The all-new Mazda3 has some very special pics to showcase the launch.

Most cars benefit from some pretty nice photographs to accompany their launch – but not all are able to sit for the renowned photographer Rankin.

That’s the unique honour being bestowed upon the Mazda3, which has now gone on sale and is featured in a special portfolio of pictures taken by the London-based photographer.

Since co-founding the magazine Dazed and Confused back in 1991, Rankin has been at the forefront of commercial and artistic innovation and has snapped the portraits of the Queen, Kate Moss, David Bowie and countless others.

He has also worked on advertising campaigns for scores of brands, meaning you’ll definitely have seen his work, even if you don’t know the name.

Now, Rankin has been tasked with unlocking all the feel of the brand-new Mazda3 – because, according to the brand’s chief engineer Mitsui Hitomi: “We don’t design to a spec, we design to a feeling.”

Rankin Mazda3 BTS London shoot (1)
Rankin Mazda3 BTS London shoot (2)

The results are quite staggering and appear more to be pieces of art than items of promotional value. They give the impression of movement and something ethereal behind what is actually an off-the-peg vehicle.

Rankin said: “I wanted to not only show the essence of the Mazda3, but also evoke emotions with the viewer. I wanted to make the images really sensual, so I approached the shoot in a completely different way. I have used light and created motion through actual camera movements, not retouching, that literally bring the car to life for the viewer.”

Let’s use the photos to take a look around the Mazda3, which will aim to take on the Ford Focus, Kia Ceed and Volkswagen Golf when it hits showrooms this summer.

Rankin Mazda3 BTS London shoot (3)
Rankin Mazda3 BTS London shoot (4)

Clearly a family hatchback and not a crossover or SUV, the new Mazda3 took its inspiration from the KAI concept car and received a thorough redesign over its predecessor.

It has a bold side profile, sizeable front grille and smoothly contoured surfaces that taper into a sloping roof before tailing off into the rear windscreen. The result is aesthetically pleasing and makes the Mazda3 look far more upmarket than ever before.

The standard model comes with 16-inch alloy wheels, while the Sport Lux bumps these up to 18-inch and colours them dark grey. The latter also has rear privacy glass and piano black window trims for a more daring feel.(

At the rear end, there’s no distinction between the cabin and the rest of the body, which continues that overall feel of smooth lines.

The lamp design takes a minimalistic approach, while the vehicle offers a longer wheelbase for more interior space for the passengers.

Speaking of the inside, there’s also little fanciness here as the Japanese penchant for minimalism continues. You’ll find relatively few screens, with the Mazda3 instead keeping its previous dials and buttons.

There is, however, an 8.8-inch infotainment screen, a traffic jam assistant that can control acceleration, braking and steering and a driver monitoring system to check you for fatigue (although there’s no mention of quite what it does about it).

Rankin Mazda3 BTS London shoot (5)

The Mazda3 is powered by a choice of two petrol engines – 1.5 and 2.0-litre four-cylinder units – and one diesel, the 1.8-litre four-cylinder to minimise noise and boost performance.

All use Skyactiv technology for cleanliness and efficiency, with a mild hybrid system in the petrol version to store some of the power from braking to run onboard electric systems.

It’s perhaps surprising not to see Mazda bringing in full-hybrid and electric technology as some of their rivals are, but perhaps that will come in later models.

The new 2019 Mazda3 will start from £20,595 on the road and will start arriving in dealerships in just a few weeks.

Although, if you plan to buy one, good luck in getting decent photos of it for Facebook after being spoilt by Rankin.

We’d love to see more promo shots for cars being done this way – how about you?

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