Mazda Iconic SP Is Hybrid Rotary-Powered Future Sports Car

  • Mazda has unveiled the Iconic SP ahead of the Tokyo auto show, providing details on the sports car that was first seen nearly a year ago as a “Vision Study Model.”
  • The Iconic SP is powered by electric motors, with a two-stroke engine that acts as a generator to recharge the battery when needed.
  • The concept is about 10 inches longer than the current Miata and has a simpler interior with a smaller screen and fewer switches.

A year ago, Mazda teased a sports car concept called the “Vision Study Model” that we said was an early look at the electric MX-5 Miata. Now Mazda has brought back the idea for a proper reveal ahead of the 2023 Tokyo motor show. Called the Iconic SP, the sports car is larger than Mazda’s popular roadster and is powered by a rotary-engined hybrid.

Mazda Iconic SP Details

Mazda hasn’t revealed much about the Iconic SP, but the automaker has published dimensions. The concept is 164.6 inches long, 72.8 inches wide, and 45.3 inches tall, with a wheelbase of about 102 inches. That makes it 10 inches longer than the Miata, four inches wider, three inches shorter, and an 11-inch wheelbase. At 3197 pounds, it’s also about 850 pounds lighter than the Miata.

Under the hood is a hybrid engine that combines an unknown number of electric motors with a rotary engine. Mazda says the rotary engine is used to generate power, meaning it’s an additive model that calls on the battery and doesn’t drive the wheels directly. Mazda uses a similar setup in the MX-30 e-Skyactiv R-EV, which was unveiled earlier this year on global markets with a single-rotor engine that serves as a battery generator.

Mazda says the Iconic SP engine runs on carbon-neutral fuels, but it can also “burn a variety of fuels such as hydrogen.” The powertrain produces 365 horsepower, which should make for a fast slinky sports car. The concept is also said to work like a power switch, allowing you to run electronic devices when you’re outdoors or when they’re turned off.

Mazda says the concept is designed for customers who “want a car that is simply a joy to drive” and features a low center of gravity and a 50:50 split. A sleek fairing sits low between the front fenders thanks to the rotating engine, and the look is surprisingly smooth, like sea glass that has been polished by the waves over the years. Mazda’s signature smiley grille sits beneath what appear to be LED headlights.

The cabin is simple, with a small screen to the right of the steering wheel and a few sliders in the middle. A small digital display sits behind the steering wheel—displaying a map of the Monaco Grand Prix circuit and a g-force meter—and the interior appears to be upholstered in plush suede. The concept is painted in a vibrant color called Viola Red, matching the red stitching on the inside.

It is not clear what the Iconic SP represents. Although the concept is larger than the Miata and has a different powertrain than the MX-5’s 2.0-liter inline-four, Mazda’s Tokyo auto show will feature a variety of Miata models.

Mazda has already said that the Miata will be electrified for the next generation, so it’s possible that a rotary-hybrid setup here could be a reality. Either way, it’s an encouraging look into the future as Mazda remains committed to small, lightweight vehicles.

Connect News Editor

Caleb Miller started blogging about cars at the age of 13, and realized his dream of writing for a car magazine after graduating from Carnegie Mellon University and joining them. Car and Driver the team. He loves obscure and obscure cars, wants to one day own something as amazing as the Nissan S-Cargo, and is a huge fan of motorsports.

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