Mazda Iconic SP concept blends Miata and RX-7 into future rotary sports car

The Japan Mobility Show (formerly known as the Tokyo Motor Show) is happening today, and Mazda is kicking things off with a bang. The Mazda Iconic SP concept presages what the future might hold for its sports car lineage. Problem is, Mazda has two sports car lineages, the Miata and the RX-7. The concept combines both into one car, and it’s so beautiful it hurts.

Tthe front end looks a lot like an evolution of the ND, especially in the grille and the rising wheel arches in the fenders. As we said when Mazda first gave the world a glimpse of the concept a year ago, the windshield hoop is very NC-like. Meanwhile, the headlights are actually pop-ups, a throwback to the NA and RX-7.

Speaking of RX-7, beholding the stunning curvaceousness of the body reminds us of the FD. Besides the door cutlines and B-pillars, there aren’t specific parts that invite a direct comparison to the RX-7, but it definitely feels very FD in spirit. On the other hand, the angled outline of rear glass recalls the FC. At the very rear, the Venn diagram taillights hearken back to the NA.

Beneath the hood is a “dual-rotor EV system”. While that instantly conjures wild visions of a new RX model, the system is more like that of the MX-30. The rotary engine never drives the wheels directly; instead it’s used as a range extender to charge the electric powertrain when needed. Mazda says the compactness of the rotary system is what allowed for such a dramatically sloping hood.

Mazda says the Iconic SP makes 365 horsepower and weighs 3,200 pounds. That’s quite a bit heavier than the approximately 2,400 pounds of the ND, but you can’t escape battery mass. Still, that’s significantly lighter than other popular EVs. Dimensionally, it’s longer than an ND by about 10 inches (165 in. total), wider by 5 inches (73 in.), but lower by about 3 inches (45 in.). The wheelbase is longer by 11 inches (102 in.).

Mazda CEO Masahiro Moro delivered an impassioned speech while unveiling the car. “We love the MX-5, and the world loves the MX-5. We are determined in the age of electrification to keep the joy of driving which the MX-5 represents alive,” he said, referring to the rotary engine range extender (RERE) as Mazda’s “dream solution.”

“‘[It’s] a dream we will work hard to launch. Mazda will always deliver vehicles that remind people that cars are pure joy and an indispensable part of their lives,” he continued.

Finally, he concluded with, “For us, the ‘Joy of Driving’ is synonymous with the ‘Joy of Living’. All of us with Mazda strive to enrich life-in-motion for those we serve.” Those sentiments were nice to hear, but we’ve been burned before. Regardless, even if nothing ever comes from the Iconic SP, it shows Mazda is still capable of stunning design, as well as carrying the torch for sports cars. They sure know how to stir our hearts, even if they ultimately break them.

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11 Responses to Mazda Iconic SP concept blends Miata and RX-7 into future rotary sports car

  1. Fashion Victim says:

    Looks nice, but I wonder about the wisdom of the door opening angle. In malaysia, we already have a problem with motorcylists hitting partially open doors and tearing them off the hinges.

  2. SCOTT says:

    Stunning to look at. Unfortunately, I have no desire to move to electric.

  3. Bryan Kitsune says:

    I’m glad someone’s making an attempt at *sorta* pop-up headlights!

  4. speedie says:

    It is a stunning design. I do wonder how they will get that hood slope to meet European pedestrian crash standards though. I also think the use of the rotary range extender is a nice gesture by Mazda as a final tribute to the rotary engine, even if its not directly powering the wheels. As for it becoming all electric, I am fine with that. Sports cars are all about the joy of driving. If anyone can pull that off with an electric car it will be Mazda.

  5. RainMeister says:

    Setting aside the drivetrain, the design is pure car porn. Mazda must have some Alfisti among its designers because they successfully channelled the heart-achingly beautiful looks of the original Alfa Romeo 33 Stradale and Canguro here.

    I would jump at the chance to buy this in its coupe form if only to sit and gaze at it in my garage.

  6. speedie says:

    I just noticed the wheel design after looking at the pictures about fifty times. No comment on them, just a statement of how beautiful the car body is that never paid attention to the wheels.

  7. Crown says:

    That back view reminds me of the shark Porsche from the ’80’s.

  8. J Wilson says:

    Block this out to production dimensions and add a production interior and engine, this is the next MX5. Will be interesting to see IF they offer it as a liftback with that long backlight along with the traditional soft top.

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