New Mazda Iconic SP previews electric MX-5 with rotary generator
The rotary sports car returns! But not as you’ve ever seen before. Mazda’s tiny triangular pistons are set to create a revolutionary hybrid-electric drivetrain which will run on carbon-neutral fuels.
Mazda has never been scared to do things differently. As the pioneer of the rotary combustion engine, and the only manufacturer to persevere with it, the brand has always marched to the beat of its own drum.
Therefore, it makes sense that if Mazda is to have its hand forced towards an all-electric future by legislation, why shouldn’t it carry out the transition in its own unique way?
Enter the Iconic SP Concept. And let’s be honest, even if it was powered by the engine from a Peel P50, it’d still be worth talking about: just look at it! Curvaceous lines, slender design features, and a swooping silhouette, all make this one of the prettiest cars the brand has ever penned. Don’t forget about those RX-7-esque pop-up headlights, either.
Need new electric vehicle tyres?
Enter your registration and postcode and we’ll show you the best tyres for your EV
Although Mazda hasn’t explicitly confirmed that the SP directly foreshadows a new MX-5, all signs certainly point that way. If this is the case, the new model will be dramatically faster than any which have gone before. With 370 bhp of instantaneous electric oomph at its disposal, we’d guess that the 0-60 mph time should be in the sub-5 second range — whilst still pedaling an all-new, environmentally conscious narrative in the process.
Helping to separate the SP from the current crop of EV sports cars such as MG’s Cyberster, is an on-board twin-rotor generator which is said to run on anything from conventional petrol to sustainable and carbon-neutral fuels, like hydrogen.
While this sounds like a fascinating solution to range anxiety, the question is, will it retain the pure, lightweight feel for which the MX-5 has long been famed? One positive on this front, is that by utilising an unusual hybrid generator set-up, the Japanese manufacturer could get away with fitting far fewer batteries, thus reducing much of the heft associated with conventional EVs.
To this end, the new car is said to weigh-in at just 1450kg — a similar figure to contemporary ICE competitors, but still some way shy of the current MX-5’s slight 1100kg kerbweight.
It stands to reason that the new MX-5 could be the first guilt-free sports car designed for real purists and petrol heads to enjoy. Mazda certainly thinks so anyway, as Masahiro Moro, Representative Director, President, and CEO, states “We will always deliver vehicles that remind people that cars are pure joy and an indispensable part of their lives.”
Only time will tell if this preview concept can materialise into a full-production model. If it does, though, do you think it will be the new MX-5, or a successor to the long-discontinued RX-8? And more importantly, can it deliver on Mazda’s bold promises?
Hero image credit: Mazda