Mazda unveils iconic SP Concept: A tribute to rotary-powered sports cars

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Mazda presents the iconic SP concept, a compact sports car that channels the spirit and passion of the iconic RX-7, powered by a unique two-rotor rotary electric engine.

Mazda made a grand entrance at the Japan Mobility Show with the unveiling of the Iconic SP concept, marking its return to the event for the first time since 2019. Described as a “new type of compact sports car concept” for enthusiasts who adore the joy of driving, the Iconic SP pays homage to Mazda’s historic rotary-powered sports cars. Although the production name remains uncertain, Mazda reveals that the “S” in “SP” signifies “Spirit,” reminiscent of the legendary RX-7 Spirit R, and the “P” stands for “passion.”

While Mazda’s press release doesn’t explicitly reference the RX-7, it’s evident that the Iconic SP draws inspiration from the iconic rotary-powered sports car. This concept embodies Mazda’s unwavering commitment to the rotary engine, as evidenced by patents, suggesting a revival of the beloved Wankel rotary powerplant. This particular rotary engine is versatile, capable of running on alternative fuels like hydrogen, aligning with Mazda’s carbon-neutral aspirations.

The Iconic SP boasts an impressive performance profile with its two-rotor rotary electric engine paired with electric motors, delivering a combined output of 365 horsepower, surpassing the turbocharged RX-7 by over 100 hp. Mazda has masterfully managed the car’s weight, with a curb weight of just under 3,200 pounds, a mere 240 lbs more than the heaviest RX-7 variant, offering an excellent power-to-weight ratio of 3.9 and perfect 50:50 weight distribution.

The concept’s design draws from RX-7 inspiration, featuring Mazda’s captivating Viola Red exterior hue. Measuring 164.5 inches in length, the Iconic SP is slightly shorter than the RX-7, but it boasts a longer wheelbase of just under 102 inches, enhancing handling and balance. The car’s design is undeniably sports car-like, with a low hood made possible by the rotary engine, a distinctive rounded door shape similar to the RX-7, and unique upward-lifting doors.

Inside, the Iconic SP offers a minimalist cabin, featuring a small infotainment screen, a gauge cluster screen, and a concise array of switches on the center console. The design perfectly complements the driving-focused nature of the car.

Mazda’s commitment to delivering vehicles that embody pure joy and elevate the driving experience is evident in the Iconic SP concept. The company’s determination to shape the future with car enthusiasts and fans who share the same passion and appreciation for automobiles suggests that the Iconic SP concept might eventually become a production reality, much to the delight of car enthusiasts.