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Tokyo show: New-gen Mazda6 takes shape

Forward Vision: Mazda’s Vision Coupe concept will influence the design of all its next-generation models, specifically the all-new Mazda6 expected to land in 2020.

Mazda matures Kodo design with Mazda6-previewing four-door Vision Coupe concept

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Mazda logo25 Oct 2017

By TUNG NGUYEN

MAZDA has gone back to basics with its Vision Coupe concept, revealing an evolution of its Kodo design language in a sleek four-door coupe with smooth flowing lines that will heavily characterise the next-generation Mazda6.

Speaking with Australian journalists at the reveal of the show car on the eve of the Tokyo motor show this week, Mazda Motor Corporation managing executive officer in charge of design and brand style Ikuo Maeda simply nodded and said “yes” when asked if the Vision Coupe concept previews the brand’s new mid-sizer.

Building on the sleek RX-Vision concept of 2015, the Vision Coupe concept sports subtle styling tweaks, a set of rear doors and a redesigned rear end.

All needless extras have been trimmed to give a simple but elegant look.

According to the Japanese car-maker, “the exterior of the next-generation Vision model embodies a minimalist Japanese aesthetic, achieving a simple ‘one motion’ form that exudes a sense of speed”.

The cabin of the Vision Coupe concept is set toward the rear, allowing front occupants – and more importantly, the driver – to be positioned close to the centre of the vehicle.

The design carries over the long bonnet, steeply-raked windscreen and short front overhang of the RX-Vision, giving the Vision Coupe concept a performance-model silhouette.

From the front, lighting is handled by slimline headlamps, while the front fascia is dominated by Mazda’s gaping octagonal grille and jutting splitter.

In profile, the Vision Coupe’s striking shoulder line draws the eye. This line extends from the tip of the bonnet and wraps around at the rear “evoking the look and feel of supple steel”, according to Mazda.

A thin B-pillar masks the rear doors with the second-row seats positioned atop the rear axle, while elements including the barely-there door mirrors and contrasting lower fender strake give the Vision Coupe concept a sense of motion even while stationary.

The rear continues the minimalist theme with slim tail-lights, a simple bumper and quad exhaust outlets.

Occupants in the Vision Coupe concept are treated to a leather and woodgrain interior centred around the concept of ‘ma’ – or space.

The high shoulder line means the door trims sit high, while instrumentation comprises three large dials tucked behind a leather-clad steering wheel with integrated controls.

Mazda has eschewed the trend of growing infotainment displays in favour of a three-screen system integrated into the dashboard. This shows information only when required and otherwise melds into the interior.

While a road-going version will adopt a more production-friendly design, Mr Maeda said it was important that the Vision Coupe concept and new-generation Mazda6 look like they belong in the same family.

“Somehow I truly like to connect to a production vehicle for the future, not everything but something,” he said.

“We can create the simple form … we can do it.”

Mazda Australia managing director Vinesh Bhindi confirmed to GoAuto that the new mid-sizer would also be built on the same SkyActiv vehicle architecture underpinning its new Mazda3, and that at least some variants would be powered by the pioneering SkyActiv-X compression-ignition engine.

Expect to also see revised versions of the existing Mazda6’s 2.5-litre petrol and 2.2-litre turbo-diesel engines carry over, too.

Although timing for the new Mazda6 is unclear, the next-generation Mazda3 small car previewed by the Kai concept in Tokyo this week is mooted for a 2019 debut, with the mid-size sedan expected to follow shortly after.

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