Mazda Vision Coupe Concept Hints at RWD, Non-Rotary Flagship

"Less is more" for 2017 Tokyo Motor Show

TOKYO, Japan — The stunning Mazda Vision Coupe Concept is all but certain to be the Best Concept at the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show, following up on 2015’s RX-Vision. It’s a rakish four-door, despite the name, with rear-wheel-drive dash-to-axle proportions and enough hood space to take on more engine than the small automaker has in its portfolio. Inline-six, anyone?

Seriously, there is no “RX” in the Mazda Vision Coupe Concept’s name, though in case you might have missed the connection, the Pride of Hiroshima unveiled its new four-door flagship concept next to the aforementioned RX-Vision, a two-door, rotary-powered, grand touring sports coupe.

Like the RX-Vision, the Vision Coupe Concept has deep-draw scallops in the side surfacing, with no gratuitous sheetmetal folds. The automaker says that the “sides are crafted to present a linear transition in light and shadow that changes continuously in conjunction with a car’s motion.”

The interior relies on, Mazda says, “a meticulous use of space to create atmosphere,” with intentional space between the instrument panel, door trim and center console in the right-hand-drive car. The center console also features a touch-sensitive feature so the driver can call up information in the same way someone riding a horse touches the mane to direct the animal.

Tone down the Mazda Vision Coupe Concept and you potentially have a very handsome counterpart to the recently launched Kia Stinger. There’s no question that Mazda has been seeking to push up its profit margins more through average transaction price (ATP) and not volume. The question is whether such well-executed concepts as the Vision Coupe can be successful enough to sustain the brand’s core models.

Mazda says the Vision Coupe Concept is evocative of the Luce Rotary Coupe, and rather incongruously, the R360 Coupe, a small kei car from 1960. If it has anything in common with the R360 Coupe, the Vision Coupe is not designed for Wankel Rotary power.

Sorry, rotary freaks, but Mazda’s Skyactiv-X spark controlled compression ignition engine of the near-future is eating up all the Wankel development money, and for good, ecological/fuel efficiency reasons.