Originally Posted by longpath
I'm interested to see who will offer this in the aftermarket. Say what you will; but I am a die hard Wankel rotary fan and there are no cars on the market with a Wankel rotary, so I am hanging onto my Mazda for as long as possible. Nonetheless, I am very much aware that the satnav and stereo are a decade old. An iOS based integrated offering would be much simpler to keep current (Mazda's OEM for the satnav used in 2004 RX-8s has released one map update in the entire time the car has existed).
As a Mazda3 owner, I also noticed Mazda conspicuously absent from Apple's OEM list. I could understand this exclusion back when Ford held a controlling interest in the company, and Ford had that development partnership with Microsoft (which provided the OS platform for Ford's disastrous MyFordTouch touch control interface and helped drop Ford's quality ranking from the top 10 to now near the bottom). But, now that Ford has divested nearly all of its holdings in Mazda, they no longer have any backroom deals or alliances that would prevent them from expanding their iOS offerings.
For all of its wonderful driveability and chassis balance attributes, the unfortunate weakness of the rotary engine in this day and age is its fuel economy with city driving. Rumor is that Mazda is looking into using rotary engines for a hybrid, since their compact size and smooth operation in steady state would be ideal to pair with a hybrid drive for stop-and-go driving.
Originally Posted by SolopsismX
It's a brilliant design, especially for being before we had computer models, but is the type of ICE really more important than all the other features that go into a modern automobile?
Depends on how much the driver values the actual driving experience, rather than all of the peripheral activities that coincide with the drive. For the U.S. market, I think that reliability, size for the price, and fuel economy seem to rank highly to varying degrees (plus the intangibles like the driving experience, design, image, etc.). The features are somewhat important, and the technology features can wow a buyer. But, most consumers don't go for the higher trim levels or option packages that feature much of the technology. (Check a car dealer's inventory and you typically find the midlevel or base models in much greater abundance than the optioned out versions)
Trying to bring technology features to the masses by making them more widely available in the lower trim levels can also backfire in a big way. For example, Ford and Hyundai have probably been the two non-luxury brands that most aggressively pushed technology features throughout their product line. Problem is that their systems had usability and reliability problems. Where Hyundai ranked #1 in quality among non-luxury brands just four years ago and Ford ranked in the top 10 just three years ago, both brands have had a rapid drop in their quality rankings and now rank well below the industry average, largely due to issues and/or backlash from their technology features.
If anything, the technological revolution occurring under the hood is actually a lot more compelling than the stuff going on the dashboards. Once exotic refinements to the ICE powertrain such as distributorless ignition, direct injection, dual clutch transmissions, electronic throttle, have become the norm. And that's before you add hybrid, electric, clean diesel, and more exotic niche powertrains like CNG and fuel cell engines to the mix. When an electric car like the Tesla Model S also produces class-leading performance, I think we're at the tip of the iceberg in seeing what alternative propulsion systems are capable of. As mentioned above, Mazda is supposedly experimenting with the Wankel rotary as a hybrid plant, which better optimizes the design's strengths (compact size, smooth operation, and low center of gravity) and negates its weaknesses (stop-and-go efficiency).