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Mazda Iconic SP: an RX-9 for the EV age? Image by Mazda.

Mazda Iconic SP: an RX-9 for the EV age?
Mazda’s Iconic SP is powered by 370hp twin-rotor-assisted electric powertrain, could be the MX-5 replacement.
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What's all this about?

This glorious-looking thing from Mazda is either the replacement for the long-serving MX-5 sports car, or the next car to get an 'RX' badge from the company... or maybe it's both. Anyway, it's called the Iconic SP and it has been revealed to the world at the Japan Mobility Show (JMS), which used to be known far more prosaically as the Tokyo Motor Show.

It's gorgeous. Is it really going into production?

According to Masahiro Moro, the president and CEO of Mazda, yes it is. He said: "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, with its dual-rotary power generator EV powertrain, is our dream solution. A dream we will work hard to launch. Mazda will always deliver vehicles that remind people that cars are pure joy and an indispensable part of their lives."

Hold up - this is a dual-rotor car?!

It is indeed, hence why we have our suspicions that it might not just be a range-extended electric vehicle (R-EV) replacement for the Mk4 MX-5 when its time comes, but possibly even an RX-9. But don't get too excited - it's not a dual-rotor engine doing the propulsion work. Rather like the recently launched MX-30 R-EV, the Iconic SP is an EV first and foremost, with the dual-rotor engine simply topping up the battery pack on the move. Even so, it's still a drool-inducing thing and we have a few numbers to play with, as well.

Such as?

Such as the Iconic SP makes 370hp, all of which is powering a relatively trim (for an EV, at any rate) 1,450kg of car. Measuring 4,180mm long, 1,850mm wide and just 1,150mm tall, the Mazda concept is a wonderful, low shape, which helps with aerodynamics and also a decent centre-of-gravity that should be sited down near the deck. And if you're worried that having a small petrol engine onboard will make the Iconic SP irrelevant in a zero-carbon future, fret not. Mazda says it can get the dual-rotor to burn a variety of fuels, including hydrogen, while if the battery pack is charged from renewably sourced electricity then the car pretty much registers zero emissions.

This is amazing news. Do we know when it might make it to production?

Not as yet, no. But, while we're talking about the MX-5, there's a bit of news on that front too. Mazda has updated the car for 2024, including new light clusters front and rear with LED daytime running lamps incorporated into them at the nose, while inside there's an 8.8-inch touchscreen infotainment screen and revised instrumentation drafted into service. Engines are unchanged, which means you will still be able to choose between the 132hp 1.5-litre unit or a 184hp 2.0-litre motor, while the Roadster and Retractable Fastback (RF) body styles are also carried over. It, too, received its global debut at the JMS.

Matt Robinson - 25 Oct 2023

2023 Mazda Iconic SP concept. Image by Mazda.2023 Mazda Iconic SP concept. Image by Mazda.2023 Mazda Iconic SP concept. Image by Mazda.2023 Mazda Iconic SP concept. Image by Mazda.2023 Mazda Iconic SP concept. Image by Mazda.

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