This is a wild concept.
Mazda threw a curveball at the Japan Mobility Show, unveiling a surprise that wasn't a new rendition of the Miata, but rather, a spectacular homage to the third-generation FD RX-7. Enter the Iconic SP, a sleek blend of old-school charm and futuristic engineering.
Visually, the Iconic SP is an ode to the RX-7 lineage. Boasting the curvaceous body reminiscent of the FD, the car dazzles with unique features like pop-up headlights – a nod to the 90s automotive design, and circular taillights that echo later FD models. While nostalgia is a key factor, Mazda expertly infuses contemporary design elements, such as its signature grille and modern, retractable angular headlights. The Iconic SP's dimensions place it squarely between the RX-8 and the Miata, balancing compactness with presence.
On the inside, minimalism rules. Drawing inspiration from the FD's ethos, the cabin is driver-focused. A simple dash, punctuated only by the driver's instrument binnacle and a strategically placed infotainment screen, makes for a distraction-free environment. The center console, with its switches, emulates a gated shifter, reminiscent of designs seen in today's high-end sports cars.
But the real excitement lies under the hood. Mazda unveiled a twin-rotor hybrid powertrain, dropping hints about its potential plug-in hybrid nature, although confirmation remains pending. The company emphasized the engine's scalability, sparking intrigue about its adaptability across various models. Another impressive feature is the engine's capability to operate on hydrogen, "carbon-neutral" fuels, and likely gasoline. The combined output stands at a commendable 364 horsepower, with Mazda remaining tight-lipped about its distribution between the engine and electric components, as well as the drivetrain details. However, knowing Mazda's history, a rear-wheel-drive system for a vehicle of this stature seems probable. The vehicle’s weight distribution is perfectly balanced, front and rear, and tips the scale at 3,197 pounds.
The Iconic SP is undeniably a marvel in design and innovation. While Mazda's foray back into the rotary realm with the MX-30 remains exclusive to Europe, the fate of the Iconic SP's powertrain in the global market, especially the U.S., is uncertain. As bewitching as the Iconic SP is, whether it transitions from concept to production remains a tantalizing question. One can only hope, albeit cautiously, to see this masterpiece on the roads soon.