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Click image to enlarge the Mazda Furai concept

Mazda has released a teaser shot of its Furai concept, which will debut next month in Detroit alongside the "heavily revised" 2009 RX-8. Its name translates from Japanese to "sound of the wind," and the car takes the design language introduced on the Nagare and applies it to what is literally a race-bred sports concept. The Furai, you see, is built atop the Courage C65 chassis that Mazda campaigned two years ago in ALMS. Power comes from a 450-horsepower three-rotor engine that runs on E100 Ethanol. As for the '09 RX-8, Mazda's announcement states only that it boasts an updated design, better quality and features, and improved handling and acceleration. The announcement now has us wondering if the spy photos that came out yesterday are actually the car we'll see in Detroit, and not the 2010 as initially believed. Finally, Detroit will mark the first appearance of the Taiki concept outside Japan. The Taiki, you'll recall, was introduced at the recent Tokyo Motor Show. We'll be there in force to cover it all.

[Source: Mazda]

Mazda Furai Concept and 2009 RX-8 to Make World Debut at 2008 North American International Auto Show

HIROSHIMA, Japan, Dec. 12 /PRNewswire/ -- Mazda Motor Corporation will showcase the world premieres of the Mazda Furai concept vehicle and the heavily revised 2009 Mazda RX-8 sports car at the 2008 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), to be held in Detroit from Sunday, January 13 through Sunday, January 27, 2008. On the heels of its show-stopping debut at the 2007 Tokyo Motor Show in October, the Mazda Taiki concept vehicle also will make its North American debut, the first time it has been shown outside Japan.

Mazda Furai -- 'Sound of the wind'

Inspired by the fact that, on any given weekend, there are more Mazdas and Mazda-powered cars road-raced in the United States than any other brand, the Mazda Furai (Japanese for "sound of the wind" and pronounced "fu-rye") is the sort of car that could only come from a company that incorporates the "Soul of a Sports Car" into everything it builds, but with an eye toward the future and the environment through the use of 100% ethanol produced in partnership with British Petroleum (BP).

Furai takes Mazda's unique Nagare (Japanese for "flow") design language a step further as it is translated into a concept car based on an American Le Mans Series (ALMS) racing car. The car utilizes the Courage C65 chassis the company campaigned in the ALMS series only two seasons ago, and the 450-hp three-rotor rotary engine that distinguishes it from anything else on the track.

Says Franz von Holzhausen, Mazda's North American director of design, "Furai purposely blurs boundaries that have traditionally distinguished street cars from track cars. Historically, there has been a gap between single-purpose racecars and street-legal models -- commonly called supercars

-- that emulate the real racers on the road. Furai bridges that gap like no car has ever done before."

Mazda's critically acclaimed Nagare design language describes the flow of water, air, people or things moving in one direction. Mazda Nagare is flow, with an insightful and spirited styling, which, in Mazda Furai, invokes a raw, unfettered desire to possess everything this car represents.

2009 Mazda RX-8

Sporting a freshened design, improved handing, acceleration, quality and features, the 2009 Mazda RX-8 continues to be a "Sports Car like no other," and shows that the rotary engine is still an important part of Mazda's future.

Since its launch in 2003, the Mazda RX-8 has been hailed as a genuine sports car, but with a totally new, four-door, four-seat format that delivers sports car values, passenger comfort and driving pleasure. Powered by the world's only mass-produced rotary engine, RX-8 is the spiritual successor to the 1967 Cosmo 110S, the world's first twin-rotor production car. With almost two-million rotary engines sold, and the company's legendary win at the 1991 24 Hours of Le Mans -- the only Japanese brand to ever win the endurance racing classic -- the rotary engine is the sole preserve of Mazda.

Mazda Taiki

Making its North American debut, the first time it has been shown outside of Japan where it was hailed as the "Concept of the Show" by a major enthusiast publication at this year's Tokyo Motor Show, Mazda is eager to show the Mazda Taiki alongside the all-new Mazda Furai.

While Taiki is significant as the fourth of the Nagare-inspired concepts in the series, it is also the third rotary-powered car that will be debuted on the Mazda stand. Mazda is committed to the current and future development and production of the rotary engine, as well as pursuing multiple fuel strategies under its Sustainable Zoom-Zoom plan.

The challenge to create "a design that visually expresses the flow of air" was inspired by the image of a pair of Hagoromo -- the flowing robes that enable a celestial maiden to fly in Japanese legend -- floating down from the sky.

Inspired by Japanese koinobori -- the decorative "climbing carp streamers" -- the notion of creating an Air-tube became the concept word for the interior design. In accordance, from the dashboard and seats down to the door trim, the interior space creates the dynamic sensation that the flow of the wind is being visually depicted.

Additionally, Mazda will have a special display of racecars on its stand during the press days, and the full lineup of production cars for consumers to sample for public days.

Headquartered in Irvine, California, Mazda North American Operations oversees the sales, marketing, parts and customer service support of Mazda vehicles in the United States, Canada and Mexico through nearly 900 dealers. Operations in Canada are managed by Mazda Canada, Inc., located in Ontario, Canada, and in Mexico by Mazda Motor de Mexico in Mexico City.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      I'm sorry. I own a Rx-8 and I know my Rx-7 history. I do not want a new generation to compete with the GTR. Why? Because it is too damn expensive. GTR has sales potential for ... 3 years maybe? I would hope the Rx-7 is maybe 2/3 the price of the GTR and 3rd gen Rx-7 (adjusted for inflation would be $60k). I think a light weight 1.6 rotary Rx-7 would be perfect halo car for Mazda, only a little more expensive than a loaded CX-9 yet still sell moderately well. Rx-7 vs Cayman? Not the worst opposition. Anyways, there are always aftermarket parts if you want to slaughter that GTR across the street :-D.
      • 7 Years Ago
      come on mazda! you can do it! bring out the potential in the rotary idea
      • 7 Years Ago
      You know, I'm glad Mazda has the balls to keep unveiling these concepts.

      Yes, they're outrageously styled concept cars (and some of them are beautiful!), and no, I dont think we'll get to see a MR 3-rotor production car, but what makes me happy is that Mazda has actually gone ahead and developed a visual design language that is totally unique. No one will accuse Mazda of biting on BMW or Mercedes styling, or even any of the other Japanese manufacturers.

      Its totally unique, and they should be applauded for that.

      I just hope that they *do* make a new RX-7, so I can trade in my S2000.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I think a 350-400hp RX8 would sell well if they can keep the starting price under $35,000. Keep the current 232hp RX8, but also offer one with more power for those who want. It worked for Ford with the mustang, it could work for Mazda with the RX8 if they price it right. I know a lot of people who would have bought an RX8 if it was a bit faster/torque-ier.
        • 7 Years Ago
        the chances of that are practically zero. Even if they could make the car around that price, emission tax will send it sky high. That is why there is a near zero chance of another 3-rotor reaching the market, thus the 1.6 is needed.
      • 7 Years Ago
      As much as I love the GTR, if Mazda actually DID make a supercar, I'd be all over it. The RX-8 is a blast to drive, but 450 stock hp in a concept like the Furai would really steal Nissan's thunder.

      Question is, will Ford let them?
        • 7 Years Ago
        What does Ford have to do with it?
        • 7 Years Ago
        the next rx7 needs to target the 350z, that is the sweet spot for sportscars. above $35k the numbers drop off very quickly and below $25k the profit margins are too low for anything that sells less than 100k a year.

        its fine to have a high end version that pushes the price point into the high $30s but the volume model, the one that is going to justify the continued developement of a totally unique powertrain, has to start under 30
        • 7 Years Ago
        Ford won't. History tells that an extremely expensive Rx-7 will not sell thus not being profitable for Ford.
      • 7 Years Ago
      So if this concept uses a three-rotor design would it be using the old 2.0 rotary engine design (650cc X 3) or the new 16X (800cc X 3)?
        • 7 Years Ago
        what I meant to say is since the 16X is two rotor, can't they make a three-rotor design by adding another 800cc rotor to the 16X?
      • 7 Years Ago
      Those spy photos of the '2010' look an awfully lot like the RX-8 in my driveway.
        • 7 Years Ago
        I know, it doesn't look that "refreshed".
        • 7 Years Ago
        I have a feeling the spy pics are the '09 after today's announcement.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Mazda won with 787B prototype with a 26B that pushes over 700hp+

        If they build this, this concept they're showing is a mid-engined 20B. Mazda does not have any mid-engine car in the past or present. If they build it, it'll be a supercar.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Oh man I wish they build it!!!! Rotary supercar...

      Hopefully it will at least be in Gran Turismo 5 so I can have a chance at the wheel.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Please Mazda and Ford, build it. It would kick the GT-R's butt.
        • 7 Years Ago
        I'm with you, they really should build this thing. I would love to see Mazda own this segment of the market, where it looks like the GT-R is looking pretty lonely at the moment.

        Not to mention, the article reminds us of 1991 when Mazda WON LeMans. What's the best the GT-R ever did at LeMans? 16th or something? LOL
      • 7 Years Ago
      I hope that the Camaro prototypes spotted yesterday are going to debut there, too! :P
      • 7 Years Ago
      i love mazda new styling concepts, why can't they release the next iteration of the rx sooner.
      • 7 Years Ago
      3 rotor Wankers..er...Wankels are too expensive for production...

      It's fairly easy to mount two triangles to the offset crank, where each rotor slips onto each end of the crank, but a 3-rotor motor means the centre rotor must be split to get onto the crank...like the ends of the connecting rods, in a piston engine, being a two-piece unit that is bolted 'around' its seat on the crank. Split rotors and the sealing issues are not what the production engineers want with an engine already known to drink 10W30 liberally.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Or 5W-30 outside of North America. It has been greatly debated why Mazda specifies 5W-30 in N. America--most people lean toward the fuel economy benefits as the reason.
        • 7 Years Ago
        • 7 Years Ago
        Wrong, you don't 'split' the rotor to assemble a Three Rotor Motor.
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