Takeri concept car previews next Mazda 6

Mazda Takeri press release photoMazda is known for its “zoom-zoom” tagline, which fits its latest concept car perfectly. The sleek Takeri was first unveiled at last November’s Tokyo Motor Show, and it will make its North American debut at the New York Auto Show on April 4. Like all successful concept cars, the Takeri previews Mazda’s future plans. This concept car showcases the next iteration of Mazda’s Skyactiv technology, and the styling of the next Mazda 6 sedan.

Under the Takeri’s svelte hood is a 2.2-liter diesel engine, called Skyactiv-D. This four-cylinder engine applies the Skyactiv philosophy of using lighter, more compact components to the world of diesels, and features some new fuel-saving tech. The engine has the lowest compression ratio of any diesel, at 14:1. This reduces cylinder temperatures, and that means fewer nitrogen oxides in the exhaust.

For city drivers, the Takeri has i-stop, an engine start-stop feature that can restart the little diesel in one engine cycle. Mazda says i-stop can restart the engine in 0.4 seconds, the fastest time of any system.

The Takeri also has a regenerative braking system called i-ELOOP, which uses capacitors, rather than batteries, to store electricity recovered during braking. This energy is used to power electrical accessories, like air conditioning and lights. Mazda says this reduces engine load and improves fuel economy by 10 percent.

Regenerative braking and idle start-stop are both sensible features, but the most interesting part of the Takeri’s powertrain is the diesel engine. The 2.2-liter is already used in Europe in the CX-5 crossover; it makes 170 horsepower in that application. Mazda has been debating whether to bring that engine to the U.S. since the CX-5 went on sale last fall. Right now, Volkswagen is the only company to offer diesel engines in mainstream cars, but that could change.

The Takeri is the latest car to feature Mazda’s Kodo (“Soul of Motion”) design language, first seen on the CX-5. The family resemblance is apparent in the shape of the grille and headlights. The Takeri is a mid-size sedan, which means it could be hinting at the styling of the new Mazda 6, which is due for a redesign. If Mazda doesn’t water down the Takeri’s curves for the production version, it will have a stylish competitor for the Hyundai Sonata and 2013 Ford Fusion.

The Mazda Takeri wraps a bit of reality in concept car trappings. It hints at the next Mazda 6, with just enough auto show embellishment to attract crowds and give Mazda’s product planners room to change things. We’ll learn more about Mazda’s plans when the Takeri makes its debut at the New York Auto Show.