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Thursday, September 2, 2010

Mazda's Flow evolves into the Soul of Motion, Shinari Concept now in Real Life Shots

Updated with video from the presentation] While the debate rages on regarding the Mazda Shinari's inspiration (Fisker Karma, Infiniti Essence, or something more sinister?), here are some real life photos of the car outside of the studio. Introducing Mazda's new Japanese-Euro-American Kodo design language, the Shinari shows where Mazda will be zoom-zooming after its Nagare-derived smiley face cars are dead and gone.

Expect the flowing, toned lines to appear on everything from the Mazda3 and Mazda6 to the MX-5 Miata and potential RX-8 successor; on that note, can we get a decent rotary engine around here or what?

Since these "tense" and "organic" designs are becoming more and more common nowadays, how will Mazda emphasize its own unique design elements? As with most unofficial homages (because we all know this isn't a purely original design or layout), the answer is in the details.

Looking at the nose, new Mazdas should be getting a much more open mouth in place of the silly "happy" look currently plastered across most of the automaker's offerings. Upon closer inspection, you'll see a chrome strip (or "signature wing") at the base of the grille which extends out through the headlamps like a bird with its wings spread.

It's a safe bet that we won't be seeing those Iron Man power source headlights in production, nor the twisted-metal bits.

The tail of the car seems more in sync with the current lineup, but nicely evolved. Even the little chrome wing-ding from the nose makes an appearance, running below the boot lid and into the taillights.

Inside, the Shinari again impersonates, but does it well: we've got carapace-like buckets for its four fictional occupants, as well as a few beer cans' worth of aluminum trim.

As for the idea of an interior being driver-centric, that's nothing new. Sadly, neither is the idea of individually tailoring the cockpit for occupants (look at the Essence). If this asymmetrical style does indeed become a recurring Mazda element, they will have beaten Infiniti to the punch. Otherwise, the gauges are beautiful and its layout is nice; if anything, the Shinari shows that Mazda is staying current and has big plans for the future.

The tech inside has so far been limited to rumblings of a Human Machine Interface (HMI) - possibly run by Skynet - which provides drivers with Business, Pleasure, and Sport modes. From the description, it sounds like just another evolution of human/car/computer fusion.

Mazda North America design director Derek Jenkins says, "We want to play in the same group as BMW and Audi. On fit and finish we want the same level of quality." Hooray for benchmarks, now let's get to it.

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