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Mazda Ryuga concept

Tue, 09 Jan 2007 00:00:00 -0800

By Gavin Green

Motor Shows

09 January 2007 03:38

Mazda Ryuga: is it a bird? Is it a plane?

No, but it’s inspired by nature – including birds – and it’s as smoothly surfaced as any jet fighter. Rather, the Mazda Ryuga is a honey-sweet concept car that is probably the best-looking thing at the Detroit show. It’s part two of new Mazda design boss Laurens van den Acker’s quartet of concept cars that preview the forthcoming new design language. Part one – the Nagare – was shown at the Los Angeles show a few months back. Part three is unveiled at Geneva in March, then the climax comes at the Tokyo Show in October.

Not exactly, though don’t be surprised if a forthcoming RX-8 successor shares many of the design genes. Van den Acker’s design philosophy is based on ‘flow’ (Nagare is Japanese for ‘flow’ and Ryuga apparently means ‘gracious flow’). It’s all about movement and distinctiveness, and is based on natural shapes and phenomena. I know this sounds a bit mother earth-ish, but the unusual side textures were inspired by peaceful ripples caused by a breeze over a pool of water. The headlamp shape resembles the flow of morning dew dropping from bamboo leaves. Flowing lava inspired the tail-lamp design. Put into plain language, Laurens says: ‘I want Mazda to be the equivalent of the prettiest girl or boy in the room. We haven’t got a noble heritage and we haven’t got rich parents. So design is what’s going to set us apart. It’s not about aggressive design. Rather, it’s about beautiful elegant design.’

By Gavin Green