Image credits: © Mazda.

2003 Mazda Ibuki Concept


Design Concept Hints At Future Generation MX-5 Miata

Chicagoans and others will have the opportunity to peek into the legendary past of the Mazda MX-5 Miata, as well as its possible future, when the Mazda Ibuki concept makes its North American debut at the 2004 Chicago Auto Show. The Ibuki suggests one possible approach for a future MX-5 Miata model.

Recognized in the Guinness Book of World Records as the best-selling, two-seat sports car of all time, the Mazda MX-5 Miata re-established for enthusiasts around the world the concept of the lightweight convertible sports car. Launched in 1989, its 15-year legacy lives on in the Ibuki concept, which clearly showcases Mazda's current efforts in both design and technology.

'The aim of this concept was to further refine the fun-to-drive spirit that can be derived from a lightweight, convertible sports car,' said Truman Pollard, chief designer of Mazda North American Operations. 'At the same time, the design team has worked to advance the true roadster identity and further refine the levels of comfort and safety in a vehicle wîth the top down.'

In an effort to more fully realize oneness between car and driver-a oneness that was the overall intent of the original MX-5 Miata-the Ibuki design team has borrowed from the advanced front-midship engine layout of Mazda RX-8, although in this case employing an inline four-cylinder engine.

Overall vehicle proportions have been defined by extremely short front and rear overhangs that confidently signify the extreme fun-to-drive spirit achieved by the innovative engine layout. The overall shape is clean and simple, reminiscent of the original Mazda MX-5 Miata, wîth a wide and stable stance, pronounced fenders and the elegant use of oval shapes throughout the design.

Isao Tohda, a key member of the Ibuki development team who also played an important role in the development of Mazda RX-8 says, 'We aimed for a sports car that offers the sort of fun felt from being in firm control of one's own driving. With Mazda Ibuki, our primary theme was to minimize the car's yaw inertia moment, and to take Mazda's own sports car values to the absolute extreme.'

THE ÚLTIMATE ROADSTER DESIGNMazda Ibuki has an overall length of 143.3 inches, measures 67.7 inches in width, 48.4 in height and rides on a wheelbase of 91.7 inches. The overall length is 12.4 inches shorter than that of the current MX-5 Miata. A key design feature is a 15-inch reduction in the combined front and rear overhang lengths, as compared to the current MX-5 Miata.

With the exterior, Mazda capitalizes on these compact dimensions and the benefits of a twin backbone frame to give concrete support to driving functions. The oval body shape evokes a look of tension in repose, and the 18-inch wheels and run-flat tires accentuate the car's well-planted stance. The body form also communicates the snug yet comfortable fit that both driver and passenger enjoy.

Front and rear views inherit the familiar look of the first-generation MX-5 Miata married to a more futuristic design. The radically curved windscreen conceals the front pillars and gives occupants of the Mazda Ibuki a wide field of view as well as a distinctive character.

'Sports car design is a question of expressing the car's frame, and begins by supporting driving functions,' said Moray Callum, director of Mazda's Design Division. 'With the Ibuki concept we aimed to visualize, as simply as possible, the car's compact size and the undeniable excellence of its super front-midship layout. The results can be seen in a contemporary design that also manages to evoke the familiarity of the past MX-5 Miata. As we work to develop the future direction of the Roadster, it was very important for the Mazda design team to fully understand and appreciate the original. The purity of the original design is particularly interesting to us.'


For Ibuki, Mazda engineers developed a twin backbone body structure. Based on the high-mount backbone frame concept employed wîth Mazda RX-8, the structure comprises an open body frame wîth extensive reinforcements and a rigid lower backbone frame located beneath the transmission tunnel. This unique construction, featuring upper and lower backbone frames, helps the Ibuki concept achieve extremely high rigidity-a level of stiffness comparable to that of a closed body structure-while maintaining the extremely low weight demanded of a sports car.


In addition to the lightweight, high-rigidity body structure, Mazda Ibuki employs lightweight materials at key strategic points. Reinforced plastic is used for the fenders, bonnet, rear floor panel and door outer panels. Brake discs and door inner panels are made of aluminum. The propeller shaft and power plant frame are of carbon fiber, while the wheels are magnesium alloy. This judicious use of lightweight materials keeps overall vehicle weight low.

In addition to carefully choosing lightweight materials, the design team has also employed recyclable materials such as fiber reinforced plant-based plastic wherever possible.


Essential to the success of the Mazda Ibuki concept is the super front-midship layout that places all critical powertrain and accessory components within the wheelbase.

The power unit, including the engine, radiator and key parts of the cooling system, is located towards the rear of the engine compartment, well behind the front axle. Compared to the current MX-5 Miata, the engine is located about 15.8 inches more rearward and 1.6 inches lower. To achieve this position, Mazda's design team moved the air conditioner unit behind the seats, an innovative idea that creates space within the dash section for part of the engine.

At the back of the car, the rear-mounted air conditioner unit, fuel tank and main exhaust muffler are located ahead of the rear axle. The super front-midship layout allows substantial weight reduction in the front and rear overhangs, enabling a 15-percent decrease in yaw inertia moment compared wîth Mazda's current MX-5 Miata. This decrease in the yaw inertia moment can be felt in the natural and linear handling, and superior control at the limit of tire grip. The ultra low yaw inertia moment in itself promotes the kind of driving fun expected of a lightweight sports car.

This layout also assures an adequate crushable zone, making a significant contribution to safety including the protection of pedestrians in accidents.


The high-mount backbone frame presents an axis that integrates interior and exterior design. The interior expresses the strength inherent in the backbone structure that extends forward beyond the dashboard towards the bonnet and rearward to the cowl aft of the seats. This smooth continuity of interior and exterior is further emphasized in the smooth joining of the rear cowl and interior, and the way the passenger seat integrates wîth the body and creates a sense of unity between interior and exterior.


Locating the air conditioning unit behind the seats confers two major advantages. First, it allows the engine to be mounted much further to the rear. Second, it helps enable improved independent left/right zoning so that occupants can obtain comfortably warm or cool air according to their individual needs, even when driving wîth the top down.

Spot-cooling zones provide cool air for the neck, the back and pelvis, and thighs, three areas of the body particularly sensitive to temperature change. Louvers are installed in the rear cowl section (for the neck), within the seatbacks (back and pelvis) and upper part of the center console (thighs).

For cold weather driving, a heating zone traps warm air between the occupants' waist and lower extremities. Warm air is directed to the thighs from a louver in the top of the center console. In this way, occupants enjoy a comfortable cabin environment during convertible driving, regardless of the season or weather.


Mazda Ibuki is powered by a new, lightweight and compact 16-valve MZR 1.6-liter inline four-cylinder engine equipped wîth sequential valve timing and lift for both intake and exhaust valves. The engine features an integrated electric hybrid motor that improves acceleration and partly serves to control engine vibration, allowing use of a lighter flywheel for heightened response.

At low engine speeds, the electric hybrid motor provides torque assistance to boost acceleration from a standing start. Additionally, when the car is stationary, the hybrid motor automatically stops the engine from idling to save fuel and reduce emissions. The motor then restarts the engine automatically when the driver is ready to accelerate. Also, during deceleration the hybrid motor functions as a generator, using regenerative braking energy to recharge the battery.

Mazda Ibuki features a six-speed manual transmission. (posted on The transmission weighs less than the current MX-5 Miata gearbox and has reinforced synchronizers to give a decisive yet smooth shift feel-a hallmark of the original MX-5 Miata-with extremely short, precise throws.


In an effort to advance safety in convertible vehicles, the Ibuki design team has installed a four-point active roll bar into the front pillars and rear cowl section that instantly lifts up under impact sensor control to reduce occupants' injuries in the event of a rollover.

Powerful LED headlamps give improved visibility, and a keyless entry by ID card is provided. (concept carz) Other innovations include a unique side-parting boot offering a wider opening and easier access. In addition, a new audio system that combines the seat air conditioner ducts and speaker in one, delivers much clearer sounds. This feature enhances the convertible driving.

Source - Mazda
Mazda Motor Corporation zooms into the 2003 Tokyo Motor Show wîth the strongest line of production and concept cars in company history, including the world premier of the two-seat Ibuki concept, an open-top, lightweight sports car that hints at a possible design direction of a future Mazda Roadster. Joining the Ibuki concept on the stand are key environmental technologies being developed by Mazda such as the unique RENESIS hydrogen rotary engine (also a world premier) and the company's latest production models, including the all-new Mazda Axela.

The 37th Tokyo Motor Show will be held at the Makuhari Messe Convention Center in Chiba City and open to the public from Saturday, October 25th to Wednesday November 5th, 2003. Mazda president Hisakazu Imaki is scheduled to host a press briefing at the Mazda stand in the Makuhari Messe Central Hall on Wednesday, October 22nd from 14:10 to 14:30.

Mazda's theme for the 2003 Tokyo Motor Show, 'Zoom-Zoom to the Future,' highlights the continuing evolution of the company's Zoom-Zoom spirit, embodied by the consecutive successes scored by Mazda's new-generation vehicles: Atenza/Mazda6, Demio/Mazda2, Mazda RX-8 and the newly-introduced Axela/Mazda3 have all received critical acclaim from media and customers in markets around the world and are helping drive Mazda's current sales success. With this year's theme, Mazda is also emphasizing its intention to continue delivering 'exciting and exhilarating driving experiences' to its customers.

Mazda 'Ibuki' conceptThe Mazda Ibuki concept clearly showcases Mazda's current efforts in both design and technology as the development team works to further refine the company's famous lightweight, open-top sports car. The Ibuki concept (the name comes from a Japanese word that refers to 'breathing new energy into' and 'adding vigor') reaches back to its 1989 origins in is simple and clean design and hints towards one possible approach for a future Roadster/MX-5 model.

Powered by a MZR 1.6-liter, four-cylinder engine, the Ibuki concept successfully realizes a super front-midship layout (as also found in the Mazda RX-8) that places all major components within the wheelbase. Compared wîth the layout in the current Mazda Roadster/MX-5, the engine is positioned approximately 400mm further to the rear, while the air conditioner unit is located behind the seats. Thanks to the super front-midship layout, yaw inertia moment has been greatly reduced, enhancing further the level of pure, fun drivability-oneness between car and driver-that has been central to the Roadster's ongoing success.

Mazda 'Kusabi' concept

Mazda Kusabi, which was first shown at the 2003 Frankfurt auto show, is based on the concept of a new 'everyday sports sub-compact' offering unique values from its conventional counterparts. A small, four-seat, two-door coupe, the Kusabi is compact, economical and ecologically sound. The design is purposefully fun and almost aggressive for the §egmènt. It is low and wide, wîth short front and rear overhangs. The highlight is the flat roof and overall wedge-shape that is the inspiration for the name - kusabi, means wedge in Japanese.

The concept features innovative packaging solutions such as the Twin-Lift Hatchback design that features dual hatches wîth two opening modes: a longitudinal hinge in the center of the roof allows individual opening of the hatches from either side of the car, or they can be opened together, from the rear, in the conventional hatchback manner.

Employing the 1.3-liter supercharged MZR engine equipped wîth an idle-stop mechanism, the Kusabi concept presents Mazda's proposals in terms of practicality, driving performance and environment- friendly features.

Mazda 'Washu' concept

First shown at the 2003 North American International Auto Show, the Mazda Washu concept (the name comes from the Japanese word for 'eagle's wing) was developed as a calculated experiment into how customers interact wîth a vehicle's interior space. Low, sleek and well proportioned, Mazda's six-seat concept also works to tear down the barriers that traditionally separate sports cars and family cars. Just as the all-new Mazda RX-8 is a unique approach to the four-seat performance car, the new concept is an innovative approach to a six-seat configuration.

The Washu's interior incorporates concepts and forms found in traditional Japanese architecture, giving the cabin comfort and flexibility. In addition, innovative 'airplane doors' and a deployable instrument panel equipped wîth a retractable steer-by-wire §teering wheel greatly enhance ease of entry and exit. Taken together, these unique measures allow Mazda Washu to offer values not found in today's multi-purpose vehicles.

Mazda Roadster Turbo concept

The Roadster Turbo concept is a new twist on Mazda's best-selling sports car that has been developed as a limited-edition model to give customers a pure feeling of 'oneness between car and driver' wîth additional mid-range performance. The turbochargerd1.8-liter DOHC engine delivers additional power and increased torque to improve acceleration, particularly in speeds from 40 to 80 kph.

The turbocharged engine has been tuned to retain the Roadsters smooth and linear power delivery, wîth a flat torque curve that offers consistent and strong torque from 2500 to 5500 rpm. Mazda Roadster Turbo also features enhanced drivetrain components including a taller final-drive ratio (now 4.100, up from 3.910) and an upgraded limited-slip differential. The Roadster Turbo's suspension has been upgraded wîth larger-diameter anti-roll bars, larger tires, stiffer dampers and springs rates 20 percent firmer than normally aspirated models, helping reduce pitch and roll. Overall, the Turbo's body has been lowered by 10 mm compared to the normal Roadsters.

Mazda RX-8 Hydrogen RE (Prototype)

This technological concept vehicle powered by the Mazda RENESIS hydrogen rotary engine is now undergoing running tests. The hydrogen version of RENESIS is the latest example of the company's efforts to satisfy the demand for both environment-friendliness and exhilarating performance. By making the most of the unique rotary-engine technologies, Mazda was able to develop this powerplant as one proposal for alternative-energy vehicle technologies aimed at a future hydrogen-based society.

In addition to direct hydrogen injection into the intake chambers via two electronically-controlled injectors per rotor, the Mazda RX-8 Hydrogen RE features a dual-fuel system allowing one-touch switching between either hydrogen or gasoline, promoting the car's versatility as a hydrogen fuel infrastructure is developed.

Other environmental-friendly features applied to the vehicle include a plant-based plastic for interior parts and an application of three layer wet paint system. Mazda is also presenting advanced technologies including a hybrid system wîth electric torque assist and start-stop technology, and a turbocharger wîth electric motor assistance-technologies that will contribute to future enhancement of hydrogen rotary engine performance.

MZR 2.0 PZEV engine

The gasoline engine mounted in the Axela/Mazda3 for the ÚS market clears Partial Zero Emissions Vehicles (PZEV) standards - the world's strictest emissions standard for gasoline engines - adopted by 'Green States' in the ÚS.

New MZR-CD engine

This newly-developed, next-generation diesel engine achieves a superb balance between power, fuel efficiency and quiet operation. Innovative technologies such as a catalyzed diesel particulate filter and improved fuel efficiency achieve a significant reduction in emissions of PM and NOx, and black smoke is reduced to virtually zero.

Pre-crash safety technologies

These advanced technologies include front and rear sensors for crash prediction, and advanced measures to minimize harm to occupants in the event of a collision. When an accident is predicted, the system automatically tightens the seatbelts, applies the brakes and adjusts headrest position.

Safe-driving support wîth regard to fatigue

Safe-driving support includes measures such as route-selection suited to the individual driving style and how the driver experiences the burden of driving, and appropriate delivery of information and alerts in accordance wîth driver fatigue as measured in real time by a new algorithm.

Mazda Axela/Mazda3

Following Atenza/Mazda6, New Demio/Mazda2 and Mazda RX-8, Axela/Mazda3 is the fourth member of Mazda's new-generation line-up and incorporates all the outstanding merits and lessons learned in the development of the previous three to fully embody Mazda's brand DNA and the Zoom-Zoom spirit. With its highly balanced dynamic performance, Axela offers assured peace of mind and driving excitement at the same time.

The bold design is attractive from the very first glance, while its refined sophistication continues to please the eye over time. The four- and five-door versions have noticeable design differences, yet both fascinate wîth their style. New-generation craftsmanship realizes a new standard of quality which enhances both the delight of ownership and the pleasure of driving, while the efficient packaging achieves true versatility in practical use, excellent maneuverability, and a sleek exterior appearance. In addition, Axela offers world-class safety plus superbly clean performance, proven by the Japanese Ú-LEV certification awarded to all models. Axela's unprecedented values set an entirely new global standard for compact cars.

Source - Mazda Motor Corp
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