What it Is
Mazda Taiki Concept – 2008 Detroit Show: Since its debut at the Tokyo Motor Show, one of our editors has had the Mazda Taiki Concept in regular rotation on his computer’s desktop. The car’s swooping lines and otherworldly stance captured the Tokyo crowd’s imagination, a feat it also accomplished at its unveiling in Detroit.Why it Matters
Wind doesn’t just move over cars, it moves through them, so to maximize aerodynamics you have to understand how this works. There’s a reason ribbed patterns appear on windswept sand dunes or ripples appear on the surface of a lake. Utilizing these concepts in the design of a car can benefit performance and the environment. Car enthusiasts love performance machines, but if we want to pilot our boy racers through the winding roads of tomorrow we’ll have to hang up our driving gloves or learn how to marry performance and environmental sustainability -- the Taiki demonstrates how we might achieve this.
What’s Under the Hood
The Mazda Taiki Concept is powered by Mazda’s next generation Renesis engine, the 16X, which made its debut in the Taiki as well and is rumored to be the next power plant for the RX-8. Also known as the Renesis 2, improvements to the rotary engine include an increase in displacement from 1.3-liter to 1.6-liter. The resulting larger rotor housing allows for a longer stroke and more torque. Combined with direct injection, the aluminum sided, upgraded mill should prove to be more powerful with less weight.
What it Looks Like
Flow lines are to the Mazda Taiki Concept what space age tailfins and bubble tops were to concept cars in the ‘50s and ‘60s. From the front it’s a sweeping sports car with a wide mouth grille. Profile lines sweep inside the rear wheel wells and the rear wheels are wrapped by rounded fender skirts that flow from the rear quarter panels and are nearly the same diameter as the wheels. The rear looks like the rubber-banded paper delivered by the paper boy. Individually, it sounds odd, but combined it works with a 0.25 drag coefficient and zero lift.
What Mazda Says
Mazda challenged it’s designers to come up with "a design that visually expresses the flow of air" to help blend performance and environmental balance. The automaker says the Mazda Taiki Concept “reflects one possible direction for a future generation of Mazda sports cars aimed at helping create a sustainable society.” The goal is to maximize efficiency through flow design while still maintaining automotive excitement. Mazda claims the Taiki “integrates perfectly the design theme to realize unbeatable aerodynamic performance.
What We Think
It’s been a long time since we’ve seen anything as interesting as the Mazda Taiki Concept. If just a fraction of the styling cues, like the front façade or side air flow management come into play, we’d be pretty excited to get behind the wheel of whatever they appeared in. Besides, we love to drive, and we’re all for anything that works toward letting us have fun behind the wheel while still being good to the ol’ third rock from the sun.
Photo Credit: Staff