Future-Forward: The Mazda Iconic SP – A Hybrid Sports Car with Rotary Power


A year ago, Mazda gave us a glimpse of a sleek sports car concept, the “Vision Study Model,” which we speculated might be an early look at an electric MX-5 Miata. Now, Mazda has reintroduced this concept, now known as the “Iconic SP,” for a full reveal ahead of the 2023 Tokyo auto show. Surprisingly, this sports car is notably larger than Mazda’s iconic roadster and feaatures a hybrid rotary engine.

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Mazda Iconic SP in Detail

Mazda has been somewhat tight-lipped about the specifics of the Iconic SP, but they did release its dimensions. This concept car stretches out to 164.6 inches in length, and 72.8 inches in width, and stands at 45.3 inches in height, boasting an almost 102-inch wheelbase. This makes it approximately 10 inches longer, four inches wider, three inches shorter, and with an 11-inch longer wheelbase than a standard Miata. Additionally, it’s heftier, weighing in at around 3197 pounds, which is roughly 850 pounds more than a Miata.

mazda iconic sp concept

Under the hood, you’ll find a hybrid system combining an undisclosed number of electric motors with a twin-rotor rotary engine. Mazda clarifies that the rotary engine’s role is power generation, essentially acting as a range extender to charge the battery and not directly propelling the wheels. A similar setup is employed in the MX-30 e-Skyactiv R-EV, revealed earlier, with a single-rotor engine serving as a battery generator.

mazda iconic sp concept

Mazda claims that the Iconic SP’s engine operates on a carbon-neutral fuel source, and it has the versatility to “burn various fuels such as hydrogen.” This powertrain produces an impressive 365 horsepower, ensuring a brisk performance from this sleek sports car. Notably, the concept also doubles as a power supply, enabling you to run appliances during outdoor activities or in case of power outages.

Mazda’s pitch for this concept is clear—it’s designed for those who seek a car that embodies the pure joy of driving. With its low center of gravity and 50:50 weight distribution, it promises an exhilarating experience on the road. The sleek hood sits low between the front fenders, courtesy of the compact rotary engine, and the bodywork is as smooth as a sea glass polished by countless waves. Below its pop-up LED headlights, you’ll find a rendition of Mazda’s iconic smiling grille.

mazda iconic sp concept

Inside, the cabin follows a minimalist design, featuring a small screen to the right of the steering wheel and a set of sliders on the center console. A petite digital gauge cluster, displaying a track map of the Monaco Grand Prix circuit and a g-force meter, resides behind the steering wheel. The interior surfaces are adorned with plush-looking suede, complementing the concept’s vibrant Viola Red paint and the red stitching within.

The exact purpose of the Iconic SP remains somewhat mysterious. While it’s notably larger than the Miata and boasts an entirely different powertrain compared to the MX-5’s 2.0-liter inline-four, Mazda’s Tokyo auto show exhibit will still showcase a variety of Miata models.

Mazda has already confirmed that the next generation of the Miata will incorporate some degree of electrification. Therefore, it’s conceivable that the rotary-hybrid setup in the Iconic SP could find its way into the future Miata lineup. Regardless, this concept provides reassurance that Mazda remains dedicated to producing small, lightweight sports cars in the future.