Mazda bringing back team that develops rotary engines

Back at the 2023 Japan Mobility Show, Mazda wowed everyone with the reveal of the Iconic SP sports car concept. With its unique “Viola Red” paint, sleek styling, and compact dimensions, the concept car has the makings of being either a next-generation MX-5 or even a successor to the rotary-engined RX-7.

Fast forward to the Tokyo Auto Salon which is geared towards enthusiasts, Mazda president and CEO Masahiro Moro has shared something that fans of the Wankel engine will love to hear, as well as a hint of what’s going to happen in the next few years for Mazda. After closing down its rotary engine department in 2018, Mazda is reviving the division which will be established on February 1.

Mazda to revive rotary engine division for Iconic SP project image

"I am very happy and deeply moved by all the support and encouragement I have received for the compact sports car concept. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all. With your encouragement, we are launching a rotary engine development group on February 1 to move closer to this dream," said Moro.

Based on that statement, the head honcho of Mazda seems to suggest that the Iconic SP could eventually reach production. When the Iconic SP was revealed, it had an electric motor driving the wheels, and a rotary engine that can burn not just gasoline, but also hydrogen and carbon-neutral fuels to generate electricity.

Mazda to revive rotary engine division for Iconic SP project image

Mazda says power could reach up to 370 PS which is nowhere near supercar levels, but the Iconic SP is specifically designed for customers who “love cars” and “desire a car that embodies the joy of driving”.

However, it may still take a few years for Mazda to create the production version of the Iconic SP as they’re just about to start reviving the rotary division this year. If we were to take a guess, the Iconic SP production model might not be around at least until 2026 or 2027.