At the LA Auto Show Mazda announced an all-new CX-5. There was even news of a SkyActiv-D 2.2-liter diesel engine coming to America, amidst all the controversy of the Volkswagen’s emissions cheating scandal. But at a private off-site event the night before, Mazda showed the stunning RX-Vision concept for the first time in America. And damn, it’s still gorgeous.
It’s often said that photos don’t do a car justice. That’s never been truer than with the RX-Vision. Reflections dance across its surface as you walk around it. There is no angle from which it doesn’t stab you in the deepest, most primal parts of your brain with an icepick made of lust. I mean, just look at it.
Ever since its debut at the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show, where president Masamichi Kogai delivered an impassioned speech about how badly the company would like to bring another rotary sports car to market, the Mazda RX-Vision has been seared into the minds of enthusiasts.
And it’s not just enthusiasts of oddball pistonless engines, but those who truly want the automakers of the world to build one more great sports car, one more pure jinba ittai fusion of man and machine without all the pretense that comes with a “status” brand, possibly one last hurrah before the entire world gives up altogether and succumbs to our autonomous EV overlords.
Words cannot describe the RX-Vision’s true beauty, but Mazda’s head of design Ikuo Maeda took to the stage to try. According to him, Mazda sees the car as art, something that strikes an emotional bond with the driver. A lot of companies say this, but there’s a reason why Mazda consistently shapes the best looking cars on the market.
Head of Mazda’s North American design Julien Montousse then unveiled the 2017 CX-5. It was a significant moment, as the CX-5 was the first Kodo Era model, developed free from Ford’s platform sharing shackles and ushering in the modern age of Mazda. It’s been one development generation since, and the CX-5 is likely to show what Mazda holds in the future.
The next day at the “main” press conference inside the LA Convention Center, Mazda provided more details about the CX-5, including a 2.2-liter diesel option. No specific numbers were provided, but Mazda promises that it will be clean thanks to the help of an additive (probably urea).
Incredibly, the RX-Vision was nowhere to be seen. Mazda staff told us that the concept, despite traveling halfway across the world at considerable expense, would not be shown to the larger audience.
Mazda did, however, unveil their latest race car, the RT24-P. Due to aerodynamic constraints there’s only so much you can do to prototype racer these days, but somehow Mazda has managed to design one that stands out.
While the RX-Vision would have been a show stopper, its absence at the convention center proper could be seen as a cautionary move to avoid fielding a thousand questions about when or if it was going to be built. Perhaps that’s a bad sign for the rotary sports car, but perhaps it’s just a company not wanting to take the spotlight off its new car. Regardless, it gives us hope for humanity that there’s at least one automaker that is as passionate about cars as we are.