Mazda says its MX-5 development philosophy of 'Jinba Ittai', a Japanese compound term that describes the unity between a horse and its rider, is now a core consideration for every model in its range.
Testing Mazda’s new G-Vectoring Control (GVC) system at the famous Laguna Seca raceway in California, CarAdvice is reminded by Mazda North America head engineer Dave Coleman of how great a priority this approach is for the company's product teams.
“We want to build a car so natural and intuitive it feels like an extension of your own body,” Coleman says.
That basic theory, perhaps best executed with the new MX-5, is further extended into what Mazda calls ‘Hashiru Yorokobi’.
“That is all about the joy of driving, or the joy we derive from driving,” Coleman says. “It’s the fundamental thrill of pushing past your biological performance envelope.”
Mazda has obviously spent plenty of time monitoring human behaviour, given the company understands that there is theoretical joy to be derived from travelling at a speed the human body was never designed to access.
Think about it: in evolutionary terms, we’re designed - at best - to run quickly. therefore there is enjoyment from any speed beyond that according to Mazda.
“A direct response feels firmer, more comfortable, more confidence-inspiring for the driver,” Coleman goes on to say. “The way you tune throttle response is an example of that, and we are tuning for that. We want the driver connected to the vehicle and to feel as if they are connected to the vehicle at all times.”
Mazda is adamant its future lies in delivering a premium experience, without the premium price tag. Engineers from the North American arm tell CarAdvice that Mazda wants to challenge conventional thinking, deliver best-in-class driving dynamics, and perhaps most importantly, create a premium experience.
“Premium doesn’t necessarily mean premium priced,” Coleman says. “It doesn’t mean luxury either.
"Premium is about the experience, the way the vehicle feels, the way it’s put together, does the vehicle do what you naturally think it will do?” Coleman goes on to explain that Mazda sees value for money as an important perception for any prospective Mazda buyer, or indeed, current owner.