Mazda Breaks With Tradition For Sexy New Design Language

Mazda’s latest design language, set to premiere on a production vehicle next year, forced the Japanese marque to break with tradition and approach styling from a different perspective.

Ordinarily, Mazda uses clay models when crafting its designs, but more recently, it’s been using digital designers much more heavily to create complex shapes and sculptural body panels.

Speaking to Automotive News, Mazda’s creative design expert Takahiro Matsui said that the new language forced clay and digital designers to cooperate.

“This was the start of co-creation and competition. We had to work together but also battle against each other,” said Matsui.

The first result of this closer relationship was the Vision Coupe, unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show in October. Mazda’s designers spent two years crafting the concept, one dominated by flowing surfaces that offer complex reflections and evoke emotion unlike Mazdas of the past.

Achieving this wasn’t easy, Matsui admitted. In fact, the marque was frequently tweaking the curve radius of body panels, sometimes by as little as 0.01 mm to create the perfect look.

“We have to control the surface down to that minute level to get the look that we want. This process requires a lot of time and energy.”

While Mazda is using technology to help create its future models more than ever, Matsui still believes clay models are superior and will remain pivotal moving forward.

“I still think clay is better. If we could only touch the digital model, then maybe we could win,” he said.

One of the first Mazda production models to feature the firm’s updated design language will be the new Mazda3, which will borrow styling cues from the Kai Inspiration Concept.

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  • Harry Nimmergut

    The side looks as if someone backed into it. Not sure I care for it.

    • Holmer_k

      You don’t like the side dimples? I wonder if they do anything for airflow? Overall, I like the looks of the car. It’s one of the best looking hatches I’ve seen.

    • onlineNetizen

      the pre crumpled look is in

      • D3X

        Render on the hatch is a little too reflective, and maybe too exaggerated. On the concept coupe is more fitting. Either way, both of these designs are quite nice, makes some other marques look frumpy.

  • DMax

    I will commit sudoku if Mazda does not make Speed3. The market is ripe for it. With the void STs have left, we have only GTI (boring) and upcoming Veloster N (ugly) and CTR (too much $) in the hot hatch market.

    • Rocket

      I can’t tell if you’re being funny. Do you mean seppuku, or do you really plan to play a number puzzle in protest? If the former, you better sharpen your knife, because Mazda doesn’t have the resources to invest in low volume specialty models.

      • rodriguez256

        Isn’t that what they did with the hardtop versions of the Miata?

    • EM1

      DMax, you mean seppuku, sometimes referred to as harakiri that involves cutting of the stomach for suicide.

    • Infinite1

      You may have to commit sudoku then. Mazda hasn’t been really into the performance part since the Speed3 was killed off.

    • Brent Morrison

      You enjoy solving puzzles, bro?

  • Mind Synthetic

    if production closely resembles the concept, im sold

    • Bo Hanan

      They just need some decent engines to put in them now. Enough of the 2.3 & 2.5 turbos already.

      • Mind Synthetic

        what do you propose they do, a rotary? personally i would prefer NA high raving engine rather than a turbo. s2000 like would be sweet, but we all know it will never happen. most likely it will be a 2.0 turbo or 2.5 NA

  • Dan Facciolo

    Sunning design, except I can’t help but picture these with an Alfa Romeo logo.

    • PlonPlon

      Oh that is funny: I mentionned Alfa in my comment and had’nt read your comment yet, so yes, I do agree with you on the resemblance with Alfa.

  • Rocket

    Sexy hatch. Of course the production 3 won’t look like that, but even a mild resemblance will be a big improvement.

  • PlonPlon

    I really like Mazda’s design language and find Mazda to be the most latin of the Japanese automakers. Sometimes it makes me think of Alfa.

    • Dan Facciolo

      Totally agree. I feel like they actually capture the Alfa spirit better than the new Alfas.

  • Mr. Crankypants

    I like the Kai’s C-Pillar…hope BLIS & RCTA are standard equipment.
    Also reminds me of the very cool Gremlin X

  • SAW THE MAZDA 3 AT THE NU CAR SHOW AND IT DOESN’T LOOK ANY BETTER IN PERSON THAN IT DOES ON-LINE. IT LOOKS BLOATED IN THE REAR AND THE HOOD JUTS OUT OVER THE FRONT END IN A VERY ODD WAY, AS IF THE HOOD WAS A BIT TOO LONG.

  • eb110americana

    I think both of these are gorgeous (if cheating proportions some). Mazda needs to ditch the round taillights though. They haven’t fit with their designs for some time now, and I feel they are holding things back for nor real reason.

  • Mynameis Taylor

    it’s a really good evolution. I like it. very good looking cars

  • TheBelltower

    Not too shabby.

  • J-Triumf

    Still needlessly long in the front, which is what I hate about current Mazda design. It’d be better if they shorten the hoods and push the A-pillars a bit more forward; I loathe this cab-rearward trend in new car shapes lately.

    • TRAV HEX

      Allot of its sadly safety standards pushing designers into a box it sucks. Also blame the douche bags who keep buying those silly crossovers. Cars are getting taller then they were in the 30s! CARS not trucks.

      • TRAV HEX

        Suzuki is actually coming out with some cool simple retro designs, literally just square boxes. Its refreshing.

        • J-Triumf

          Honestly I hate boxy retro even more. I want more rounded cab-forward wedge style options to pick from for my potential next ride.

  • SteersUright

    If Ferrari made a hatchback and sedan they would look like these Mazdas. BEAUTIFUL!

    • willhaven

      Ferrari did make a hatchback and it didn’t look like a Mazda.

      • SteersUright

        And we all know how beautiful its hatchback turned out. In fact, outside of the LaFerrari, Ferrari should just hand their design work over to Mazda. They’d do better than the ugly crap Ferrari is churning out these days that look anything but Italian.

        • willhaven

          Mazda’s look outdated as soon as they’re released.

  • Nick099

    Beautiful design…now if someone would just add horsepower….lots of horsepower.

  • Big Black Duck

    bring back the MX-6 Mystere

  • Guiero

    A thing of beauty…

  • Infinite1

    This looks pretty nice , a bit bland though but I like the overall shape. I know car makers are going for the minimalist look but I don’t care for it much.

  • BarryFastCars

    I wonder if Mazda will create a sedan version of the next Mazda3. I hope the production version does not have the terrible sight lines the concept has. Mazda will be a premium brand by the end of the decade if they aren’t already. I wonder how much further along that upscale direction they would be if they left the Ford family years earlier. Seems like the best thing that could have happened.

  • Giziclown

    Use Range Rover Velar, or tesla door handles!!!
    Or just don’t use any doorhandles!!!

  • Bhaskar Manda

    Crazy sexy design! Like a lot of the Mazdas, if it makes it to production, it’ll look a lot like the concept, have much better handling than the competition, have less power than them, and it’ll have rust all over the lower body in less than 5 years.

  • Duke Woolworth

    Typical concept: Oversized cart wheels and limited rear vision.Concave sides? Volvo got there first.

  • Paul

    If they could produce them as is but with more normal wheel and tire packages it would be awesome.

  • willhaven

    If Mazda made a hatchback, it’d probably look like the FF.

    • SteersUright

      Mazda makes the most beautiful Italian designs of late. Ferrari’s design of late, it some of the ugliest to come out of Italy. Only Ferrari could design that horrific FF.

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