Vintage R&T Comparison: 1972 Mazda RX-2, Alfa Romeo 1750 Berlina and BMW 2002tii – Can The Cheaper Japanese Rotary Compete?


The rotary engine Mazda RX-2 made quite an impact in the US. It was one of the first Japanese sedans/coupes available here that had genuine sporty ambitions. The Datsun 510 with its lively 96 hp SOHC four and four wheel independent suspension also fell into that category, but the appeal of the then-novel rotary was outsized, as it appeared then to be the engine of the future. GM had committed to the rotary, and Citroen in Europe, along with pioneer NSU.

In this comparison, R&T compares the cheaper RX-2 to two of Europe’s most vaunted sports sedans: the Alfa Romeo 1750 Berlinetta and the BMW2002tii. The latter was also new, a higher output fuel injected version of the 2002, but at considerable additional expense. The result is interesting, although somewhat predictable.