Previewing a new era in the automaker's corporate design mentality, the Mazda Shinari Concept was previewed in Milan, Italy, prior to making its formal debut at the 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show. While mechanical details about this sleek four-door/four-passenger coupe were not revealed, Mazda's design chief, Ikuo Maeda did confirm that it: "will lead to the next generation of Mazda design." However, he did not elaborate on whether the Shinari Concept would actually be turned into a production model or merely serve as the pattern for various upcoming vehicles in the existing lineup, like the RX-8 or MAZDA6. Mazda's U.S. execs were equally circumspect about revealing what models might be the first to incorporate this new look in our market -- or when they might start arriving here.

>See more new cars unveiled at the 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show

A collaborative effort between Mazda's design studios in Japan, Europe and the U.S., the Shinari Concept is the first exercise to embody the firm's new "KODO" language. Japanese for "soul of motion," KODO replaces the existing "Nagare" ("flow") language, which manifested itself using surface straking as seen in the new 2011 MAZDA5 restyle. Like current Mazda passenger cars, the Shinari features a fairly prominent grille treatment, although one that displays a more elegant sense of proportion than the oversized "happy face" seen on the MAZDA3. It also introduces a new signature fender line that carries through the headlights and under the grille.

Inside, the Mazda Shinari Concept displays an equally dramatic but still production-feasible take on what is a pure four-seat cabin configuration. Of equal importance, it also reflects another key functional area where Mazda says it will embark on a major push to further improve design and quality to levels that rival premium German brands like Audi and BMW.

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