liter MZR inline-4
(from Ford Motor
Company Press Release) MAZDA RYUGA CONCEPT: AN EVOLVED ZOOM-ZOOM
DETROIT – How will Mazda’s Zoom-Zoom spirit achieve form and
substance in the future? Laurens van den Acker, Design Division
General Manager for Hiroshima, Japan’s Mazda Motor C orporation ,
disturbed the status-quo and challenged every designer in his three
global studios with that very question upon his arrival at Mazda
early last year.
After months of soul searching, hundreds of sketches and thousands
of discussions, meetings, arguments and revisions, the first part of
the answer was unveiled at the recent Los Angeles Auto Show. Mazda’s
provocative Nagare (pronounced “nah-gah-reh”) – Japanese for “flow”
– concept introduced a new surface language that evokes the emotion
of motion in a stationary automobile.
Nagare is one of a hundred or more Japanese words that describe the
embodiment of motion – such as how wind shapes desert sand, the way
currents stir the ocean’s floor or the way waves lap at the shores
of a lake. van den Acker explains, “Nagare is purposely emotional
and expressive. Anyone who sees it is drawn for a closer look;
they’re moved to caress surfaces inspired by nature, to understand
how they could work on an automobile.
“But we wanted to take the idea further,” van den Acker continued.
“The Ryuga concept we’re presenting in Detroit is our next step in
the evolution of Nagare. It’s an exploratory design study that’s
more realistic than Nagare and therefore more useful in gauging
reactions from those who see it.
“To put this in fashion terms, if Nagare is haute couture (a custom
designed and tailored garment), Ryuga is prêt-a-porter
(ready-to-wear, not one of a kind).”
RYUGA: “ree-yoo-ga,” Japanese for gracious flow
“Ryuga celebrates refined and controlled motion,” van den Acker
continued. “Nagare is a dream or an emotion that’s just beginning to
take shape; Ryuga extends that idea by adding definition.
“To draw this new surface language closer in time to a car Mazda
will produce for sale, we’ve added interior and powertrain details
that were purposely absent from Nagare.
“Mazda is a brand that thrives on distinctive design. We are
standing up to be recognized for boldness and originality. We have
the courage to forge leadership in selected areas such as dynamic
performance and striking design. Combined, these attributes give
each of our products the soul of a sports car. The flow expressions
that Nagare and Ryuga embody will be seen both in the near term on
other concept cars and in the long term on production models.
“We’re working on the face of Mazda to make it more distinguished
and instantly recognizable. We can adjust this new surface language
to suit various models within the Mazda family. The recent success
of our product line has given us the confidence to seize this look
as our own.
GRACIOUS FLOW – MOTION BORN IN NATURE
Large wheels placed at the far corners of Ryuga’s exterior lend a
highly stable, balanced stance. The aggressive wedge shape imparts
motion even when this sports coupe is parked. Volumes that are small
in front, larger at the rear, wrap around and over the wheels to
give the exterior tension and direction.
“After we began studying natural phenomenon for inspiration, Mazda
designers were initially hesitant to apply their findings, but I
encouraged them to blend artistic and sculptural beauty to see where
it led. Once we did, the results were both original and instantly
appealing. While this initiative began with textures inspired by
nature, it goes much deeper than that. We’re looking at grand
gestures that wrap all over the vehicle’s exterior and throughout
the interior. Some of the proportions are dramatically wind-swept.
There’s drama at every turn. There are no square corners.”
Yasushi Nakamuta, chief designer for this project, previously headed
the design of Mazda’s immediately successful third-generation 2006
MX-5 Miata. Nakamuta says, “Ryuga incorporates elegant and refined
design treatments which express Japanese concepts of mysterious
beauty and intelligence, based on the new design theme that began
with the Nagare concept car unveiled at the LA Auto Show.”
Conducting a guided tour of the exterior, Nakamuta points out
several key features:
* Ryuga’s side surfaces were inspired by karesansui (Japanese dry
gardens). The carefully raked pebbles in these garden s represent
peaceful ripples caused by a breeze over a pool of water. The
karesansui’s man-made image of natural flow is represented in the
Ryuga’s surface texture to express simplicity and refinement.
* The headlamp shape resembles the flow of morning dew dropping from
bamboo leaves. Advanced LED and fluorescent tube technology will
enable such a striking design to be used on a production vehicle in
the foreseeable future.
* To impart motion, the 21-inch wheel spokes – different on the left
and right sides – are slightly twisted as if they’re delivering
torque. To convey the feeling of gas turbine blades, the trailing
edges of the wheel spokes are accented with a tinge of body color.
* Flowing lava inspired both Ryuga’s exterior hue and the tail lamp
design. Depending on the incident light, Ryuga’s surface appears to
be shades of yellow, red, and blue, exactly like molten, flowing
lava. Notes van den Acker: “The hot red finish goes straight to your
* The roof molding tightens up the flowing cabin and gives an accent
to the body styling as well. Cameras located at the forward end of
each molding convey rear views to a center cockpit display screen.
Turn signals are also integrated into these protruding accents.
Reflecting its Japanese origin, Ryuga is both simple and complex.
While the dominant flow theme is simple, the details – such as the
side surfaces and the wheels – are intricate. Solidity and fluidity
live here together, in harmony.
FLOW THROUGH INTERIOR
Thanks to Mazda’s innovative packaging expertise, Ryuga is
significantly shorter and lower than today’s four-passenger RX-8
sports car, yet it too accommodates four passengers in roomy
comfort. A relatively long (110.2-inch) wheelbase and two large
gull-wing doors provide a wide-open invitation to the interior.
As the doors rise to expose the interior of Ryuga and allow easy
slide-in access, the passengers are presented with the fusion of a
cockpit - designed to maximize the emotional connection between the
car and driver - with the social atmosphere of the rear passenger
space, where lounge-like comfort is ensured through expansive space
and Nagare-inspired design.
The front bucket seats provide ample lateral support for energetic
driving with the shape of the seats creating an impression of
movement which is further emphasized by the patterns in the
The experimental ‘floating’ center cluster allows a high level of
interface between the driver and the multi-function touch panel
without having to take one’s eyes off the road ahead. Information
necessary for safe and dynamic driving is available to the driver
with RPM and speed (which is shown in both analog and digital format
s ) being displayed on the same axis.
Flowing upwards, the center cluster dynamically penetrates the front
information panel which reflects Zoom-Zoom futuristic and sporty
design craftsmanship, as well as an integrated interface between man
and machine. Elongated pods give the cockpit depth while bringing
information closer to the driver’s eyes. An open-top steering wheel
provides enhanced sight lines to the instruments and the road ahead
Flow textures are emphasized in the door trim with lines that begin
at the center of Ryuga’s Mazda-trademark five-pointed grille and
sweep rearward through interior surfaces. The artistic combination
of leather, polished aluminum and translucent plastic give the
interior a warm glow reminiscent of illumination themes already in
use in current Mazda products.
DRIVING PERFORMANCE – ENVIRONMENT AND SAFETY TECHNOLOGIES
Mazda is working on various technologies to deliver Zoom-Zoom
driving in the future, including earth-friendly environmental
technologies and people-friendly safety technologies. As part of the
initiatives, an E85/Gasoline FLEX FUEL engine which runs on
sustainable bio fuel could be used in Ryuga. This engine delivers
torque and power, balancing driving and environmental performance.
Other important features that will support safe driving are the
Charge-Coupled Device (CCD) cameras installed for the rear
monitoring system and the blind-spot monitoring system. These help
ensure safe driving while changing lanes and allow easy
identification of potential obstacles.
In order to ensure the car provides a Zoom-Zoom driving experience,
which is the basis behind all the other features, an open top
steering wheel is employed with highly sensitive settings to respond
to the driver’s smallest input. The car also features steer-by-wire
technology and gauges that deliver superbly clear information to the
driver. The dramatic wheels with TOYO PROXES 245/35R-21 tires
complete the driving experience, and the sophisticated original
tread pattern perfectly suits the Ryuga’s design concept.
FLOW, AS A STATE OF MIND
“The real significance of both Nagare and Ryuga,” notes van den
Acker, “is that it’s the first time Mazda has ventured forth in
search of a design motif that is undeniably new. Both concepts are
exploratory studies and neither is planned for production. While
Mazdas of the past and present have embraced flow in various ways,
it’s our intention to greatly intensify that character in the