Motion's Soul: Mazda Shows New Kodo Design Language with Shinari Concept

In late June, Mazda officially declared its Nagare design language dead after a brief brush with production. Now, Mazda has unveiled a new design theme with its Shinari concept, dubbed Kodo. Company executives also gave an indication of future platform and further development of the "Sky" powertrain.

Mazda unveiled the Shinari concept, as well as its new Kodo design theme, at a press event near Milan, Italy. In Japanese, kodo means "soul of motion" (thankfully not "thrusting motion") an apt description of the Shinari's sleek lines, absent the flowing strakes of Nagare. The Shinari is a sporty, five-door hatchback created by a collaborative effort from Mazda's U.S., German, and Japanese design studios.

Executives are mum as to when the Kodo styling language will make its production debut, indicating that the design will influence production Mazdas, and possibly upcoming fuel-efficient vehicles. The Japanese brand is currently developing a new multi-purpose platform, as well as the fuel efficient Sky engine and a new six-speed automatic transmission.

Powering the vehicles based on the new platform will be a set of Sky engines, the first iterations of which Mazda showed at the 2009 Tokyo Motor Show. Mazda is still closely guarding the details of the engines, a diesel (Sky-D) and gasoline (Sky-G) that are rumored to feature unusual engineering solutions.

The Sky-G engine, a normally aspirated 2.0-liter I-4, will outdeliver Mazda's current gasoline I-4's fuel economy and torque by at least 15 percent. There are a few more details on the diesel Sky-D engine, a 2.2-liter, turbocharged I-4. It features optimized fuel injection, a two-stage turbocharging system, and a revised combustion chamber to deliver a 20-percent improvement in fuel economy over Mazda's current diesel I-4. Better yet, both engines meet 2020 global emissions regulations, and the diesel does so without using exhaust after-treatments. Both engines will be available with the new "Sky-Drive" six-speed automatic, optimized by reducing internal friction, modifying the torque converter, and changing the programming for when it locks up.

In addition to introducing a new design theme, platform, and powertrains, Mazda says it will introduce better interiors in its future products.

"We want to play in the same group as BMW and Audi," Derek Jenkins, director of design for Mazda North America, told Automotive News. "On fit-and-finish we want the same level of quality."

Source: Automotive News (Subscription required), Autocar

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