Next-Gen Mazda RX-7 Set to Debut Sooner Than Anticipated

Nakayama: Automaker Aims to Produce Iconic SP Concept

It’s been hinted by Mazda chief designer Masashi Nakayama that the beloved Mazda MX-5 Miata could have a new companion in the near future. The Iconic SP concept, which has been highly praised, may actually come to life as an extra member of the Mazda family.

In an interview with Top Gear, Nakayama expressed Mazda’s keen interest in transforming the Iconic SP concept into a real-life production model, serving as a worthy successor to the iconic RX-7 for the contemporary era. The designer further stated, “I am determined to make this car our next venture. Witnessing it on the roads is my ultimate goal.”

At the 2023 Japan Mobility Show, a new concept was revealed which drew inspiration from the third-generation RX-7, specifically the Series 8 Spirit R variant. As Nakayama stated, “Our hope is that people will remember the RX-7 when they see it.” The resemblance between the two is striking, with the Iconic SP concept featuring a distinct design that also incorporates elements from the previous generation RX-7.

The main purpose of the design is to evoke your inner child. According to Nakayama, the design must “activate something profound in our thoughts.” He pointed out that the Vision SP concept is most attractive when seen from a bird’s eye view.

“Consider toy cars, for instance,” he began. “Typically, children view toy cars from a higher vantage point, and the car with the most attractive design is the one that captures their attention. From an aerial perspective, the shape of this car is truly eye-catching.”

According to recent safety regulations, pop-up headlights have become a thing of the past. However, Nakayama has managed to revive this beloved feature, albeit with a unique twist. As he puts it, “Someone once questioned me about the upward opening of the headlights. My response was simply, ‘why not’. I clarified that it goes beyond rationality. This is the type of design that Mazda strives for – designs that deeply connect with our emotions.”

Similar to its predecessor, the original RX-7, the renowned SP concept also draws power from a rotary engine. However, the function of the rotary is slightly different in this case. It serves as a generator, providing energy to a 365-horsepower electric motor located on the back axle. This unique setup makes it an electric vehicle without the burden of a bulky battery. As a result, it boasts a light weight of under 3,200 lbs and a well-balanced weight distribution of 50:50.

Mazda’s recently launched RE Development Group is taking charge of the creation of this powertrain. This dedicated team is determined to revitalize the rotary engine for a sustainable future, allowing it to operate on a range of eco-friendly alternative fuels, extending the pleasure of traditional combustion engines.

Hopefully, a commercially viable Iconic SP would feature an electrified rotary engine that powers the wheels directly, giving customers the nostalgia-inducing excitement they desire while meeting the efficiency standards of contemporary automobiles.


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