Mazda sports car concept in Tokyo previews the future of the MX-5

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The Mazda Iconic SP is the clearest indication yet that the MX-5, currently in its fourth generation, will continue delighting drivers worldwide for another model generation. 

With this promising development, the MX-5 will continue to be the Japanese equivalent of the Porsche 911 – evergreen, popular everywhere, highly recognisable and huge fun to drive. 

The styling is a true work of automotive art, which is no surprise coming from Mazda, whose designers have created some of the sexiest sports cars ever in the MX-5 roadster series, the last RX-7 and the RX-8. The Iconic SP also introduces a newly-formulated paint job called Viola Red, which takes the translucence and depth of the colour to another level above that of Mazda's current Soul Red.

Editors%2 Fimages%2 F1698713470343 Mazda Iconicsp Jms2023%286%29 FotorMazda Iconic SP sports curves in all the right places and comes in eye-catching Viola Red.

Tucked under that low, muscular bonnet with sleek "flap-open" headlights is a twin-rotor engine related to the single-rotor range-extender unit in the MX-30 R-EV. The Iconic SP's little rotary engine works as a generator to charge a battery which in turn powers the motor that drives the rear wheels.

The rotary engine is flexible enough to run on synthetic e-fuel derived from renewable sources, or even zero-emission hydrogen, which would give the car some street cred in a carbon-neutral motoring world.

Compared to today's MX-5, the Iconic SP is longer, wider and even lower, but it is also about 400kg heavier. The prototype's healthy 370bhp output, however, gives a power-to-weight ratio which is even better than that of the RX-7 Spirit R. 

The two-seat cockpit is straightforward, with a transmission console separating the driver and co-driver, a neat PRND selector, handy paddle shifters behind a sporty steering wheel, and just two digital displays for driving information etc. Microsuede and Mazda's own biofabric adorn the interior, along with racy red threadings and body-colour side panels which look like almost an extension of the exterior sheet metal. 

At the unveiling of the Iconic SP at Japan Mobility Show 2023 (new-era Tokyo Motor Show), Mazda CEO Masahiro Moro said that "we love the MX-5 and the world loves the MX-5, we are determined in the age of electrification to keep the joy of driving which the MX-5 represents alive, and the Mazda Iconic SP is our dream solution we will work hard to launch."

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Raza Hosyain
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9 months ago