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After teasing its new design direction a few weeks back, Mazda finally unveiled the Vision Coupe concept at the Tokyo Motor Show. The photos don’t do it justice — it needs to be seen in person. Assuming something along these lines actually gets built, it could be the best-looking Mazda since the FD-generation RX-7 and a definite signal that Mazda’s serious about expanding its offerings into more premium territory.

Yes, the Vision Coupe has four doors — thanks for that, Germany — but otherwise, it’s true to classic long-hood, short-deck design. The aggressive front shows how comfortably Mazda’s current fascia design translates to a wide, low-slung vehicle without feeling forced. Chances are the extended beak wouldn’t make it through pedestrian impact regulations intact, so expect any production version to tone down the chiseled brow a bit; other than that, the extended windshield and the camera sideview mirrors, there’s not much in the exterior design that would be out of place in a showroom next year.

Mazda VC tokyo interior

Inside the Mazda Vision Coupe concept

Interior styling gets a predictably minimalist Japanese aesthetic based on what Mazda says is “the traditional Japanese architectural concept of ma, the meticulous use of space to create atmosphere.” In other words, the lines, woodgrains and other visual cues are intended to impart a sense of flow in the direction the car is moving, but there’s a lot of empty space to prevent any sense of confinement. It’s sort of an “implied cockpit” based on shapes and textures, and it works well as a concept; how much could make it to production is up for debate.

The absence of any engine or powertrain information indicates the Vision Coupe is set to remain a concept for the moment. Still, the Lexus LC proved Japan can be serious about moving from concept car to showroom machine; Mazda seems intent on showing the world what it’s capable of, and making the Vision Coupe a reality would be a hell of an exclamation point.