Mazda might be merging the Miata and RX-7 into a single sports car heritage

Mazda surprised the world last week when it snuck images of a sleek sports car into an otherwise mundane briefing about its plans to electrify. At first glance it struck us as a potential design direction for the next Miata, but upon closer inspection it exhibits shades of the RX-7 as well. It seems Mazda is mashing together the Miata and RX-7 into a unified sports car heritage.

At this point, hope of a rotary sports car revival is likely dead. Mazda will no longer commit to a sedan on its new FR platform, so any planned coupe is even less likely to see the light of production. Given that reality, how is the company planning move into this new age of electrification while keeping its identity as the “joy of driving” brand in tact?

As we noted upon the Mazda Vision Study Model’s debut, the car is dripping with Miata DNA, like the ND fenders and nose, with head- and taillights clearly inspired by an NA. In addition, the windshield hoop and A-pillars look like that of the NC.

But the further back you move, the more and more it begins to take after the RX-7. You’ll notice that the butterfly doors have the contours of the FD RX-7 in the way the rear edge curves into the window. The B-pillars also resemble the FD’s, and the Vision Study is a fixed-roof car and that’s definitely more RX than MX. quite. From the back, the rear glass seems to be a callback to the FC and FD hatches. The way the rear fenders flare out is much more RX-7 than Miata as well.

I know it’s a pure design exercise, but the proportions look electric to me. The hood looks too short and low to accommodate an internal combustion engine. That seems to be corroborated in the video’s 2:54 mark, where a skeleton of the car reveals a backbone chassis design with support bracing where the engine would go. There’s no ICE in there, just a nondescript box and another box behind the driver that indicate battery packs.

Or, maybe they just got lazy rendering. I hope they make a real concept car version of it, though. It’d be worth Mazda’s while, to breathe some life into interest for the brand even if nothing ever comes of it. They could make an electric sports car with the rotary engine range extender of the MX-30 and legitimately call it an RX. The brand identity of Mazda is strongly tied to its sports cars. If the RX-7 won’t have a successor, blending it with the Miata’s lineage to represent the marque might not be the worst idea. It’s possible there’ll be a concept car in the sheetmetal at next year’s Tokyo Motor Show. It would certainly be good for them as a brand.

This post is filed under: News, subaru.

8 Responses to Mazda might be merging the Miata and RX-7 into a single sports car heritage

  1. BlitzPig says:

    Translation of the 2030 video…

    Mazda sells out the enthusiast. Just like every other manufacturer.

  2. Fred Langille says:

    Perhaps not … if they wanted to sell out the enthusiast, they’d go immediately into production. However, concept cars are just that: a CONCEPT. Designers test the waters with the design and go from there. They take the kudos and boos from the CUSTOMERS and, incorporate them into their CONCEPT. Or, they should … if the bean counters and guys who’ve had too much sake during the design bull session get squished. Concepts are just that concepts … they are used to see if they are commercially viable, after all the company exists to make a buck and, ensure that their dream car concepts are what us motorheads consider good enough to part with our piles of gold grickles for their “concepts”.

    • BlitzPig says:

      Did you watch that video?

      It was nothing but Save the Whales touchy feely corpspeak pandering to the far left, with very little about appealing to their current enthusiast market. It’s the same blather that I am now getting from North American Honda, and why Honda has lost me as a customer.

  3. Dave Patten says:

    When an electric vehicle can provide the same basic operational/financial impact that my fossil fuel vehicle does, then I will consider changing.

    1. I can refuel within 5 miles of anyplace I regularly travel.
    2. It takes me less than 5 minutes to refuel to 100%.
    3. Vehicle range equals my fossil fuel vehicle, even during below freezing weather
    4. Can be refueled in my garage without violating my homeowner’s insurance.
    5. Electric vehicle cost is comparable with an equally equipped fossil fuel vehicle.

    If an electric vehicle that can meet these basic criteria, then and only then will I consider buying one.

    Until then, I will continue driving my fossil fueled vehicle until they pull my cold dead hands from the steering wheel.

    • Robert LaRue says:

      Who gives a — what you will do when? Your personal purchasing criteria won’t matter a hill of beans to the inevitable dominance of the EV in the coming years.

      Electric cars (I own one) ARE already enthusiast cars. They accelerate like a BOOH, and–due to their low slung battery mass, they handle great. Torque is instantly on tap when yo want it–no hunting for the right gear coming into or out of a turn–or worse, waiting for an automatic transmission to make up its mind when to shift.

      If you need noise and smoke, too–well that’s your problem. Enjoy being a dodo.

  4. Nihonnotekko says:

    My $0.02 is net positive. I really wish Mazda would add another branch to the RX family tree and join the revival lineup with the NSX, Z, and Supra. If what we eventually see is an amalgam of MX/RX for the future of Mazda’s sporting platform, I’d still be happy. I feel these generations are going to be the last and greatest of the ICE breed before total electrification or hybridization finally absorbs the nameplates, albeit the NSX is already there. What I do find hopeful is that with this video Mazda has demonstrated what appears to be a cultivation of a company culture that proves they’re able to appreciate their past, understand the present necessity for transition, and promise a future that services both the brand enthusiast and transformational goals of the automotive industry. I feel that in the heart of many Mazda fans, including myself, the core appreciation is for interesting and clever engineering. Let’s see what Mazda can surprise us with and recognize that an evolution onto something different may well be better that a revolution back to the same place we started. Zoom-zoom.

  5. Land Ark says:

    I have come to terms with cars going EV within my lifetime and as it stands I would be a great candidate for one since mt commute is only 12 miles each way, I have a garage I could plug in to, my company allows charging at work, I don’t usually take many long distance trips beyond a typical EV range, and if I did, I have other cars at my disposal and the means to rent a car otherwise. I could very easily live with an electric MX5.
    What I am fearful of in this case is combining the MX5 and RX7 into one car which really only says to me that it will go from a surprisingly expensive small sports car to an unaffordable halo car. There would be no more $30k Mazda sports cars in that case. And the main reason I am convinced I will buy an MX5 (soul red BBS package RF or RF GT with white seats) in the near future is because it is still within the realm of affordability. Losing that means I am not longer in the market for it.

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