Wankel Engines…Pros and Cons

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Greetings to all of us, may we all be safe on the journey to our destination.

Every technology certainly has its advantages and disadvantages, including Wankel engines (rotary engines). Of course, whether the development of this engine is feasible depends on many factors, one of which is its advantages and disadvantages. will try to clearly explain the shortcomings and disadvantages of the Wankel engine in this article.


  1. In terms of construction, the wankle engine is very superior. Which, with its construction, produces several advantages compared to piston engines, namely:

  • Simplicity: rotary engines can have as few as three main moving parts, compared to more than 40+ for cylinder-piston based engines. Fewer moving parts result in better reliability.
  • The weight is light
  • The packaging is compact
  • Cheap production costs
Much higher performance than piston engines with the same engine weight. This is caused by :
  • Power delivery: as the rotor rotates, power delivery takes place more smoothly and the power delivery is very smooth, much smoother than engine pistons
  • Engine rpm can be very high, because there are no components that move back and forth like the engine piston
  • In one rotation of the rotor, 3 combustion times can occur, so the power produced is much higher with the same cubication compared to a piston engine. With a volume of 645 cc the wankle engine is capable of producing power equivalent to a 2600 cc piston engine.
  • The fewer moving parts, the fewer friction losses, the greater the total power output.
  • Flexible for multiple fuel octane levels.
  • So the conclusion is that the main advantages of Wankel engines compared to piston engines are superior PWR (power to weight ratio), reliable and cheap.


The shortcomings are also a result of its quite "odd" construction which is currently still being researched to be perfected. What contributes to the shortage are these parts:

  1. Because the intake port is not controlled by a valve, the compression ratio is low, resulting in a low combustion coefficient. As a result, the FC is also low, aka wasteful.
  2. The triangular shape of the rotor requires a complicated seal, making it more susceptible to compression leaks
  3. The lubrication that must be done to maintain seal performance causes the oil to burn
  4. The combination of 1-2-3 produces quite significant emissions compared to piston engines
The conclusion is that the weakness of the Wankel engine is that it is more wasteful and has higher exhaust emissions than a piston engine.

So, of course, based on these advantages and disadvantages, the Wankel engine runs as it is now. Namely, it is not profitable for producers to produce it (because there are few working parts), it is difficult to meet increasingly stringent emission standards and because it is not popular, aftersales is also more difficult.

However, Mazda, as one of the manufacturers that still continues to preserve the wankle engine, continues to innovate. In 2019, Mazda will release a new Wankel engine for its RX clan cars. In 2016 Mazda patented its newest Wankel engine
Several recent studies have stated that improvements that can be made to minimize Wankel engine deficiencies are:
  • Direct fuel injection
  • Coating diamond like
  • Change of port position
  • Changing the shape of the chamber (rotor side) to increase the compression ratio
  • Turbo charge application
Hopefully this superior Wankel engine will not become extinct. Thank you to Mazda and also other manufacturers such as Norton who have taken the trouble to preserve this Wankel engine. Tireless improvement efforts will gradually improve the performance of the Wankel engine so that it will be more in line with market needs.

Sorry if there are any mistakes or omissions. Hopefully this is useful, wassalamu'alaikum wa rochmatullohi wa barokatuh.


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