Mazda Taiki: the lowdown
Is it just us, or has Mazda gone a bit concept car crazy in recent months? Its current design mantra of 'nagare' - or flow - has spawned the Nagare, Ryuga and Hakaze show-offs at recent motor shows. And, true to form, there will be another car in the series at the Tokyo Motor Show later this month. That honour befalls the Taiki, a clean-fuel two-seater that's again inspired by natural waves and rhythms of nature, apparently. Officials drop hints that it'll inform the design of the next RX-8, but then spokespeople always say that sort of thing, don't they? Our guess is that Mazda is slowly but surely playing with a new style, and we're inching closer to flavours of what will actually appear in a showroom near you. Eventually. Don't expect sci-fi style out-rigger rear wheels quite yet, though...
The Taiki looks nothing like the next RX-8, surely?
You're right - this is a long, long way from any kind of production reality. But squint awhile at the front end, and you're not a million miles away from future design cues. The grille treatment, in particular, is said to be a preview of a fresh facial expression for Mazdas. The Taiki also premieres a new package of aerodynamic aids, although Mazda isn't elaborating any more until its Tokyo debut. Many manufacturers are playing with semi-active aero aids, so expect moving body parts to smoothe the airflow.
What'll she do, mister?
The Taiki is front-engined, rear-drive and is powered by the latest iteration of Mazda's rotary engine that's swollen from 1.3 to 1.6 litres. The Japanese company remains wedded to this technology, despite rotary's high consumption of fuel and oil. Why? Because Mazda is experimenting with rotary engines that run on hydrogen. It will show a dual-fuel Premacy Hydrogen RE Hybrid at Tokyo, whose engine runs on hydrogen and unleaded fuel. When on H2 mode, it converts hydrogen into electricity to power the turbine engine; this isn't mere pie-in-the-sky fantasy - Mazda will start leasing such vehicles in 2008.