Sport Cars

Mazda Iconic SP Concept revealed

The new one was unveiled at the biennial Tokyo Motor Show 2023 Mazda Iconic SP Concept sports car is a connection between a 2-disc petrol engine and a Electric motor drivetrain. It’s astonishing that the controversial Wankel engine would ever have returned in any form, and yet it manages to do so in circumstances that initially seem less than ideal. Quietly, however, the Japanese automaker has been working diligently to ensure its rebirth has both emotional and practical appeal.

Mazda proves that hybrid design can be diverse

If anything, the venerable Japanese automaker is providing some clairvoyance – showing us a future that doesn’t lack creativity, nor does it have to be a future with an overwhelmingly boring mix of fancy electric vehicles and hybrid clones that are defined only by the Uniforms make them different.

To put it simply, the new sports car is the opposite of what is meant by a hybrid, but is still a hybrid. Yes, the Mazda Iconic SP is far from being a hybrid in the traditional sense – it’s not that the petrol engine is supported by one or more electric motors, but the other way around. In this car, The only function of the Wankel engine is to keep the electric battery chargedwhich in turn sends electricity to the Electric motors that are 100% responsible for power delivery to the wheels.

It’s not yet known how many engines there will be – or what configuration they will be used in – but we’re hoping a rear-wheel drive version will be at least optional, if not exclusive. In any case, Mazda has claimed that the powerplant used in the concept car produces a sufficiently tasty amount of power 365 hp currently what is being advertised. Not too much. Not to less. Just like Goldilocks.

Why an RX-7 revival is still in sight

The design specifications of the concept car are based on another current sports car from Mazda – namely the Miata – and at first glance seem to be cut from the same cloth as the automaker’s typical and small sports car. In reality, the Iconic SP is a much larger car all around and has a considerably longer wheelbase – about 11 inches, Mazda says. Some would say it looks more like the Miata’s new big brother.

However, enthusiasts will be quick to point out that some of the key design features – particularly the low-flying front end that flows into a short roofline before fading into a sleek fastback silhouette – draw on the 3rd generation FD Mazda RX-7. There’s definitely a familiar sensuality at play here, and to me it’s pretty obvious. When it comes to concept car interiors, we shouldn’t read too deeply into things, although it has to be said that the photo below certainly pays homage to the company’s sports car heritage.

Together with the rotary technology, this suggests that the concept and future production version have the necessary credentials to be both a natural and spiritual successor to the legendary Japanese sports car of the ’90s. If all of this is true, then hopefully it also has the driving dynamics necessary to make it a worthy vehicle.

Given its low weight by today’s standards –just 3,197 pounds, despite its larger footprint and more powerful powertrain – the SP is already off to a good start in this regard. Added to this is Mazda’s claim that they have managed to achieve one Weight distribution 50:50plus a thoughtful power-to-weight ratio, and you have all the ingredients you need to create what the company promises: a car that embodies “Driving pleasure”.

Stay tuned: there’s much more to come

At the unveiling, Jo Stenuit, Mazda’s European design director, also explained that the vehicle’s low center of gravity will impress “excellent driving performance” while CEO Masahiro Moro reiterated this “Mazda will always deliver vehicles that remind people that cars are pure joy and an indispensable part of their lives.”

Interestingly, this isn’t even the first time Mazda has introduced a rotary/electric powertrain MX-30 e-Skyactiv R-EV had already claimed this area for itself at the beginning of the year, albeit with one less rotor and a more economical philosophy. No wonder it didn’t get as much attention. The mere mention of a possible RX-7 successorhas pricked up all our ears.

Will the Mazda Iconic SP revolutionize the electric and hybrid landscape with its unique approach to low-emission hooniganism? the late Ken Block)? Hard to say. But it certainly creates more excitement and optimism for the future of sports cars, and all of us (car enthusiasts) can only benefit from it.

Official press release from Mazda

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