The design story of this unique vehicle was to a significant degree, European‑inspired. One personal experience that Koizumi-San used to develop his design from a global perspective was his first encounter with European sports cars.
“I have a vivid memory from when I was a boy, not quite 10 years old. In France, I saw the 1967 Le Mans 24-hour endurance race and I remember being rooted to the spot as the leading Ferrari P4, Porsche 907 and Ford GT40 came round the track battling three-abreast at some points for lap after lap,” enthused Koizumi.
“When I became old enough to drive that amazement grew into a deep respect for the European sports car culture. This feeling is infused into the Zoom-Zoom ethos I bring to designing cars now.”
The design brief for the CX-7 was to deliver a ‘sports crossover with SUV-style functionality’, so the team began by consolidating the definition and image of a true sports car. Koizumi gathered Mazda’s designers together and brainstormed all the design themes that make a driver feel ’this is a sports car’. It is interesting to note that the thoughts and images produced by the designers clearly drew a lot of influence from Europe, where there is a vibrant and enduring sports car tradition.
“There are so many genres, traditions and conventions that the image of a sports car can vary greatly from person to person. I believe that through our research we managed to come up with a universal definition of a sports car that would be loved by drivers all around the world. I believe this process was fundamental to the successful design of the Mazda CX-7 production car,” added Koizumi.
The resulting combination of form and design language transforms the CX-7’s larger proportions using a host of features to signify its sporty credentials. Its A-pillar is steeply angled and flows seamlessly into the roof line, which then breaks downward relatively early, over the B-pillar, to slope over the C-pillar and down into the D-pillar, finishing with a short rear end and roof-edge spoiler.
Other sporty design cues include a kick-up beltline in the profile and deep character lines over the bonnet, placed slightly inward to make room for muscular front fenders – echoing a theme used in the design of the Mazda RX-8 and new Mazda2. At the rear, round elements (lamps and large tailpipes) pay homage to a visual theme that has been admired by automotive fans for more than three decades on glamorous Italian sports cars.
Mazda CX-7’s interior design also features elements of ‘sports car’ appeal. The driving position, with a wrap-around cockpit and a high mounted gear shift, was inspired by studies of modern European sports car interiors. Additional sporty touches include a large rev-counter and a speedometer scaled to 150mph, a leather steering wheel that replicates the wheel of the iconic Mazda MX-5 sports car and a six-speed gear shift.
Design contributes much to making the Mazda CX-7 a ‘sports crossover’. It is a new Mazda model which wears its athleticism with the same fashionable sophistication as the Mazda RX-8 sports coupe, with its large mouth, eyes and powerful shoulders. It’s a model that combines elements of European sports car design that have a timeless appeal, with the interior roominess, comfort and quality of a sports utility vehicle. Add Mazda’s 260ps high-performance DISI turbocharged engine and superior build quality and you have Mazda entering a new market segment at its innovative best.
Mazda CX-7 is already available to preorder via www.cx-7order.co.uk with first deliveries scheduled for September. In addition, a dedicated microsite www.newmazdacx-7.com provides essential information on the vehicle.