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Hot-to-Trot Mazda3 Driven Over Flames, Advertises i-Stop Technology

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Mazda Fire

Is this Mazda3 actually on a bed of flaming coals?
Photo: Mazda UK via YouTube

Firewalking has been used for millennia to test an individual’s strength and courage,but until now, it’s never been used to test a vehicle’s durability.

This was approach Mazda’s UK branch took with a Mazda3 to advertise its i-Stop technology. In the advertisement, a red Mazda3 is not only driven over a bed of flaming coals, but briefly stops and parks as the flames lick the glossy black tires.

The widely-viewed commercial advertises the automaker’s hot new start-stop feature.

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Firewalking in a Mazda3: Never Try This at Home!

For the many skeptics who believed the advertisement was a mix of slick editing, convenient camerawork, and digital layering, Mazda released a brief behind-the-scenes video showing the commercial’s production.

The footage included an interview with stunt driver Paul Swift, who enters the vehicle beforehand, then promptly exits it upon driving it off the coals (as the vehicle is sprayed with fire extinguishers).

In an airplane hanger, stunt engineers constructed a large metal grill onto which a bed of coals was laid. After dousing the coals with gasoline, the grill was sparked.

If you don’t think the flames were that hot, watch the egg immediately fry when cracked in a skillet over the burning coals.

While the stunt may be more of a testament to the durability of the tires than the vehicle itself, the fact remains that the Mazda3’s underside didn’t catch fire, and the car didn’t suffer a boiled gas tank.

Mazda’s i-Stop technology is an intriguing (if somewhat controversial) new feature which switches the engine off when the vehicle rests. The car instantly restarts when the acceleration pedal is pressed. It’s supposed to cut back on wasteful idling and could be a useful feature in crowded, urban areas with stop-and-go traffic.

Luckily, Mazda’s i-Stop system can be deactivated with a switch on the dashboard so situations like stop signs aren’t an issue.

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