How will Mazda’s Zoom-Zoom spirit achieve form and substance in the future? After months of soul searching, the first part of the answer was unveiled at the recent Los Angeles Auto Show. Mazda’s provocative Nagare concept (pronounced “nah-gah-reh”) – Japanese for “flow” – introduced a new surface language that evokes the emotion of motion in a stationary automobile. “But we wanted to take the idea further,” Laurens van den Acker, Mazda Motor Corporation’s Design Division General Manager for Hiroshima, said. “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: (pronounced “ree-yoo-ga”) is japanese for gracious flow
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.
Ryuga’s side surfaces were inspired by karesansui (Japanese dry gardens). The carefully raked pebbles in these gardens 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.
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 colour.
Reflecting its Japanese origin, Mazda 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 (2,800 mm) wheelbase and two large gull-wing doors provide a wide open invitation to the interior.
As the doors rise to expose the interior of Mazda Ryuga and allow easy 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 experimental ‘floating’ centre cluster allows a high level of interface between the driver and the multifunction 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 analogue and digital formats) being displayed on the same axis.
Flowing upwards, the centre cluster dynamically penetrates the front information panel which reflects Zoom-Zoom with 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 centre of Ryuga’s Mazda-trademark five-pointed grille and sweep rearward through interior surfaces. The artistic combination of leather, polished aluminium 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 environmental-friendly technologies and people-friendly safety technologies. As part of the initiatives, an E85/ Petrol FLEX FUEL engine which runs on sustainable bio fuel is proposed in Ryuga. This engine delivers a torquey driving performance expertly balanced with 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 slightest 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.