In 1991 a technology partnership began that has so far spanned three decades and numerous models. Since Mazda and Bose first started working together on the third-generation Mazda RX-7 thirty years ago, the two companies have continued to collaborate on innovative premium sound solutions that contribute to a superior driving experience. Put together, the power of sound and the joy of driving deliver an outstanding and engaging customer experience that enables passengers feel all the acoustic detail and emotional impact of a live concert inside their vehicle.
From the very beginning, the collaboration between Mazda and Bose has been characterised not only by engineering ingenuity but by a kind of kindred spirit between the two companies: A shared belief that premium products require new and unconventional solutions – and that the result is worth the risk.
Defying conventions, doing things differently – that has always been the Mazda way. From the rotary engine that made Mazda the first Japanese brand to win the Le Mans 24 Hour race, to continuously crafting cars that offer effortless, joyful driving, obstacles as a catalyst for success for more than a century. And while the challenges have changed over time, this “Challenger Spirit” has remained.
This ethos immediately resonated with the team at Bose. “There has been a great natural chemistry between the Mazda and Bose team members from the very first meeting right up to the present day,” says Mike Rosen, the Bose Chief Engineer who worked on the companies’ first joint project, the Mazda RX-7.
That first project came with a unique set of challenges. To provide the sound the engineers expected, they had to fit the nearly 12 footfolds and bends that allowed the Bose and Mazda engineers to package the long tube into the rear of the car without compromising space or sound quality. The teams have worked on a number of equally challenging yet rewarding projects; including the iconic Mazda MX-5 roadster, which was the first to feature the UltraNearfield headrest speakers, and the Mazda MX-30, the carmaker’s first fully battery-electric vehicle, where the absence of any motor sound opened up new possibilities for exceptional sound design.
The goal for each and every innovation was to achieve the perfect harmony between driver, music and vehicle. While each company has their own area of expertise, there is also something important that all team members share. Frederic Hartnick, Manager of Vehicle and Advanced Electronic Development at Mazda Research Europe, believes emphatically that, “everyone who’s working for Mazda and for Bose can be described as people with passion.”