This is the Shinari, the latest in a line of Mazda concept cars in recent years. It demonstrates the future design direction the company will take under its new global studio head, Ikuo Maeda.
Racing car 'intimacy' for the driver
Mazda's Shinari concept car is a four-door four-seat coupe just short of five metres long and two metres wide. The designers responsible for it say it's intended to create a car which 'has hot blood under a cool skin'. Its exterior surfaces are meant to convey strong motion, high quality and Japanese craftsmanship, while the interior was inspired by the intimacy of single-seat racing cars on the driver's side, and a more relaxed ambience around the passengers.
'Nagare' design concept is tamed
The design represents a toning down of the controversial flow-pattern (nagare) style that Mazda had been pursuing under previous design chief Laurens van den Acker, who has moved to Renault. Nagare, said to reflect natural forces like waves and the wind, was felt in some quarters to be too ornate and fussy.
More photos of the Mazda Shinari
Mazda Shinari 1: click to enlarge
Mazda Shinari 2: click to enlarge
Mazda Shinari 3: click to enlarge
Mazda Shinari 4: click to enlarge
Mazda Shinari 5: click to enlarge
Mazda Shinari 6: click to enlargeGlobal studio head Maeda says he is not abandoning nagare entirely, but wants a more down-to-earth version of it that can transfer to production models. Peter Birtwhistle, head of Mazda's European design studio, describes it as nagare in a more disciplined way. 'Nagare got the designers out of their shells. Now we have something here we can latch on to for production models,' he says.
While the Shinari (the name comes from the Japanese for something that is ready to release its energy, such as a bow about to fire an arrow) will not be built, elements of it are likely to be seen on the next Mazda 6.
Maeda became head of the Mazda design studios around a year ago. He has previously overseen the design of the RX-8 four-door coupe and the current Mazda 2 supermini. He is the son of Matasaburo Maedo, who designed the first Mazda RX-7 before going on to head the design studio.