The Mazda Nagare, the first in a series of design concepts introduced at the 2006 Los Angeles Auto Show, was refreshed for the 2007 New York International Auto Show. Nagare, Mazda Ryuga, and Mazda Hakaze, which makes its North American debut here in New York, are the first three concepts in the series to illustrate Mazda’s new design direction. The series will reach fruition in the fall of 2007, when a fourth concept vehicle is set to make its debut at the Tokyo Motor Show. Franz von Holzhausen, Mazda North American Operations’ (MNAO) Director of Design, and the man responsible for leading the US-based design team which developed this vehicle, explains, “We’re looking well down the road with Nagare. We want to suggest where Mazda design will be in 2020. To do that, we redefined basic proportions and the idea of driving without losing the emotional involvement. Mazda’s driving spirit will be enhanced and intensified by Nagare.”
“Mazda doesn’t produce concept cars to spin its wheels, and while some are more forward-looking than others, we simply do not create pure flights of fantasy. We develop these ideas to demonstrate what we really intend to build and sell. It took soul-searching along with basic research to invent the new surface language we’re calling Nagare. The dynamic qualities of Mazda products already do an excellent job of capturing the spirit of motion, so our goal was to move our design language a major step beyond what we’ve already demonstrated with Sassou, Senku, and Kabura. ”
The design team began by developing a surface or textural language that describes flow. The motion of the Nagare is defined by, and evident in, the texture of its interior and exterior surfaces. Since there is no right or wrong way to capture the impression of motion, each of the Mazda concepts presented throughout this global show season represented a different interpretation of Mazda’s new surface language.
Posed with the question of how flow is inspired from a moving sand dune and how it differs from flow inspired from a crystalline, slate-filled river, Mazda’s North American design team decided to experiment with exterior color options. Going below the water’s surface for inspiration, the design team chose a simple palette comprised of a liquid metal blue metallic base, a super high-gloss white tri-coat trim and silver metal accents – to give Nagare a translucent feel like slate rock under river water.
“We wanted to show that Nagare flow design is flexible,” said von Holzhausen. “It’s not just an abstract sculptural impression. It can be interpreted many different ways and by changing the color, we’ve allowed people to view Nagare for the first time under totally new circumstances.”
Inspired from co-molded Rollerblade wheels, the integrated airless wheel design increases durability and performance. Newly updated tires include a polyurethane-based, flexible surface coating made from recycled rubber aggregate and a urethane binder, which binds to the structural alloy wheels. The high vibration damping and skid-resistant properties of the recycled rubber/ urethane coating allow for an airless tire, suitable for all climate conditions.
The polyurethane and rubber material, made of recycled tires, is the same product used in recreation playgrounds and sport fields. Using Urethane allows the tires to be colored.
Like all Mazda products, Nagare has the soul of a sports car. Its shape is sleek and aerodynamically efficient, as you’d expect of an urban cruiser for the future. Wheels are positioned at the far corners of the envelope for quick steering response and agile maneuverability. There isn’t an ounce of overhang wasted.
Nagare’s side surfaces provide a means of visualizing the air flowing along and over the car as it speeds through the atmosphere. Light and shadow combine to convey this feeling of motion even when the car is still. Similar hints of fluid flow are evident in the hood, wheel arches, LED head- and tail-lamp treatments. The same surface language plays throughout Nagare’s interior; the instrument panel, center console, and door panels all appear to be influenced by flow.
Photo Gallery: Mazda Nagare Concept Photos