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IN a short video posted on YouTube by Mazda, a split-screen shot shows a sandy-haired model sitting in the passenger seat of two different Mazda 6 Wagons. While a camera focuses on the model, both Wagons are driven through the same corner of Mazda's private test track at the exact same speed, and what happens to her body tells a story.
In one car, her upper body sways to the side as the cornering forces build, her neck muscles bulging from the effort of holding her head upright.
But in the second Mazda 6, she remains comfortably in place. Even her earrings and necklace move less, showing how much smoother her ride is in the second car.
How can two seemingly identical Mazdas affect passengers so differently? It all comes down to a new feature that Mazda calls "G Vectoring Control".
"The main thing it adds is passenger comfort," says David Chung, the senior marketing manager for Mazda Singapore. "There's less body movement, especially for people sitting in the back. The whole objective is to make the ride more comfortable."
G Vectoring Control, or GVC for short, is fitted to two models here, the Mazda 6 executive sedan and the smaller Mazda 3.
It's surprising how simple the system is. Mazda engineers figured out that one way to make a car's front tyres grip better as it steers into a corner is to put more weight onto them. This can be done by decelerating the car, which transfers weight forward.
The real trick is to do it imperceptibly, which is where GVC comes in. Sensors measuring the car's speed, accelerator position and steering wheel angle detect when the driver is entering a corner, and react by trimming the engine's power by a tiny degree. It's done by altering the spark plug timing, and it all happens in 50 milliseconds - about six times faster than it takes to blink. GVC then calculates the optimal amount of engine power needed to shift weight to the rear of the car as the driver exits the corner.
Skilled drivers do this anyway, subtly altering accelerator position as they steer a car through a corner, but the system lets Mazda do it for you automatically.
The result is a smoother ride for passengers and less fatigue for the driver, since it results in fewer corrections by hand on the steering wheel. Mazda says it enhances the feeling of precision, too, and is part of the company's jinba-ittai philosophy, loosely translated as "horse and rider as one".
"Mazda really puts effort into such things, and as far as we know, no one else has a similar system," says Mr Chung.
The GVC system will next appear in Mazda's new CX-5, a Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) that the brand will launch in Singapore on July 14. While SUVs are sometimes considered rugged vehicles, Mazda's GVC is literally an idea that people can get comfortable with.