The rotary engine is a fascinating – if polarising – powerplant configuration in automotive applications. Last year, Mazda marked 50 years of rotary engine development which saw the engine begin service in turbocharged, 13B form in the 1982 Cosmo RE Turbo with 187 hp.

That twin-rotor engine is perhaps most famously applied in the RX-7, which celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. Introduced in 1978, the first-generation RX-7 packed a 1.2 litre twin-rotor engine which produced 103 hp and was capable of up to 7,000 rpm. Codenamed FB, the original RX-7 sold over 470,000 units around the world, and the nameplate was critically acclaimed as well.

Turbocharging made its debut in the now-iconic sports car in its second generation, though the FC was actually offered in both turbocharged and naturally-aspirated guises. For the North American market, outputs for both engine setups were 182 hp and 146 hp respectively, while turbocharged models in other markets produced 215 hp.

Where the FC drew inspiration for its exterior from the Porsche 944, the FD that followed in 1992 was altogether more distinct, and remained in production until 2002. The 1.3 litre biturbo twin-rotor 13B engine grew in output from 252 hp to 280 hp when the car took its final bow, which saw special editions such as the Spirit R and Bathurst R.

The coupe and rotary engine pairing most recently came together in the RX-Vision Concept, which was unveiled at the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show, and the sighting of a patent filing for a new rotary engine design followed soon after. Alas, the rotary has since been rumoured to assume range-extending duties only. Can fans of the distinct bwaap-bwaap-bwaap soundtrack live in hope of a rotary sports car revival?