Mazda seeks to continue the pattern of awe and material desire that it set most recently at the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show with the RX Vision concept, a low slung two-seat coupe that seemed to promise a revival of Mazda’s performance model and a return of the Wankel rotary engine, this time turbocharged.
Rumours swirled around the prospect that the same venue in 2017 would witness a more refined, possibly near-production version of that would-be halo sports car, and reached a fever pitch with the teaser of a sleek silver bullet shrouded in shadows.
Now that the concept car is finally here, revealed in full, is it the satisfying resolution to those months of anticipation? We’re not entirely sure. The car we in question has been dubbed Vision Coupe, and despite sharing cues with the RX Vision from two years ago, such as the long bonnet and steeply raked windshield (that extends into an all-glass roof this time), it leans more toward being a glimpse at the successor to the Mazda6 sedan.
Without a doubt, it is still a stunning object. Mazda has used this concept car as a platform to fully showcase the most unbridled expression of their KODO design language. They’ve taken it in a more elegant direction while keeping the very sporty and emotive cues they first explored and latched onto years ago.
According to their official statement, the Vision Coupe’s exterior was made to exude a sense of speed through its “one motion” form. Clearly, they are best trying to explain the almost uniform curve the car’s silhouette exhibits.
The high shoulder line extends from the nose of the car, over the large alloy wheels and custom Bridgestones, rises only subtly, and peaking just above the rear tyres and the small kink of the rear window frame before tapering at the tail lights where it is gracefully integrated into a circular illumination cluster on either side, matched downward to dual exhausts that hug a subdued rear diffuser. The Vision Coupe’s swept back layout would mean that the strict four-seater’s rear occupants are positioned more or less just above the rear axle.
Despite being very low by traditional sedan standards, Mazda has endeavoured to provide as much room as possible for passengers, both measurable and perceived. Inside, all manner of cruft and complexity has been reduced to a near buttonless and uninterrupted cabin that’s a blend of dark leather, Alcantara, exposed anodised aluminium, and wood veneer.
Presumably, nearly all in-car input methods and switchgear apart from the steering wheel, pedals, and gear lever are touch operated, and visual feedback needs served by a single widescreen display that sits atop the centre of the dashboard and extends to the far end of the passenger side - likely an OLED panel that will otherwise blend into the black material that surrounds it. More important data is displayed to the driver via a digital gauge cluster divided between three circular binnacles.
While Mazda’s Kai Concept, also revealed at the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show, can be understood as a clearer representation of an upcoming model, the Vision Coupe’s role as forerunner to a premium four-door coupe available at showrooms is far more ambiguous.
Still, any future model that takes visual inspiration from this concept would stand good chance of being very pleasing to the eye indeed. The next-generation Mazda6, likely due to be launched after the tentative 2019 rollout of the next Mazda3, is to be powered by the company’s innovative new SkyActiv-X family of engines and be constructed upon the same underpinnings as its smaller future sibling, albeit elongated and possibly widened.