Mazda has always been a pioneer in the automotive industry, especially in rotary engines. The company has a rich history of producing iconic sports cars powered by the unique and innovative Wankel engine, such as the RX-7, RX-8, and the legendary 787B that won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1991.
But in recent years, Mazda has shifted its focus to more mainstream and environmentally friendly models, such as the Mazda CX-5 crossover and the Mazda3 hatchback. The rotary engine, known for its high power output, smooth operation, and distinctive sound but also for its high fuel consumption, emissions, and maintenance costs, seemed to be fading away from Mazda's lineup.
However, at the 2023 Tokyo Motor Show, Mazda surprised everyone by unveiling a stunning concept car that revived the rotary spirit: the Mazda Iconic SP. This sleek and futuristic two-seater sports car is designed to showcase Mazda's vision for the future of rotary-powered vehicles, combining cutting-edge technology, performance, and style.
What is the Mazda Iconic SP?
The Mazda Iconic SP is a concept car that represents Mazda's ultimate expression of the rotary engine. The name stands for "Iconic Sports Prototype," and it reflects Mazda's ambition to create a new icon for the 21st century.
The Iconic SP is based on a lightweight and rigid carbon fiber monocoque chassis, with a low and wide stance that enhances its aerodynamics and stability. The bodywork features smooth curves and sharp edges that create a dynamic and elegant silhouette. The front fascia is dominated by a large grille that incorporates Mazda's signature wing motif, flanked by slim LED headlights that extend to the fenders. The rear end features a distinctive spoiler that integrates with the taillights, creating a sense of continuity and harmony.
The Iconic SP is powered by a next-generation rotary engine that Mazda calls the RENESIS e-SKYACTIV X. This engine combines the advantages of the rotary design with Mazda's innovative SKYACTIV technology, which improves efficiency, performance, and emissions. The RENESIS e-SKYACTIV X uses a dual-rotor configuration that displaces 1.6 liters and produces 300 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque. The engine also features a mild hybrid system that recovers energy from braking and coasting and uses it to power an electric motor that assists the engine during acceleration and cruising.
The powertrain is paired with a six-speed dual-clutch transmission that delivers quick and smooth shifts and sends power to the rear wheels via a limited-slip differential. The Iconic SP also features an adaptive suspension system that adjusts the damping force according to the road conditions and driving mode, as well as an electric power steering system that provides precise and responsive feedback.
The Iconic SP offers three driving modes: Normal, Sport, and Track. In Normal mode, the car prioritizes comfort and efficiency, using the electric motor to assist the engine and reduce fuel consumption. In Sport mode, the car enhances performance and responsiveness, using the electric motor to boost power output and sharpen throttle response. In Track mode, the car unleashes its full potential, using the electric motor to optimize torque distribution and improve traction and stability.