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Mazda Shinari concept car
Sports luxury in the full motion of a four-door coupe-sedan

Mazda Shinari concept car:

Headlights' structure suggesting the eyes of a wild animal.

6 September 2010: Presented last Monday in Milan, the Mazda Shinari concept is a four-seater, four-door sedan (or sports coupe if you prefer) which expresses the design orientation of the brand's new generation of products, under the ‘KODO – Soul of Motion’ theme.

Logically, the Shinari should be one of the stars at the 2010 Paris Motor Show (“Mondial de l'Automobile 2010”) which opens its doors to the public from Saturday October 2nd to Sunday October 17th.

Contrast of shadows, like surfaces bending and transforming.

Until then, Mazda says that the Japanese word Shinari expresses "the powerful yet supple appearance of great resilient force when objects of high tensile strength, such as steel or bamboo, are twisted or bent. It also refers to the appearance of a person or animal as it flexibly transforms its body to generate a fast movement. Within this movement, Mazda designers discovered the potential to realize KODO – Soul of Motion". That's for the Shinari name.


The body surfaces appear as if the car is in perpetual motion.

In its form, the new concept car is intended to express the movement of a lean body, supple but filled with tension.

Yasushi Nakamuta, the chief designer who led the design of the third generation Mazda MX-5, says that with the Shinari concept: “We began by developing the design around the image of a predator, as it strikes at its prey, or the stabbing movement in kendo, Japanese fencing, to express the instant where accumulated force is released".

Nakamuta adds that the exploratory process focused "on a force so powerful that it can bend a strong section of steel plate".

Three-dimensional front grille: a powerful line of movement.

With the strength inspiration across its panels, the Shinari looks ready to leap. The A-pillar tapers towards the rear of the body,  while the shape of the cabin, the front fender and other elements evoke energy.

The front fenders represent the evolution of a design introduced in the RX-8. They emphasize the front wheels and the dynamic movement expressed in the side of the body. Character lines flow rearward from the front fenders and meet those traveling forward from the rear fenders in a multi-layered effect.

The body surfaces appear as if the car is in perpetual motion, while the three-dimensional front grille brings a powerful line of movement which continues through the bonnet, fender, front lamp modules and bumper. The floating bar – which links the grille with the headlights – expresses speed while also representing a new signature element for Mazda.

The eye is drawn first to the driver focused cockpit.

The headlights' structure has no outer lens, suggesting the eyes of a wild animal.

The centre of the lower sections on the front and rear bumpers are designed to optimize the flow of air along the underbody of the car. The flared line that connects the front bumper with the side sills and rear bumper fulfils a similar role and streamlines the flow of air along the body, while further contributing to the aerodynamic performance of the car.

A feel of openness.

The luminous metallic blue has been chosen to convey an image of hard metal, while the strong brilliance of the highlights combines with the contrast of the shadows to create a balance between the sharp, three-dimensional form and the appearance of surfaces bending and transforming.


Inside, the eye is drawn first to the driver focused cockpit. The surfacing between the upper and the lower instrument panel is contrasted by crisp surface edges and precision mechanical details. Bright trim work integrated along the cockpit’s perimeter is meant to accentuate the sensation of speed, while the machined aluminium, soft natural leathers and the precision design of instrumentation and controls give an inviting feel of quality.

Three distinct modes: Business, Pleasure and Sport.

The designers also mention "intuitive ‘reach zones’ between the driver and the instrumentation and controls: dedicated driving ergonomics". By separating the instrument panel into two individual zones, the driver cockpit is isolated from the rest of the interior.


Mazda's principle of ‘dedicated driving ergonomics’ is extended to the Human Machine Interface (HMI). The availability of smaller electronic components enabled the designers to create a floating HMI three-dimensional display, offering three distinct modes: ‘Business, Pleasure and Sport’.

Innovative dispositions and flexibility.

The Business-mode is meant to enable the driver to stay connected to his work day tasks, while the Pleasure-mode focuses on comfort and entertainment, turning the interior mood into a relaxed atmosphere.

In Sport-mode, the paddle shifter is activated, suspension settings are tuned for performance driving, and controls are simplified to concentrate attention on the driving experience.

The distance of the main dashboard surfaces from the occupants give a feel of openness.

The forms and materials express dynamically moving luxury .

Since Shinari represents the beginning of a theme that will evolve as Mazda continues to define its next generation of vehicles, Ikuo Maeda, general manager of Mazda’s design division, says: “There is no need for Mazda to build cars for people who are only concerned with ‘style’ and ‘trends’. Whether working on sports cars or compact cars, I have always worked to create designs that evoke an emotional response in people...

“Further, I consider it vitally important to have an awareness of Japanese originality in designing cars for Mazda. This is not merely about incorporating traditional Japanese elements into car design. I believe in reflecting the Japanese spirit in car designs as part of a subconscious practice. So, while I consider where this may lead in the future, my plan is to create cars that will be instantly recognizable as a Mazda. My ultimate goal is to create a brand presence that car lovers... recognize as representing both Mazda originality and Japanese originality. Future Mazda (models) will move people physically and emotionally – this is ‘KODO – Soul of Motion’”.

As put by Mazda, the underlying design philosophy for the next generation of its cars is inspired by the expression of an instantaneous movement of animals or humans: this is when motion begins, when accumulated force is released with maximum concentration.

Based on these ideas, Mazda seems to be preparing its next move through a new blend of sportiness, finesse and aspiration towards higher levels of luxury. 

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