Mazda is not shy of pushing engineering boundaries when it comes to making its cars. After all, the Japanese marque pioneered the Wankel engine (calm down at the back), which sees a rotor spin inside a housing, rather than conventional pistons pumping up and down.
It is beloved by Mazda aficionados and the RX-7 arguably embodied everything that was great about the powertrain: a gorgeous exterior that housed a free-revving, free-spirited motor that could be tuned to produces masses of power but was often prone to blowing up.
At the Japan Mobility show this year, Mazda gave fans of the fabled RX-7 something to get excited about, producing the Mazda Iconic SP concept that not only gives a knowing nod to the aforementioned sports car in its appearance, but also revives the rotary system in a more forward-thinking fashion.
In this instance, the two-rotor, rotary EV system essentially sees a small capacity engine charge the battery, rather than directly drive the wheels. Mazda already has a similar system in place with the MX-30 R-EV, but this concept takes the thinking one step further.
Mazda says that little Wankel can run on various fuel sources, including hydrogen, which will allow it to generate electricity in a “carbon-neutral” fashion. The small rotary engine sits in the middle of the car for 50:50 weight distribution and provides charge to the batteries (size currently unstated), which in turn power a yet-to-be-revealed number of motors.
Power output is slated at 370PS, or around 365bhp, which just so happened to be the sweet spot for those tuning the later high performance RX-7 models. Weight is pegged at 1,450kg, meaning there’s not a ridiculous amount of mass for that power to shift.
Placing the engine in the middle has allowed designers of this concept to give it an exceptionally low hood, while the extreme cinching at the waist lends it an extremely shapely silhouette when viewed from above.
Lower, longer and wider than the current MX-5, it looks set to offer a different driving experience to anything in the current Mazda stable.
Masahiro Moro, Mazda’s Representative Director, President and CEO, said: “Mazda will always deliver vehicles that remind people that cars are pure joy and an indispensable part of their lives”. Let’s hope he can deliver on that promise.
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This post originally appeared on TechToday.