In Japanese, the word Hakaze (pronounced Hah-kah-zay) comes from "ha" for "leaf" and "kaze" which means "wind," a fitting combination for a vehicle that looks like it is effortlessly cutting through the air while standing still. Mazda Hakaze has very compact proportions. At 4,420 mm, it is roughly the same length (+15 mm) as the Mazda3 hatchback - which ensures agile, sporty handling - but is wider (1,890 mm, + 135 mm), and taller (1,560 mm, + 95 mm) with a high seating position, a very large glass area and large suspension travel -all attributes usually associated with a C-segment SUV.
This insightful package is clothed in a modernistic body work with no door handles and no mirrors - exterior cameras replace these -very compact proportions and flowing major feature lines and side textures that create a muscular and taught look. Mazda Hakaze has no B-pillar either and the rear two-thirds of the glass roof can be taken off in two parts and stored in a slide-out compartment in the rear bumper. Lowering the car's four frameless windows then converts the concept into a fun to drive, four-seat coupe with roadster feel.
Mazda Hakaze's exterior design was a cooperative effort from the same successful duo that designed the Mazda Sassou, presented at the 2005 Frankfurt Motor Show: Mickael Loyer, whose design was selected this time for the final proposal, assisted by Luca Zollino."The design team took inspiration from sports and outdoor activities in the wind or in the water giving the sensation of being free and allows us to break boundaries," says Mickael Loyer,"like kite-surfing, flying, diving, driving a jet-ski or a motorbike. We were looking for shapes moulded by natural elements, and how the wind shapes the sand is a key element in the exterior design of this concept."
At the front, they pushed forward the design idea of the Mazda Sassou -with a large grille design that has chevron-shaped front indicators and headlights -to which they added Nagare flow lines. At the rear of the car, a unique illumination system is used with light flowing directly into the lower part of the rear window. Because the rear lights have flowing shapes integrated into the design here, this creates an impression of floating light. Mazda Hakaze's silhouette features Nagare flow lines at the front of the door panel, with a visual link to the front of the car created by a line falling over the top of the front wheel well and into the side panel. These are combined with a rising beltline extended into the hatchback door, a steeply angled windshield similar to Mazda's crossover SUV CX-7 and a roof line that gives Hakaze a modern body shape that integrates the strong look of a Samurai sword when seen from the side.
All the concept's Nagare flow lines combine to visualize movement by making it seem as if the wind itself has etched natural flow lines into the car´s surface. Even when parked, Mazda Hakaze looks as if it is moving -as if wind is blowing over the front wheel wells, down and along the side panels and across the bottom of the rear window.
Mazda Hakaze not only took its inspiration from Nagare natural flow, but also from technological objects like helicopters, speed boats, jetfighters. These are strongly related to flow and examples of human interface to fast movement through natural elements. The design team combined these kinds of forms with shapes directly moulded by flow in sand and water. Examples of this are Hakaze's glass roof cockpit and its 20-inch wheel design. The wheels use a mixture of forms inspired by sand dunes and propeller shapes to express flow and movement -including extensions of the spoke design into the tyre rubber bordering the wheel -and adds a three-dimensional depth to lend Mazda's new show car a modern sophistication.
"The Hakaze is an agile yet tough coupe that takes you wherever you want to go,"says Luca Zollino. "Its design is also unique because of the unconventional shape of its hatch. The continuity of the beltline through the hatch allows us to close all the volumes above it: this together with a very angled and long windscreen enhances the compactness of its proportions."
Exterior Colour and Materials - Nagare Surface Treatment enhanced by "flop" technique
Mazda Hakaze's exterior forms are combined with colours, materials and surface treatment that also express Nagare flow. A desert image is the source for its golden colour, reminiscent of a desert at sunset.
"The exterior colour was selected to support the surface language, its articulation and its texture," says Maria Greger, Senior Designer for Colour and Materials,"so that the whole surface impression is one of natural flow. We want to have a feeling of sand. So if you look closer at the colour, you see small particles like sand."
The natural look to the exterior surface was further underscored by employing a"flop"technique in the colour treatment of all panels that are bent at an angle to form two sections with a smooth edge between them. The paint used for such panels was designed to give the upper part of the panel a more transparent feel, which is created by a transparent layer over the colour. Then the colour"flops"over towards a darker impression below the edge, an effect achieved by additives to the paint and by a slightly different use of particles in the paint. The final effect is similar to a sand dune or a wave in sand, which is lighter above and darker below.
A Natural Environment
The interior of the Mazda Hakaze is a triumph of form, texture and functionality. Its two large, pop-up doors are keyless, one-touch and give a wide opening into one of its four bucket seats. Once inside, Hakaze's interior gives an intense open feeling, even with the roof on. The windscreen extends to behind the front occupants, creating an enormous viewing angle. The A-pillar dives into the instrument panel just in front of the door, making this feeling even stronger.
"Nagare is visible on the interior in the main surfaces, which are a combination of gently flowing volumes with edges that slowly fade away,"says Jo Stenuit, Assistant Chief Designer who, along with Masato Ogawa, Lead Designer from Hiroshima, designed Mazda Hakaze's interior."Inspiration was taken from a dune landscape with the technical parts, like the steering column, being pushed into the surface like a shell that is partly covered in sand on the beach. Also the textures follow this gentle flow of form in a natural manner. All this creates a sensual feeling for the interior and makes sitting in Hakaze like sitting in a natural environment."
The interior design, and especially the instrument panel, is asymmetrical with a strong focus on the driver. The wrap-around cockpit features a long steering unit that gives a feeling of sportiness and depth. It has orange-lit meters on each side of the steering wheel -speedometer and tachometer -and in the centre of the steering column is an LCD screen with navigation information, images from the car's rear view and side cameras and warning indicators -all of which give an enhanced feeling of control to the driver. The centre of the steering wheel is fixed, only the rim and the lower arm can rotate.
There are also unique sliding controls to the right of the driver on the centre console, which follow the three illuminated lines in the surface. These lines have a dune wave design to make it easy for the driver to slide his finger up or down along the surface. Doing so adjusts seat positions, heating, audio and multimedia devices, with light below the surface moving up or down with the finger. The wave strip furthest from the driver has the controls for the car's hard disc drive multimedia system and an LCD screen that electrically rises up and out of the dashboard surface on the passenger side. This screen can be turned by hand so the driver can also see it when the car is parked.
Data can be transferred to and from the car's computer with a personal"data shell", which is a further development of the USB stick concept used on the Mazda Sassou design car.
It is a wireless device that allows the driver to open the car simply by carrying it in his pocket, and also allows him to save his personal driving settings and data from his home computer (route, music, movies). After getting in the car, the driver pushes the switch on the side of the"data shell"causing the connector to pop out (in way similar to a key). This he sticks into a designated slot in the centre console and it automatically downloads the stored information wireless using Bluetooth® technology and provides ignition. Once in place, the"data shell"also functions as the gear shift lever for the concept's automatic gearbox. Mazda Hakaze concept also has a wireless charging pad located in the glove box (also using Bluetooth®) to recharge the batteries of a mobile phone, PDA, camera or MP3 player. This insightful solution does away with annoying cables hanging everywhere, and keeps the device out of view and safe while it recharges automatically.
All of Mazda Hakaze's seats are mounted on the centre tunnel and are electrically adjustable, sliding fore and aft. For more room in the boot, the rear seats slide forward with their lower cushions under the front seats, which give ample space in the hatch for all kinds of gear necessary for a day at the beach. With the windows down and the top off, there is a true roadster feel wherever you happen to be sitting in the car.
Interior Colours and Materials
"We want the interior to be a heightened touch experience full of natural-feeling surfaces. Natural in the sense that you come to the car and you have one impression. When you look a second time, you see new things happening everywhere,"says Luciana Silvares, Designer for Colour and Materials who, along with Maria Greger, designed the colours and materials for Mazda Hakaze.
The colour scheme on the inside of Mazda Hakaze was chosen to enhance the natural flow forms and to underscore the car's kite-surfing functionality. They reflect the ocean, continuing the beach and dune theme, with the floor a dark brown, the trim, dashboard, doors and centre panel a greenish beige, the four seats in a deep blue. This is combined with unique texturing of materials meant to enhance the Nagare flow strategy with natural feeling surfaces and patterns. Many of the concept's interior materials are grained using new Flotek® technology, which can create different textures on a single surface. Before, materials had to be embossed using the same repeating patterns. With this new graining technology, the Colour and Material's team was able to make asymmetrical and creatively-patterned surfaces that mimic natural irregularities.
The floor, for instance, is made of soft, natural leather -great for bare feet just off the beach -embossed in a flow pattern with a patina of various textures and slight imperfections that give a natural feel compared to artificially homogeneous material like carpet. The dashboard also has a special grain over it that feels sandy in some places and has line texture in others, which enhances the flowing Nagare forms by making them not only look natural, but feel natural as well.
This touch experience also extends to the seats of Mazda Hakaze, which are made of smooth, high-tech leather with a surface coating to make them feel similar to the material used for wet suits, but with a higher quality. The driver's seat is surrounded in a cocoon-like cockpit and continues the kite-surfer appeal with wet suit stitching and badging in orange Kanji script, while the other three seats have water droplets printed on them for a wet and wild look. The result of all these efforts is a very interactive, even sensual interior surfacing where passengers can discover new touch sensations every time they get into the car.
Ready for Off-road Fun
The Mazda Hakaze design concept has been conceived to be equipped with either a powerful DISI* petrol engine or a diesel engine. The MZR 2.3-litre DISI petrol is a high-performance turbocharged engine with direct injection that is coupled to Mazda's active torque-split all-wheel drive transmission. This is Mazda's latest MZR petrol powertrain technology and is an ideal match to the adventurous and fun nature of Mazda Hakaze. It delivers high torque and power, 6-speed sport automatic transmission and beach-ready four-wheel drive traction.
Combined with Mazda Hakaze's aerodynamic shape and lightweight body, the engine would not only be fun to drive, but would also use acceptable amounts of petrol. It has MacPherson front struts and multi-link rear suspension for agile, Zoom-Zoom handling, whether at the beach or in the city.