For the group of about 80 European journalists that Mazda has assembled in Tokyo, a significant point of our visit was a technical briefing from four of the company’s top engineers.

If you’ve ever wondered how Japanese car companies garnered their reputation for attention to detail, attending one of these briefings explains a lot.

In fact, as I write this blog in my hotel room, I am wading through a 32-page technical presentation festooned with graphs and charts enticingly titled ‘Temperature and Pressure at TDC*’, ‘Heat Release @2000rpm/BMEP=600kPa’ and ‘What is Adiabatic Combustion?’.

Engineers are king in most Japanese car companies, so today’s briefing is on their terms, a solid couple of hours delving into the deepest workings of the internal combustion engine. And thoroughly absorbing it is, too, even if the main message remains hidden until a pointed question-and-answer session shakes everyone up.