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First Look

Mazda wants to make the RX-7-inspired Iconic SP a real production car. Woohoo!

And as to why it’s got pop up headlights? ‘It looks cool.’ Consider this your order form

Published: 20 Feb 2024

A car company has exclusively revealed to how it wants to build… a new car. A shocking revelation, yes, even more so here because the car this car company really wants to build is one inspired by a proper Japanese icon.

Welcome back, Mazda RX-7. How we’ve missed you.

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“The RX-7 was our biggest source of inspiration,” Mazda’s chief designer Masashi Nakayama told TG about the gorgeous Iconic SP concept, first revealed in October 2023 at the Japan Mobility Show.

“Our hope is that people will remember the RX-7 when they see it.” Job done, we’d proffer: the Iconic SP concept cleverly takes the 7’s silhouette and applies a thoroughly modern, thoroughly Mazda reinterpretation. As one of the few car companies offering really clean designs, the SP’s is a really, really good one.

“Mazda’s designs should trigger something deep within our mind,” Nakayama-san added. “It’s not a matter of logic. It’s easiest to think about it from a child’s perspective. I think there’s a type of design that’s most appealing to kids.

“Take toy cars for example. Children usually look down at toy cars from above, and whichever car has the most appealing shape is the one they’ll like. When you look down on this car from above, the form is really striking.”

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There’s a really cool update on the 7’s pop-up headlights, too, something Nakayama-san was adamant should remain. “Someone once asked me why the headlights open upward. The answer I gave them was ‘why not’. It looks cool, right?

“I explained that it’s beyond logic. That’s the kind of design that Mazda will pursue. Designs that truly resonate in our hearts.”

What resonates beneath that design is... a tweak on the MX-30’s powertrain. Mazda said there’s a 365bhp on offer via a rotary engine and electricity. Just like in the MX-30, the rotary charges the battery which of course powers the cars rear wheels, and we’re told the engine is mounted nice and low in the centre of the car.

“The RX-7 was marketed with the catchphrase ‘designed by rotary’,” Nakayama-san said. “The rotary engine is what made [it] possible. With that in mind, our design incorporates a lot of motifs similar to the RX-7.

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“I’d like to make this car [the Iconic SP] our next project. I want to see it out in the world that much,” Nakayama-san added. Where do we sign?

8 minutes 4 seconds

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