following three engines shortlisted in this category were all diese "The next step forward in bringing hybrid technology into the mainstream" and "Nobody has yet come up with a better option for the mid-term future of the automobile" l engines. Judges comments such asprove that Honda's IMA system is the way of the future for fuel efficient passenger cars.

Following its win last year, the Civic IMA once again wins the 1.0 to 1.4 litre category with nearly double the final score of votes than the second place PSA 1.4 litre diesel engine.

Sub 1-litre Class: Honda 1-litre IMA (Insight)

The Honda Insight is a perennial winner of this category and a firm favourite of this humble magazine!!!

1-litre to 1.4-litre Class: Honda 1.3-litre IMA (Civic Hybrid)

Best Performance Engine: Mercedes-AMG 55 V8 (E55, SL55, S55, CL55)

The supercharged AMG V8 engine had a clear majority of votes in the newly created Best Performance Engine category. "It's very powerful, and completely without temperament - the exact opposite of most frenetic high-performance engines," was the verdict of Jake Venter from the South African trade magazine "Car" when it came to the supercharged AMG V8 engine. Graham Johnson, Chairman of the International Engine of the Year Awards, was equally impressed. His assessment: "Blistering performance delivered by a brilliantly smooth and charismatic V8." Developing output figures of 350 kW/476 hp to 368 kW/500 hp and peak torque of 700 Newton metres, the supercharged AMG V8 engine delivers a seriously impressive driving experience. The 5.5-litre eight-cylinder power unit made its debut in 2001 under the bonnet of the SL 55 AMG and since the autumn of 2002 has also been available for the E 55 AMG and S 55 AMG Saloons, as well as the CL 55 AMG Coup'.

1.4-litre to 1.8-litre Class: Mini Supercharged 1.6-litre (Cooper S)

Nine out of 12 awarded the MINI points while 5 rated it top of its class. 1.8-litre to 2-litre Class:Honda 2-litre (S2000)The Honda S2000 engine once again won its capacity class of 1.8 to 2.0 litre due to its willingness to rev so freely and its remarkable specific output.

2-litre to 2.5-litre Class: BMW 2.5-litre (325i, 525i, Z4)

BMW's 2.5-litre straight-six has infinitely variable bi-VANOS valve timing, and won this category clearly with 152 points, 27 points ahead of its nearest rival. Almost half the entire panel of judges awarded points to this BMW unit.

2.5-litre to 3-litre Class: Mazda RENESIS Rotary (RX-8)

3-litre to 4-litre BMW 3.2-litre (M3)

The most winning marque in the IEOY Award history, BMW's powerful 3.2-litre M3 engine has won this category three years in a row, and this time by a record margin - the M3 donk scored 202 points, 93 points more than the second-placed Porsche 3.6-litre 911 GT3 unit.

Above 4-litre Class: Volkswagen Diesel 5-litre V10 (Touareg/Phaeton)

About the Author
Mike Hanlon After Editing or Managing over 50 print publications primarily in the role of a Magazine Doctor, Mike embraced the internet full-time in 1995 and became a "start-up all-rounder" – quite a few start-ups later, he founded Gizmag in 2002. Now he can write again.   All articles by Mike Hanlon
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