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