One of the stunners at the 2023 Japan Mobility Show is this Mazda Iconic SP concept. But please relax, this is not a fully electric vehicle. We’ll get to its powertrain plan in just a minute or two, but let’s talk about its styling real quick.
Mazda’s designs always oozed simplicity and elegance, and the same is true with this so-called Iconic SP concept. The design is simple, curvaceous and a bit retro. Except for that large yet simple-looking grille at the front, there are no other visible gaps, gapes, slits and scoops. The design is as simple as it can get for a two-door sports coupe. If you thought that the Gordon Murray T.33 has the simplest design for a sports car these days, this pushes the simplicity to the next level and then some.
The doors add some necessary drama to an otherwise super simple design. Notice how the doors aren’t fully like butterfly doors, but they’re more like an extreme version of how Aston Martin doors open. Also, notice that the headlights have a flap to further aid the car slip through the wind more efficiently. The exterior of the concept is painted in Viola Red, a bright gloss red, which apparently is Mazda’s favorite color and aligns with the company’s corporate philosophy of “enriching life-in-motion for those we serve”. Not entirely sure what that means, but looks pretty vivid and wild.
Those wheels with aero flaps look pretty cool too; it appears that Bridgestone made bespoke tyres for the concept. The Iconic SP concept measures 4,180 mm long, 1,850 mm wide and 1,150 mm tall, with a wheelbase of 2,590 mm. Which makes it a bit larger than the Miata but smaller than the Z4/Supra. Mazda claims a weight of 1,450 kg (3,197 lbs). Why so much for such a lightweight-looking two-door sports coupe? Well, there’s a reason.
Inside, things are just as simple as they are on the outside. Notice the sustainably sourced materials used. But anyway, back to the aforementioned reason: you see, the Iconic SP concept’s powertrain is a mash-up of Mazda’s rotary expertise with electric bits. In other words, the concept is a series hybrid vehicle or range-extender electric vehicle or electric vehicle with extended range (whichever you wanna use). Mazda calls this a two-rotor rotary EV system. The vehicle uses electric motors for propulsion but the battery pack is charged by a rotary engine that can accept alternative fuels including hydrogen.
This hybrid setup is claimed to offer a power output of 272 kW or 370 metric hp. Yup, that’s not a lot but horsepower is not the primary goal of this concept. But anyway, Mazda claims a weight distribution of around 50:50 and an excellent driving performance.