The sensational Mazda Furai concept car, which made its world premiere at the Detroit Show in January and performed at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, will head a line-up of 18 Mazda cars on display at the British International Motor Show from 23 July. Celebrating over 40 years of Mazda's rotary engine and international motorsports heritage, the two-seater, mid-engined, rear-wheel drive 180mph Furai is the raciest interpretation of the NAGARE design language (the ‘embodiment of motion') to-date.  Joining the Furai on Stand 19 in the South Hall at ExCeL, will be the new Mazda RX-8 R3 four-door sports coupe and the upgraded Mazda BT-50 pickup, making their European premieres.

The Furai (pronounced ‘foo-rye' – Japanese for ‘sound of wind') is the sort of car that could only come from a company that incorporates the ‘Soul of a Sports Car' into everything it builds.  Furai was created at Mazda North American Operations' (MNAO) studio in Irvine, California under the leadership of Franz von Holzhausen, Director of Design.  The design team set out to develop a car that blurred the boundaries between road-car and racecar.

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The team began by taking a 450ps Mazda rotary-engined Courage C65 carbon-composite racecar chassis (successfully campaigned in the LMP-2 class of the American Le Mans Series), and adding a closed cockpit and Nagare design elements.  But while the four previous concept cars explored Nagare's emerging design aesthetic, every element of the Furai's textures and details serve a functional purpose.

Channelling, rather than just visually interpreting the flow of air, Furai's Nagare ‘flow lines' actually enhance the vehicle's aerodynamic performance, by directing air under, over and around the body surface.  An under-car diffuser below the tail helps to draw the volume of air flowing through the radiators and engine bay, out of the car to ‘exhaust' between the rear wheels – achieving the goals of improved cooling and generating handling stability through aerodynamic downforce.

New Mazda RX-8 R3 Also at BIMS, Mazda is introducing a new version of its unique rotary-engined, four-seater, four-door coupe – the Mazda RX-8 R3.  Powered by an improved version of the 231ps twin-rotor engine, the new R3 will offer drivers a heightened experience with faster steering, chassis and engine responses, more refinement, more equipment and even greater value.  On sale from late August, the new Mazda RX-8 R3 will be priced at £24,995 (on-the-road) and, together with the Mazda MX-5, is sure to maintain Mazda's position as ‘Britain's favourite sportscar brand' with a 25 per cent share of that market sector.

Mazda RX-8 has always had the appearance of a classic sportscar.  The new R3 version enhances this look with a new front bumper design incorporating a larger five-point grille and oil cooling vents, new headlamps, new front fenders, new twin round LED rear lamps and a redesigned rear bumper with larger 90mm twin exhaust pipes.

Standard in the UK, the new RX-8 R3 comprises a sports front bumper, side skirts and rear wing all finished in body colour.  The new model's more aggressive appearance is complemented by new larger diameter 19-inch alloy wheels with five ‘rotor-shaped' spokes, finished in dark titanium.

The uniquely high-revving RENESIS engine of the new RX-8 is evolved to deliver sharper responses and even more driving fun, although the outright power (231ps) and torque (211Nm) are unchanged.

Marketed as a single model, the new R3 will be so highly specified that no factory-fitted options are available and each car will be fitted with more than a dozen items of equipment not previously available on a Mazda RX-8, including new Recaro sports front seats, an integrated Bluetooth® system and a BOSE® premium audio system with nine speakers.

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New 3-litre diesel for upgraded Mazda BT-50 in the UK The refined, upgraded Mazda BT-50 making its European debut at BIMS, inherits the athletic looks of the current model, while incorporating a touch of brawny truck toughness into the exterior design.  Combined with a broader range of exterior colours, the refreshed look conveys rugged reliability, an individualistic character and strong road presence.

Especially and exclusively for the UK market, the new BT-50 4x4 Double Cab Intrepid, with a 3.0-litre common-rail turbo diesel engine will be available, offering 9 per cent more power and 15 per cent more torque than the 2.5-litre engine.  The new 156ps, 380Nm, engine, which makes the BT-50 even more of an ideal companion for an active lifestyle, is matched to a new five-speed automatic transmission with a high fifth ratio for quiet economical cruising. All other versions of the upgraded BT-50 are powered by the popular 143ps, 330Nm 2.5‑litre turbo diesel engine which is carried over unchanged, together with a five-speed manual gearbox.  The Drivetrain is still offered in two versions – a 2WD only version and a 2WD/4WD version that is ideal for commercial use or for more adventurous lifestyles.

Available with a choice of three body styles, the upgraded Mazda BT-50 retains all the technical features and attributes of the current model.  The Upgraded BT-50 range, which goes on sale from 1st September priced from £10,629 (commercial vehicle on-the-road), now comes with a new auxiliary (AUX) jack at the base of the centre console to allow users to connect a portable audio player and listen to their favourite music through the vehicle's audio system with two, four or six speakers – depending on model.

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Thrilling Zoom-Zoom Challenge returns to ExCeL following 2006 success Mazda has confirmed its plans to return to the British International Motor Show, with the thrilling ‘Mazda Zoom-Zoom Challenge' attraction.  A major success at the 2006 Show, the Zoom-Zoom Challenge will allow over 5,000 members of the public to get behind the wheel of Mazda's cars, at no charge, to experience their spirited handling and entertaining drive.

Competitors will compete against the clock in a technically demanding driving challenge around a specially-constructed test track as they strive to achieve the fastest lap time and demonstrate the most accomplished car control.  Professional racing drivers will take each participant around the track for a familiarisation lap followed by a warm-up circuit behind the wheel and a timed circuit in both the iconic Mazda MX-5 sports car and all-new Mazda2 3dr supermini.

Top prize will be the use of a £11,000 plus 1.5-litre Mazda2 3dr Sport for the competitor posting the highest score throughout the two weeks of the Motor Show.