Mazda has had quite a few good years since 2012, introducing not only a very appealing design language but also a solid lineup of crossovers and SUVs. In addition, it came up with two wild Vision concepts, one that pays tribute to the Le Mans-winning 787B and one that previews a successor to the iconic RX-7 and a new-generation rotary engine. But it appears that the Japanese firm isn’t stopping here. At the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show, Mazda unveiled the Vision Coupe, a sleek four-door that may become the company’s larger sedan yet.
Based on the RX-Vision design-wise, the Vision Coupe is unlike any other Mazda we’ve seen on the road. Not only larger than the Mazda 6, it also has a decidedly sporty attitude and a coupe-like roof that reminds of the Mercedes-Benz CLS, the car that started this whole trend. And while there’s no official word on what Mazda will do with this concept, a full-size sedan is very likely in the future. With Mazda having offered such a model for only a few years in the 1980s and 1990s (remember the 929?), a full-size sedan would be a big deal for the Japanese automaker. But until we find out more about that, let’s take a closer look at Mazda’s most exciting sedan yet.
Continue reading to learn more about the Mazda Vision Coupe.
The fact that this four-door concept is called the Vision Coupe may seem a bit confusing, but it all goes away when you look at the car’s profile and notice the sleek roofline. And it’s actually not that weird since some automakers have already used similar descriptions. For instance, Mercedes-Benz lists both the CLS and CLA as coupes, despite having four-door layouts. Four-door coupes are becoming increasingly popular nowadays, not to mention that traditional sedans are becoming increasingly sportier by looks. So Mazda is basically trying to adapt to this trend, at least in the concept car world.
Now talking about the "Vision" badge, it’s provides a strong connection to another Mazda concept, the RX-Vision from 2016. And it’s not just the name. A quick comparison reveals that the four-door is actually based on the RX-Vision, even though a lot of element have been toned down for a more production-friendly look. Some elements may vary, but these concepts have a lot in common.
Up front, we can see the same long engine hood and pointy nose. The hood itself has similar creases toward the fenders, but the center section is more elegant and lacks the previous concept’s vents. The grille is actually almost identical in terms of shape and size, but that’s not surprising given that it is an important part of Mazda’s current design language. Even the bumper is similar, but with less aggressive vents and splitter. It’s the headlamps are significantly different. Although placed in similar carvings in the body, the have a simple round LED unit and miss the fancy strips seen on the RX-Vision.
When seen from the side, this concept looks like a four-door version of the RX-Vision. The fenders and beltline are identical. The doors are obviously different since Mazda had to stick a pair in only a slightly longer wheelbase, but again, everything seems to be have been design on the same sheet of paper. Other features that stand out besides the extra rear door is the less aggressive side skirts and the chrome trim on the lower front door (the RX-Vision has on the upper front fender).
The rear is of similar design too, with a heavily raked rear glass and a short decklid. The trunklid opening seems to the different and there’s no movable wing, but the arched edge of the decklid simulates a spoiler. The RX-Vision’s quad-taillight layout was replaced by a simpler pair of round units, but everything else is pretty much the same. Below, we can see a revised diffuser with four exhaust pipes for a sporty look.
In many ways, the Vision Coupe reminds me a bit of the Mercedes-Maybach Vision 6 concept. It must be the long hood and the same of the nose, but otherwise I’m aware that they are very different cars. Still, we could say that the Vision Coupe is Mazda’s very own Maybach.
As an interesting note, Mazda says that the Vision Coupe name pays homage to its "tradition of design elegance represented by coupe models like the Mazda R360, Mazda’s first passenger car, and the Mazda Luce Rotary, also known as the Mazda R130." While there’s nothing wrong with looking back on designs from the past, I must point out that the R360 wasn’t exactly elegant. This 1960s kei car was small and bubbly, having a rather tall roof compared to the length and stance of the body. The Luce R130 built between 1969 and 1972, on the other hand, was quite the elegant, sporty coupe with an European twist to its design. See them both below and judge for yourself.
- Clean and simple interior layout
- Premium features
- Leather dash, seats, and door panels
- Genuine wood veneer
- Contrast stitching
- Brushed aluminum trim
"Despite the "Concept" badge, this four-door is actually as production-ready as they get"
Mazda didn’t have anything to say about the Vision Coupe’s interior, but it did release a batch of photos. And despite the "Concept" badge, this four-door is actually as production-ready as they get. Sure, it’s a bit too fancy compared to existing Mazda production sedans, including the Mazda 6, but everything in this cabin is definitely doable.
Due to the similarities of Vision Coupe and RX-Vision on the outside, I can’t help but compare the too on the inside as well. somewhat surprisingly, they’re pretty different. The dashboard, for instance, is a brand-new design. Whereas the RX-Vision has a smooth and simple passenger-side area, the Vision Coupe has a layered dash with a secondary display in addition to that in the center stack.
The more sober looking instrument cluster and the round-bottom steering wheel are also hints that Mazda is aiming for a different public with this one. Whereas the RX-Vision is going for the RX-7 fanbase that loves sporty coupes, this one is oriented toward businessmen or drivers in need of a fancier ride. And the Vision Coupe is quite luxurious for a Mazda. Nearly every surface of the dashboard is draped in leather, while the door panels bring together two types of hide, one with contrast stitching, piano black trim and what appears to be authentic wood veneer.
The seats and the steering wheel are also wrapped in leather, again with contrast stitching, while the center console combines it with more wood veneer. The attention to detail is also visible in the instrument cluster, which has premium-look gauges, while the steering wheel has a vintage inspired look with a leather center section and brushed aluminum. It’s by far the prettiest production-ready interior Mazda has created so far and I do hope upcoming cars will get something similar.
- Likely to use familiar four-cylinder powerplants
- Rotary engine?
- Production model could get a hybrid
"If it goes into production, the sedan will probably use the four-cylinder engines available in other models"
There’s absolutely no word as to what lurks under the Vision Coupe’s long hood, but it deosn’t really matter since it’s just a concept car. I’m tempted to say that the four-door could share underpinnings with the RX-Vision based on the fact that they’re similar size- and design-wise, but it’s already official that the RX was showcased with a rotary engine in mind. So there is a possibility that Mazda may want to use its new-generation Wankel unit in just one model, at least for a couple of years.
All told, if this sleek four-door goes into production, it will probably use the four-cylinder engines available in other models. A hybrid should also be on the table, but it’s way too early to discuss. And given that Mazda chose to not talk about the sedan’s drivetrain, it’s safe to assume that it was created to only showcase a new body style and an updated design language.
While it may not be as exciting as the RX-Vision — the hype over this concept is obvious since it previews a spiritual successor to the iconic RX-7 — the Vision Coupe deserves a lot of credit for being a novelty for the Japanese automaker. And I’m talking about side and market placement here, because the Vision Coupe seems to be larger than the Mazda 6, which technically makes it a full-size sedan. Mazda ignored this segment since day one — except for a few years in the late 1980s and early 1990s when it sold the 929 — so the Vision Coupe is spectacular in the sense that it points toward the company’s intentions to join the full-size market. It could also mean that Mazda may want to join the premium segment, but until the carmaker makes an official statement about it, I can only speculate. But it’s definitely a sign of things to come, be it a larger sedan or a new design language, and it’s all good news.
- Exciting four-door coupe design
- Classy, luxurious interior
- May hint at new full-size sedan
- Production plans unknown
- No drivetrain or tech information
Read our full review on the 2016 Mazda RX-Vision Concept.
Read our full review on the 2015 Mazda LM55 Vision Gran Turismo.
Read more Tokyo Motor Show news.