Mazda Iconic SP Concept is the Rotary-Powered Miata We Always Wanted

Kyle Patrick
by Kyle Patrick

Please build this, Mazda.

Mazda didn't miss the opportunity to debut its own new wares at the Tokyo Mobility Show on Wednesday. In fact, with a theme of two-door reveals at the show, Mazda arguably takes the cake with this, the pretty Iconic SP concept.

Now the Japanese company doesn't say "MX-5," "Miata," or even "Roadster" anywhere in the accompanying press release. And yes, at 164.6 inches (4,180 milimeters) from low nose to pert tail, this beauty is almost an entire foot longer than the current ND-generation car. Yet the styling screams Miata, and we already know the next generation of the evergreen sports car is getting some level of electrification. That's exactly what's happening here, with the Iconic SP housing a unique two-rotary EV system.

This setup reads like a more powerful version of the range-extender found overseas in the MX-30 e-Skyactiv R-EV. An extra rotor provides extra power: Mazda says this setup pushes out 365 horsepower, way more than any Miata (or even RX-7) ever has. Range anxiety? The central screen suggests at least 492 km (305 miles) of range, which isn't far off what an ND will do with a full tank of premium. Mazda points out the rotary portion of the powertrain can run off carbon-neutral fuel and hydrogen.

This being Mazda, the company has targeted a low center of gravity and a 50:50 weight distribution. Curb weight is up, to 3,196 pounds (1,450 kilograms), and there's no mention of the actual battery capacity.

Can we just focus on how the Iconic SP looks again, though? Low-slung and curvy with minimal creases, it features an inset grille with light-up badge and pair of thin slits for the headlights, complete with fold-up covers. (We're pretty sure the latter wouldn't meet pedestrian safety standards.) Powerful haunches curve into a gently flicked-up lip, sitting above a clean tail with a lit Mazda word mark. The taillights offer up a new treatment on the traditional round Miata motif, with two circles and bodywork filling in the overlapping space. The whole package comes coated in a new Viola Red. Oh yeah, and the doors raise up and out, because of course they do. While the Iconic SP is undoubtedly a coupe, that thick black seam around the windshield certainly suggests a convertible, right?

The cabin is just as pretty, all pared back minimalism done up in various shades of blue. The carbon-backed seats look sweet, and come wrapped in Mazda's Bio Fabric. A fully digital instrument cluster—with a track map from the Monaco Grand Prix, oddly—sits behind the flat-bottom steering wheel, with ceramic-white paddle shifters tucked between. Yes, paddles: you'll also find a unique PRND setup on that high transmission tunnel. Lexus might be fiddling with the idea of faux manual transmissions in EVs, but Mazda evidently isn't.

We have plenty more questions about the Mazda Iconic SP concept. One of the most important: will Mazda build it? We sure hope so. A move upmarket for the brand's de facto flagship might be the best way for the Miata to continue on in an EV-focused world. And boy would it be pretty.

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Kyle Patrick
Kyle Patrick

Kyle began his automotive obsession before he even started school, courtesy of a remote control Porsche and various LEGO sets. He later studied advertising and graphic design at Humber College, which led him to writing about cars (both real and digital). He is now a proud member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC), where he was the Journalist of the Year runner-up for 2021.

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Join the conversation
  • Pbug56 Pbug56 on Oct 25, 2023

    Very confusing; is it a rotary engine or a BEV or a hybrid?

  • David David on Oct 26, 2023

    I remember the second generation RX7. Great car....unless you were 6'2". The only way I fit was to rack the seat back to a 35 degree angle...kinda' like the F16. Great in a fighter, but terrible for a car. Fingers crossed!