The best news from the 2017 Tokyo and Los Angeles auto shows is this Mazda 4-door coupe concept named the “VISION COUPE”… perhaps not a prototype but introduced as a conceptual evolution of the KODO styling. It’s simply stunning.
And while this concept has no stated powerplant, it’s clearly close to production ready. The leading edge of the hood would have to be moved back, provisions made for safety bumpers, appropriately sized wheels and tires… and a powerplant. And that’s the big question here.
Also introduced was the KAI CONCEPT, shown below, but this is clearly a preview of the next generation Mazda 3 (although we very much hope without the enormous C-pillar).
The following video shows the new technology as well as some recently updated products.
Mazda is on a roll and has also introduced a new gasoline engine named SKYACTIV-X which can use compression for ignition under normal circumstances. This will likely debut in the next Mazda3.
The VISION COUPE is a follow-on to the previously shown RX-Vision (in red below)… an equally stunning 2-door coupe that may have been envisioned as the next RX-7, but according to Mazda was not a prototype. Named “RX” for it’s rotary powerplant, it’s also clear that there won’t be a rotary powered Mazda at any point going forward (although apparently research continues into it’s use as an on-board charging system for a battery powered electric car). The two concepts are shown side-by-side here:
This video walks us around the VISION COUPE concept:
If there is a market for a premium large 4-door coupe, and that is becoming more difficult to envision given the market shift to SUVs, and if Mazda has production capacity (and a financial plan) to build something along these lines, Mazda will need a truly exciting and leading-edge engine to power it. The further difficulty here is that Japan, China, and Europe are all on the verge of banning gasoline engines in the 2025-2030 timeframe, or at a minimum requiring a hybrid powerplant. Mazda is also researching gasoline hybrid engines… and the new partnership with Toyota might also provide shared engineering here. While the new compression ignition engine+hybrid power might be interesting, instead, since this is a premium high-end car, we’d suggest the existing “big” 2.5 liter turbo engine coupled in series with the future hybrid electric motor. That’d be worth the premium cost that a car looking like this would justify.
Mazda Press Release follows:
Mazda Unveils KAI CONCEPT and VISION COUPE at Tokyo Motor Show
HIROSHIMA, Japan—Mazda Motor Corporation unveiled two concept models, the Mazda KAI CONCEPT and the Mazda VISION COUPE at the 45th Tokyo Motor Show today. Organized by the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association, the show will be open to the public from Oct. 28 through Nov. 5. Mazda has scheduled a press conference for 1:40 p.m. today.
Mazda KAI CONCEPT
The Mazda KAI CONCEPT compact hatchback heralds a new generation of Mazda cars. Featuring the next-generation SKYACTIV-X gasoline engine, SKYACTIV-Vehicle Architecture and a more mature expression of the KODO design language, the model embodies the technology, engineering and design concepts that will define the next generation of Mazda cars. Refinements in all areas of dynamic performance have produced a dramatically quieter, more comfortable ride and an enhanced performance feel. The KAI CONCEPT features muscular, solid proportions and its form is brought to life by a delicate flow of reflections over the body sides.
Mazda VISION COUPE
The VISION COUPE represents Mazda’s design vision for next-generation models; a more mature expression of KODO applies a Japanese aesthetic to achieve more elegant and premium styling. The exterior features a “one motion” form that exudes a sense of speed and the interior combines three-dimensional depth with a strong longitudinal axis to create a relaxed space that maintains a sense of speed.
In line with its “Sustainable Zoom-Zoom 2030” long-term vision for technology development, Mazda aims to use the fundamental appeal of the automobile — driving pleasure — to inspire people, enrich society and help bring about a beautiful earth. By offering an experience of car ownership that celebrates driving, the company hopes to enrich lives and build a strong bond with customers.