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Mazda Motor Corporation today unveiled two vehicles at the 2003 North American International Auto Show: The Mazda Washu concept*1 and the much-anticipated production model of the Mazda RX-8 (North American version). The show opened to the media on January 5, 2003.*2

The Mazda Washu is an innovative six-seat concept that presents a new genre of vehicles. It is well proportioned and features Mazda's product DNA in every aspect of the vehicle. Low and sleek, the six-seat concept also works to tear down the barriers that traditionally separate sports cars and family cars. Just as the all-new 2003 Mazda RX-8 is a unique approach to the four-seat performance car, the new Washu concept is an innovative approach to a six-seat configuration.

The Mazda RX-8, powered by the all-new rotary engine, features sports car styling and excellent sports performance, while providing an ample interior space for four adults. The vehicle delivers incomparable driving excitement. As a 'sportscar like no other,' it turns the sports car dream into a reality for many. The RX-8 will make its debut in North America next spring.


Mazda Washu means "Eagle's Wing" in Japanese. The vehicle's design was based on the image of an eagle soaring swiftly through the air - a concept particularly evident in the unique doors. The Mazda Washu is an attempt to express the excitement of "Zoom-Zoom" through the proportions of a vehicle.


2003 North American International Auto Show runs through the following period: January 5 to 7 (press days); January 8 to 9 (industry preview days); and January 11 to 20 (general public days).

Product Outline of 'Mazda Washu'

1. Modern proportions with low-slung layout that delivers greater dynamic performance

Modern proportions combined with the wide, low-slung layout are applied to the exterior. The beltline extends slightly outward to provide a sense of enhanced interior spaciousness, while the glass area is maximized by reaching upward to the roof to provide an open, airy feeling in the cabin. The roof also incorporates extensive glass area to further enhance the spacious feeling. The exterior design has been evolved through an elimination of side mirrors and the use of sleek LED headlamps. In addition, the LED headlamps are equipped with an Automatic Focusing System (AFS) linked to the vehicle's steering mechanism. This system enhances visibility while cornering at night by adjusting the direction of the light as the vehicles steers through a corner.

2. Airline-inspired door system that allows passengers to enter the vehicle with ease

The "airplane doors" first open outward and then slide rearward. With the sliding door fully extended, the doors provide an opening that measures 1,100mm across, with an additional 400-mm opening in the roof section. This allows passengers to enter the vehicle in an almost upright position, making it dramatically easier.

3. Functional, flexible seating suitable for a wide range of applications

The Washu concept benefits from a low, flat floor and long wheelbase, both of which help to maximize interior space. The seats in the Washu are captain's chairs and can be arranged in a flexible manner to accommodate a variety of passenger and cargo-carrying chores. The middle pair of seats is electrically powered and can be independently moved fore-and-aft a full 645mm. The seats can also slide to the side to allow easier access to the rearmost seats.

4. Innovative packaging realized by adjustable instrument panel and steer-by-wire

Eliminating the need for a traditional steering shaft, steer-by-wire technology also makes it possible to neatly store the steering wheel inside the instrument panel when the vehicle is parked. Further, the adjustable instrument panel makes access to the front of the car more convenient, as it can be moved upward a full 300mm - and steering wheel stowed - making getting in or out of the front seats particularly easy. In addition to this, from the stowed position, an ID card is used to automatically deploy the instrument panel and steering wheel into the driving position.

5. Additional Features

- Roof with LCD*3 dimmer glass that can be switched electrically between transparent and non-transparent states.

- LCD Multi-Information display that controls driving information services.

- Video monitors mounted on the sides of the front doors (in place of traditional side mirrors) and on the rear gate, allowing the driver to monitor all angles of the vehicle.

- Climate control system without traditional air conditioning and heating nozzles.

- Large, 15-inch DVD screen mounted in the ceiling of the rear seat to enable video playback of DVD movies.

- The Mazda Washu is equipped with an electrical parking brake system. Pressing the brake pedal when the car is stopped automatically engages the parking brake, and pressing the accelerator automatically disengages it.

*3: Liquid Crystal Display.

Major Specifications of Mazda Washu

Dimensions Overall length 4,830mm

Overall width 1,850mm

Overall height 1,570mm

Wheelbase 3,200mm

Track (front/rear) 1,560mm/1,600mm

Seating capacity 6 persons

Engine Type V6 3500cc

Max. Horsepower 180KW (245ps)/6,500rpm (estimated)

Max. Torque 278Nm (29.0kg-m)/3,500rpm (estimated)

Transmission Type 6EC-AT

Suspension Type (front/rear) Double-wishbone/Multi-link

Brakes Type (front/rear) Ventilated disc/Ventilated disc

Tires & Wheels Tires 225-750R540A MICHELIN PAX System

Wheels 215-540A

Product Outline of 'Mazda RX-8'

1. Unprecedented sports car driving pleasure

- Through sharp response, excellent controllability and extended performance limits, the Mazda RX-8 delivers the kind of unique, dynamic performance that directly communicates the feel of a genuine sports car.

- The new generation rotary RENESIS employs side intake and side exhaust ports, and has more intake area, realizing greatly reduced intake flow resistance. The engine's sequential dynamic intake system and drive-by-wire system deliver 247hp with a high power version model. Fuel efficiency and emissions also substantially improved over the previous rotary engine.

- The advanced front midship layout in which the RX-8's engine is mounted 60mm further aft with the dashboard being located 80mm forward than the RX-7, and all-new front/rear suspensions achieved exceptional cornering and stability.

- Engineers devised a suitably rigid underbody frame and cabin reinforcements to give the RX-8 a body that, in terms of rigidity and low weight, surpasses those of comparable sport sedans of the same wheelbase.

2. Innovative sports car styling: The product of Mazda DNA

The RX-8, with its next-generation sports car dynamism as its basic design concept takes Mazda DNA to a new stage in its evolution from the 'sporty DNA.' The overriding design theme for the exterior was "Athletic Tension," meaning a look that conveys a feeling of expectation or pent-up energy ready to be released. The basic design theme for the interior was "Comfortably Snug" that expresses the very latest in refined sports car taste.

3. Unique sports car package with space for four adults

The innovative packaging allows the RX-8 to offer values unprecedented in a sports car: The excitement of spirited driving on the one hand, and the pleasure of taking trips with family or friends on the other.

- By optimally locating the exhaust manifold, catalytic converter and related components, it achieved a lower seating position for cabin occupants. Designers concentrated on the front seat backs, achieving a spacious interior space.

- The center-opening freestyle door system allows effortless vehicle entry and exit.

- The deep trunk gives plenty of trunk space for everyday needs, as well as for a trip with a family of four on board.

4. Mazda's unique craftsmanship evolves to a new level

In addition to achieving precision fit, functional elegance and other attributes of quality finish, Mazda has put particular focus into the area of "Customer Delight." Innovative Mazda ideas have been incorporated into the RX-8: Activematic AT models are equipped with paddle-type shift levers on the steering wheel for easy finger and thumb operation, and the meter cluster features indirect blue illumination.

5. High-level safety and consideration for the environment

With its specially designed, high rigidity, crashworthy Mazda Advanced Impact Distribution and Absorption System body, RX-8 achieves world-leading safety. This is particularly true of the vehicle's sides, which, in spite of the absence of center pillars, exhibit safety on a par with a regular four-door sedan. The RENESIS engine achieves a vast improvement over previous Mazda rotary engines in terms of fuel economy and exhaust gas emissions.

Major Specifications of Mazda RX-8 (North American version)

Dimensions Overall length 4,425mm

Overall width 1,770mm

Overall height 1,340mm

Wheelbase 2,700mm

Track (front/rear) 1,500mm/1,505mm

Seating capacity 4 persons

Engine Type Rotary engine, two-rotor, water-cooled

Max. Horsepower 247HP/8,500rpm 207HP/7,200rpm

Max. Torque 159lb-ft/5,500rpm 164lb-ft/5,000rpm

Transmission Type 6MT 4AT

Suspension Type (front/rear) Double-wishbone/Multi-link

Brakes Type (front/rear) Ventilated disc/Ventilated disc

Tires & Wheels Tires 225/45R18 91W 225/55R16 94V

Wheels 18x8JJ 16x7.5JJ

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