“We simply aimed to be the best”
LEADER SKYACTIV-D [DIESEL] PERFORMANCE TEAM
“The policy of research and development has changed and so has the mindset here. The teamwork has been really great for SKYACTIV Technology. We had a clear target, aiming for ideal performance right at the beginning and that’s why we could make this engine in such a short time. We often use the phrase “One Mazda” to describe the way we work together and I really felt it.
To have the best economy and environmental performance, we had to really care about efficiency. If you improve efficiency and reduce resistance you also improve performance. The lower compression ratio in the diesel engine and the lowered friction in the engine response is much better-it’s much smoother from low to high rpm. And we’ve also reduced the diesel combustion noise.
I worked on what we call “performance feel”. When you drive the input through the pedal is felt as acceleration, and I wanted to make that relationship very linear-to give the exact acceleration that the driver wants whenever he or she wants it. Just having good fuel economy is not enough – I want drivers to feel the torque and performance, and to be surprised at the fuel economy.
To be the benchmark for the world, to make the most fun-to-drive diesel engine, that was always on our minds”
“There are so many different kinds of roads in the world and they produce so many different noises.”
CHASSIS NVH ENGINEER
“At Mazda we try to keep noise in the car below a consistent sound level, to avoid noise peaks that drivers find aggravating.
SKYACTIV gave us a fresh start. We were able to look at all causes of noise in the car and resolve many problems. In the past we used to isolate noise and then apply damping sheets and insulation. But we had a new approach with the CX-5. We redesigned the body and floor panel itself to minimise the use of damping material.
The SKYACTIV-Body is highly rigid, which gave us a superior starting point to reduce noise. People drive every day to work or to go shopping, and in between there are a lot of different roads and a lot of different sounds. I hope customers find the CZ-5 quieter than previous models on enjoying their drive.
“I hope that my work goes unnoticed”
BRAKE SYSTEMS ENGINEER
It’s easy to provide great stopping power if you don’t worry about brake noise or vibration. My job was to maintain the braking performance and meet a very tough target for brake noise. We also had to reduce weight. The SKYACTIV body and chassis are lighter so we could have a lighter braking system but we still had a very tough target – only by optimizing the design of the components were we able to achieve that.
“What was new for this program was the amount of virtual testing that we did. We were able to design and effectively test patterns and components without having to manufacture them and that saved a lot of time. I want the CX-5 driver that the brakes are powerful, with a sporty feel and that the relationship between pedal effort and stopping power is completely natural. It should also be quiet so the driver has total confidence and control, which will make driving the car more fun.”
“We’re responsible for making sure that car feels like a Mazda”
DAVE COLEMAN AND STAN HORTINELA
VEHICLE DEVELOPMENT ENGINEERS NORTH AMERICA
” We really strive to make each Mazda not only lively and responsive, but also natural and intuitive to drive. But if we want people to describe the steering as feeling almost telepathic, what does that actually mean in engineering terms? That’s where we come in. We try and figure out what feels right, and how that’s expressed in terms of steering, effort and feel. And we do the same thing for every dynamic element of the car, from the brake pedal feel to how the engine sounds when you start it in a cold garage.
” All of our testing happens on the road, and most of it is subjective – ‘seat of the highly trained pants’, if you will. There’s a very good reason for that. Our customers won’t be driving our cars on test tracks. A lot of our testing is actually in everyday situations such as on freeways and in parking lots.
We’re trying to get the car to communicate its sportiness in normal conditions and not just in a great canyon road.
” One of the subtleties we’ve worked on is the sense of how the car turns. A lot of cars feel like they’re rotating around some point behind the back bumper. Experiencing the sensation that it’s rotating around you, the driver, is what makes it feel like a sports car. We’ve worked really hard to achieve this with the all-new Mazda CX-5, and it’s a feeling that’s very rare in an SUV.
” If you don’t live and breathe cars you can’t do this job – you really have to be a somewhat unbalanced car nerd. We’re just lucky enough to have found a company that will do things this way”.