Acura Advanced Sports Car Concept
Honda's luxury division, Acura, unveiled yet another concept that points the way toward a new-generation NSX. The Advanced Sports Car Concept (photos from Automobilemag.com) is far more appealing (and realistic looking) than the HSC concept from the 2003 Tokyo Motor Show, but it's still not production-ready: note the lack of door handles, exterior mirrors, and other omissions typical of design studies.
This concept, though, is a very positive sign that Honda is actually going to build a new NSX: this was by no means a sure thing in recent years, as Honda insiders in both Japan and the United States struggled to define exactly what a new NSX should entail, both in terms of styling and configuration. The awkward HSC was one waypoint in that process.
But now Acura is setting the stage for the NSX's successor, confirming here at Cobo Hall that the car will stick to a conventional front-engine configuration, eschewing the mid-engine setup that was such an integral feature of the original NSX (and which reappeared in the HSC concept). And the cylinder count increases by four; the first NSX was powered by a V-6, but the new one will get a V-10, no doubt developed in large part by Honda's Formula 1 racing engineers. Acura is also developing a new, rear-wheel-biased version of its Super Handling all-wheel-drive system (previous iterations have been front-wheel-drive-based).
Acura likes to come up with silly names for its various initiatives and engineering systems, and so the company's designers and PR flacks are spouting off about "Keen Edge Dynamic" to describe the Sports Car Concept's styling.
"The design language has been around for a while," says Jon Ikeda, principal design manager for Acura's U.S. design studio. "If you look at the previous HSC show car, there is some hint of sheered surfaces. We've been known for some time for playing around with points and sharp lines. We're just taking it to the next level."
Acura will unveil the next iteration of the Advanced Sports Car Concept at the Tokyo Motor Show in October. If I had to guess, that car will be very close to production, and the actual production vehicle would likely follow sometime in 2008, just in time to do battle with the new Nissan Skyline GT-R (which will not actually use the Skyline name). The production version of that car also will debut in Tokyo. Add in the Toyota FT-SH hybrid sports concept that also appeared today here at Cobo and which points toward a new-generation Supra, and you're looking at an exciting new age of Japanese sports cars.
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