Mazda Once Again Hints At A Rotary Sports Car Revival

The recently-showcased Mazda Iconic SP may just become a production reality after all… 

In what has certainly felt like it has become an annual tradition now since the canning of its RX-8 over a decade ago, Mazda has yet again recently hinted that a new rotary sports car may just be right around the corner. Though perhaps this time round there may just be a little bit more hope than usual, such is as the Japanese automaker has apparently hinted that it will once again be reforming a team dedicated to rotary engine development next month. 

Perhaps even more excitingly too is that reading between the lines of what Mazda President and CEO Katsuhiro Moro has to say about this most-recent rotary revival story, there may actually be a chance for the drop-dead-gorgeous Iconic SP rotary sports car previously showcased at the 2023 Japan Mobility Show to actually soon once again fill the streets with the glorious brap-braaaap tune of rapidly rotating doritos. 

In a seemingly shocking announcement that was made at the ongoing 2024 Tokyo Auto Salon, Mazda’s President began by thanking everyone for the interest Iconic SP before confirming for the aforementioned dedicated team of engineers responsible for rotary engine development will be established on February 1. The Japanese automaker had previously disbanded the development team in charge of the rotary engine back in 2018.

Moro-san further added during his speech that Mazda’s continued development of its now-synonymous rotary power plant will be in the aim of further finding pathways towards a more eco-centric future for the automaker. “In order to break through the challenges of the carbon neutral era, rotary engine engineers who have acquired a broad technical perspective that transcends the boundaries of engine types and cutting-edge internal combustion engine technology, and who have been trained as users of model-based development, will reunite. It is not so easy, but I hope we can take a step forward into a new chapter of insatiable challenge,” he added. 

Now from the above statement made by Moro-san, it does somewhat indicate for the production Iconic SP to therefore have its spinning doritos be act as a generator like what is currently seen in the MX-30 instead of directly driving the (presumably rear) wheels. Mazda’s top brass nevertheless still is confident that this twin-rotor compact sports car will be capable of delivering “top notch” performance, with even aspirations for it competing against the Porsche 911.  

He went on to say this light and lithe sports car (which apparently will weigh in at just 1,450 kg) will still be capacious enough for two people and their luggage. And of course thanks to the rotary range extender too, the driving experience of this sports car will be one that permanently hangs “a smile on your face” without the “inconvenience” of range anxiety.

What has however been conspicuously missing from the speech is an actual date on when we can expect to see this rotary sports car be purchasable, with the fact that the development team isn’t even formed yet a clue for it to perhaps be only available in 2026 at the earliest. As alluded too in the beginning of this article too, it is not entirely unheard off for Mazda to once again shuffle this announcement under the rug before bringing it back up again to gain some attention next year. 

Having said that though, the suckers for this weird engine (which I do include myself in that eclectic group) will cling onto any hope that there will soon be a rotary sports car to be had with a factory warranty, which would of course come in handy with these temperamental doritos.

Joshua Chin

Automotive journalist. Professional work on and Personal writing found at Instagram: @driveeveryday

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