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Where is Honda taking Acura?



  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282 agreement that the NSX should be at least as impressive as a $80k (or whatever) sports car as the Honda S2000 is as a $32k sports car.

    Honda didn't feel compelled to build the S2000 with existing Honda FWD technology or spare parts. RWD, in-wheel suspension, X-frame etc. Far more new technology than I am competent to describe. But what I can say with authority as a previous owner, is that at $32k in 2002, it was a better performing sports car than the BMW Z3/Z4, base Boxster and SLK. The 350Z was/is a bad joke compared to it, especially among those (like me) that might someday be able to move up to an NSX equivalent.

    If Acura attacks the drawing board with the same passion on the new NSX as Honda did on the S2000, they will likely have a winner. But if they start putting ANYTHING in the NSX because it comes from or is intended to be shared with other Acuras (engine, suspension, transmission, etc), I think they should just give up while they are ahead. I also know first hand that SH-AWD isn't "super handling" in an RL. Certainly not compared to a 5-series with sport suspension. Could the technology be refined, lightened up, etc. to make it better? I'm sure it could. But the Acura engineers should only do that if they think it will serve to make the end product significantly better in relation to a 911 or a Ferrari 430. Not because they have some other corporate mission to promote or baggage to carry.
  • louisweilouiswei Posts: 3,717
    Agree, the next NSX should be as impressive when it debutes as the original did almost 20 years ago.

    My ideal NSX should be a cheap man's supercar like the original was. It should have a V8 with 400 HP, 350+ lb/ft of torque, all aluminum chassis, carbon fiber hood, truck, roof and even the fenders. The most important, it should come with manual tranny and RWD.

    If Acura really want to get into the luxury GT coupe market that's fine with me but that car shouldn't carry the NSX badge.
  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    Looks like fun. The same way a teenage girl at a mall with mom and dad's credit cards and no restraint would appear to be having fun.
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    With no restraint, I bet she would love to max out the credit if not challenge it. There isn't much fun looking at cheaper options. ;)
  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    I hesitate to recommend that we use the S2000 as a benchmark. As you wrote, that's a car that provided performance on par with $50K competitors at 60% of the cost. Taken literally, Acura would have to offer Porsche 911 levels of performance for roughly $50,000. I have a hard time with that.

    "Honda didn't feel compelled to build the S2000 with existing Honda FWD technology or spare parts."

    No, the S2000 did not share a layout. It was, however, the ultimate expression of VTEC and their style of high-revving performance.

    "If Acura attacks the drawing board with the same passion on the new NSX as Honda did on the S2000, they will likely have a winner."

    That sums up a perfect approach to building a great super car. However, Acura is not building a great super car. They are building a great halo car.

    A halo car must be both a great performer and shine a bright light on technologies used by the other cars in the line-up. It can't shine that light if it doesn't use those technologies. And based on what we've been seeing from Acura over the past several years, it looks like SH-AWD is the technology they want to showcase.
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    How do you separate a super car from a halo car? Are they mutually exclusive? What would you consider Lexus LF-A to be... a super car or a halo car? How about Viper and Corvette? Ford GT?

    Or do we call Ford GT a super car, while Cobra R is Ford's "halo car"?

    Back to S2000, a screaming VTEC was only a part of the whole picture. S2000 was a new approach to showcasing performance unlike any other Honda around. And going for a unique platform was an integral part of it. Honda could have just as well showcased VTEC in a front driver, but didn't. Clearly, there was more to showcase than just VTEC.
  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    "How do you separate a super car from a halo car? Are they mutually exclusive?"

    In common usage, the term "supercar" refers any high performance, street legal production car that can compete in the top tier of its day and age. As a result, these car are typically hugely expensive and very rare.

    A "halo car" is a car which exemplifies the ideals of a line of cars. Many halo cars are also supercars. This is because most car companies wish to highlight performance as the ideal to which they aspire. However, that is not always the case. For example, the Wrangler Rubicon could easily be considered the halo car for the Jeep brand. The Prius works as a halo car for Toyota's hybrid program.

    Now, there are plenty of companies who go out and build supercars, without expecting them to serve especially well as a halo car. The Ford GT you mentioned is a good example. The car highlighted the brand's racing heritage, but it shared nothing unique with other Ford performance vehicles. It was expensive, didn't help them sell other models, and got discontinued. (Which was something they either planned or suspected would happen right from the start.)

    Something like the Audi R8 looks to be a good halo car. It appears to offer good performance, has styling that says "Audi", and it shares technologies which Audi would like people to appreciate: Quattro and FSI for starters.
  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    "Back to S2000, a screaming VTEC was only a part of the whole picture. S2000 was a new approach to showcasing performance unlike any other Honda around."

    That's sorta ironic given how you so frequently mention that the S2000 is kin to the S500 and S600. :D

    VTEC was not the only interesting part of the S2000's design. It was, however, the thing it shared with other Hondas. A halo car can do plenty of other things, too. But sharing something (anything, so long as it's salient) is a requirement for a good one.

    Though, honestly, I'm not sure they ever intended the S2000 to serve halo car duty. It was built as a birthday present to the company.
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 12,030
    can you say 'gt 500'? :)
    2017 Ford Fusion SE 2014 Ford F-150 FX4
  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    I stand corrected. The Cobra GT500 uses the same supercharged V8 as the GT supercar. (Ford has done so many specialty Mustangs, I can't keep them all straight.) Since the Cobra is a limited edition sort of thing, this might best be described as a halo car spawning a second halo car, but the notion is solid.

    If they added variations on that same engine to other vehicles like the Explorer or Fivehundred, it could become the foundation for a line of halo models. I'm not aware of any plans to do that, what with the GT supercar being on its way out, but they could.
  • autoboy16autoboy16 Posts: 992
    Honda needs an 8cyl engine. Badly! It just came to me, but should honda merge 2 of its singe best 4cyl engine? A 4.8l W8 engine made from two 2.4s. The 2.4 already makes 166hp in the accord so I bet honda can get another 4horses out. Do the math! 170hp + 170hp= 340hp!! That brings the RL to the level of the 550i, Gs430(Probably to get more horses to out number the v6. ), m45, and others!

    Also, honda could bring back or remake the 5cyl engine. My guess is the 2.5l 5cyl. That makes a 5.0l W10. Someone say acura NSX? If honda can pull 250hp out of the 5 with a turbo, do the math. 250hp+250hp= 500!! If the weight is kept low enough, it would be PERFECT!

    This entire Idea came from me reading about the 2005 vw phaeton w12. Smart of vw to make a 12cyl out of 2v6s! Also the 16l in the Bugatti Veyron. I'm guessing that its either 4 turbo(d) 4cyl, or 2 twin turbo(d) v8s. It seems like a good idea that would be cheaper than building a whole new engine!

    That new 3.7l v6 for example, if combined with another one when both make 300hp in the MDX equals 600hp! I think W is now my favorite letter now!! Hopefully honda Trys the 4.8l W8 1st.


  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    I agree. Acura needs a V8 more than it does a V10. Acura doesn’t need to go crazy though, just one decent sized (4.5 liter) V8 shared in different forms will suffice. While it isn’t ideal to design one size fits all (in a truck and in sports car and everything in between), sharing one probably won’t have a considerable negative impact in the sports car, at least not as much as sharing a platform would.

    Without a doubt, Honda is capable of engineering a 4.5/V8 that can deliver 350 HP in mainstream applications to 500 HP in a top of the line super car. Instead, we have heard enough about a 500 HP V10, and virtually nothing about a V8. I hope, if Acura does get a V8, it displaces at least 4.5-liters.

    I am not so much thrilled with ASC also because it doesn’t promise a direction Acura SHOULD take, and that is a move to FR platform for most of its lineup. And if true, that will not be a good thing.
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    Honda didn’t need S2000 to showcase VTEC. In fact, by the time S2000 came around, I-VTEC was almost in, something S2000 didn’t get. There is nothing ironic about relating S2000 to S500/S600. Look at the rest of the Honda lineup when S2000 debuted: Civic, Accord, Prelude, CRV, Odyssey and Insight.

    We’re talking FWD family movers or sport coupes. S2000 was an aberration in the lineup, pretty much like NSX was to Acura lineup when it arrived (and at the time, only Legend and Integra existed).

    S2000 was chosen to celebrate Honda’s 50th anniversary as a company, and rightfully so. Perhaps because it’s soul defines Honda. And what is that soul? Why couldn’t it be represented with Honda’s best selling car, the Accord?

    Halo car might be a fine word, but it must represent a company’s soul. S2000 did.
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    Audi R8 isn’t supposed to educate people about Quattro and FSI. They are both old news. R8’s purpose is to bring Audi’s racing efforts into showrooms. It is designed to create a wow factor that buyers can directly relate to on racing circuits. NSX did that for Honda and even though it was powered by a V6 instead of a V8 or V10, it was the closest rendition of a Honda formula 1 machine, one that can be seen at a dealership and, for those with enough money, brought home. This article from Honda on NSX conveys virtually all of my points and my disappointment with the ASC approach. A few pieces from the article:

    The marketing idea...
    This automobile would become both a rolling showcase for the firm's technical prowess, and also establish the "performance/luxury" image the Acura Division needed to achieve if it were going to be recognized as a leader in that market segment.

    I would say, just like the NSX, ASC is capable of achieving the point above.

    The Honda Spirit...
    Historically, Honda has always been a "racing" company. From its initial interest in motorcycle racing in the '60s , to its current dominance in FormulaOne, Honda has always taken racing as a serious endeavor. And its involvement with motorsports was never an afterthought or promoted on an occasional basis as an adjunct to the latest marketing strategy. It was an integral part of Soichiro Honda's philosophy, a philosophy that was nurtured and encouraged and placed at the core of Honda's approach to building cars.

    Things seemed to have changed. LMP2 is bearing an Acura nameplate more as an advertisement with about as much commonality as Taurus and Monte Carlo did on NASCAR circuits to their showroom counterparts.

    Engineers at work...
    In their survey of the extant exotic and sports cars, the project leaders saw a clearly delineated map. One section contained the limited-production exotics such as Ferrari, Lamborghini, Lotus, and the more rarified versions of the venerable Porsche 911. Aside from the mid- or rear-engine configuration, this class of car is characterized by a heavy emphasis on engine power and the first priority is given to packaging the mechanical components…

    On the other end of the sports car spectrum are the lightweight, mass-produced sporty cars like Miata and MR2. While these vehicles provide a high degree of reliability and fun at an affordable price, they don't possess the very high levels of performance the project leaders envisioned for the NSX. Their most desirable traits are light overall weight and good ergonomic packaging…

    Occupying the middle ground are the middle weight mass-production cars like Corvette and 300ZX. These are certainly livable sports cars with sufficient performance to satisfy an enthusiast. Their priorities include comfort and convenience. And while they can excel in certain areas, their overall performance is compromised due to their high overall weight and abundance of luxury features. The Acura NSX was envisioned as stretching the current sports car envelope. It would occupy a segment that was philosophically much closer to the lightweight, highly responsive characteristics, of a Formula One car than either the traditional heavyweight sports cars or the middleweight sports/touring machines. It was to be a synthesis combining the light weight of a "sporty" car, the power output, looks, performance, limited production, and packaging of an exotic, and the ergonomics and livability of a middleweight sports car.

    Now I can't wait to dissect Acura's excuses to shift its focus with the ASC, an attempt to use styling first (not that it is much to write home about either), high power next, and a complete disregard for heft.

    A person on another board (you know where), took a picture of the ASC and made it look like a mid-engined exotic. IMO, ME cars have far more room for creating curb appeal and wow factor than do front engine cars.
  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    A halo car needs to share something tangible with the mass-production cars in the line-up. It does not need to share everything with them. One or two shared technologies is enough. An NSX with VTEC and high-revving engine can still shed its halo effect on an Integra-R with VTEC and high-revving performance. It is not required that they both be MR platforms.

    That is how the S2000 is able to serve as a halo car for the FWD line-up at a Honda dealership.
  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    What can I say, Robert. They found a better way.
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    Better? I don't think so. Different from the norm is about as far as I am willing to go. Its like Honda ditching the concept of less is more, going from a high revving 3.0-liter DOHC VTEC for 280 HP to a 4.5-liter pushrod V8 delivering 300 HP.

    Sure there is more power, and a V8 that could be used in lesser vehicles, but is it "better" in strictest terms that Honda takes pride in?
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    But if VTEC is it, Honda could have developed a FF car instead of going thru the pain and cost of an exclusive FR roadster chassis. It would, after all, have more in common with everything that was in the showroom. So, why not?

    It isn’t required that a super car or halo car (as one may choose to put it) share everything with lesser cars. S2000 doesn’t, and NSX didn’t. They both demonstrated Honda’s spirit (S2000 goes back in history to represent Honda’s first cars and NSX was a representative of Honda’s heritage in racing in Formula One circuit).

    That said, virtually every car from a brand will share at least something with the rest of the lineup. And that makes narrow focus on one or two technical feature even more trivial. Do you really think VTEC needed S2000 to be a part of Honda lineup?

    S2000 wasn’t designed around the engine. 1995 SSM concept was powered by 220 HP 2.5-liter/I-5 DOHC VTEC. 2.5/I-5 was ditched in favor of 2.0/I-4. Apparently the original idea was to target 220 HP (IIRC, this was mentioned in the very first article in R&T sometime in 1999). With minor gain in weight, the output was bumped up to 240 HP from the same engine. If these claims are true, Honda certainly didn’t start with engine. They started with the concept and the car as a package.

    NSX wasn’t designed around “VTEC”, or as a styling exercise. It was designed around a concept that represented Honda’s philosophy. On the other hand, so far, ASC has been all about styling and V10. That’s quite a departure.

    And just like S2000, for NSX, engineers had power/weight target, not necessarily a specific engine in mind (V6 was a done deal). They had started with 250 HP, but as the design showed potential of being heavier than original target, the output was bumped up to 270-280 HP, and VTEC was used to achieve that.
  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    Is going from a 531 cc motorcycle engine to a 2157 cc car engine any different than moving from a V6 to a V8?

    Essentially, what you're asking is whether or not I think a real high-tech V6 that has been produced is better than a fictional low-tech V8.

    What does that have to do with anything? I mean, just for the record, what's better... a V6 producing 280 hp or a V10 producing one billion horsepower with pzev emissions and a cappuccino maker built in?

    What does an answer to a question like that prove? It has nothing to do with the ASC.
  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    "But if VTEC is it, Honda could have developed a FF car instead of going thru the pain and cost of an exclusive FR roadster chassis... So, why not?"

    Because they wanted to build a good sports car.

    You don't build an SUV with a sedan body style. You don't build a sedan with only 2 seats. You don't build an American minivan with a pick-up bed on the back. The type of car sets certain aspects of the design in stone.

    Going with a classic-style roadster meant a lightweight, RWD layout. It must be a roadster first, then unique Honda technologies and characteristics are added to make it a Honda roadster.

    When you get into building supercars, there are many ways to build them. FMR, RMR, AWD, and there's even Covini's 6 wheel supercar. There are I4-powered Lotus cars and V10-powered Dodges. In fact, it would seem the more exotic the design, the more curious people get. When you get into that price range, the options open up.
  • autoboy16autoboy16 Posts: 992
    And IMO The easiest way to go about the fuel efficient v8 engines is the W layout. It can Literally run on half of the cylinders. :P 340hp from 2 2.4l(w/170hp) seems great to me and put honda to a great start with the whole v8 competitors. 340hp would make it great.

    The only thing about my ideas is the cost of it. My idea was to put it(them) in an AWD vehicle for better distribution of power. Think of an SUV with the prowess of an FX45, interior volume of a ford explorer, and agility of an x5... Acuras MDX with a 340hp V8 and SH-AWD.

    As a side note, acura could go bmws route by putting two of the 2.3l turbos in the tsx for a shot at the 335i or tl for the upcoming 535i. But should require SH-AWD or a LSD.

    Is the W configuration expensive?
  • louisweilouiswei Posts: 3,717
    I don't think the "W" layout is possible with 2 inline-4 engines.
  • danilodanilo Posts: 69
    Yes two I4's make one V8... :) The "W" is VW's engine and it has had a few issues. Honda/Acura should stick to the basics. They have the technology to build a small V8 with enough HP/Tq to rival the competition. They just focus on the package bringing the most bang for the buck. The options are limited which reduce production costs in turn reducing the consumer costs.
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    I am sure Honda can easily get 340 HP from just 4.0-liter V8. But for use in heavier vehicles (MDX/RL), doing so using a 4.5-liter V8 makes more sense to get more torque (a 4.5-liter unit can help obtain about 340 lb-ft, compared to 300 lb-ft from a 4.0-liter unit).

    To me, 4.5-liter displacement looks like a sweet spot. With VCM, the engine could be made to cruise in four cylinder mode (an equivalent of 2.2-liter I-4). And that should work!

    As far as TSX is concerned, my hope to see Acura’s move to put TL and RL on a different platform also brings a potential benefit to TSX. Being the smallest car in the lineup today, it is likely carrying more weight than it needs to (if you notice, BMW 3-series is about as heavy as 5-series). With the bigger and more powerful cars out of the way, Acura should be able to optimize the platform for TSX (and Accord) which might allow maintaining curb weight (if not reduce) with the next generation.

    So, the current base engine with minor tweaks for power and torque, and use of 6AT would be just fine for base trim. For more, as I have suggested earlier, 2.3-turbo with SH-AWD will be nice for the Type-S (IMO, “Type-S” moniker should be reserved for performance variant of every sedan/coupe in Acura lineup with more power from the engine, sport tuned chassis and SH-AWD).
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    If it is about getting the job done, than we shouldn’t worry about whether the engine is a high tech V6 or a low tech V8, as long as it is helping the lesser cars, right? I was talking about the Honda norm which I don’t consider to be taking a step or two back with each generation and definitely not in divergence from a long held tradition. If Honda chooses to take that route, I am bound to be disappointed.

    My issues with ASC are primarily due to:
    - A disregard for weight
    - A disregard for power train efficiency
    - Whether building on an existing foundation or trying to start from scratch, there is nothing that ties this new super car concept to Acura’s racing efforts (another example of corporate inconsistency)
    - Styling first (what else did we learn about ASC?), engineering to follow

    Virtually all of this is a complete departure from Honda’s philosophies, and in many ways, exact opposite of the ideas that can be tied to development of previous benchmarks (NSX and S2000).

    The rumor about next S2000 is another area where you may have seen me whine. ASC is no different.
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    Because they wanted to build a good sports car.

    Of course they did. That’s why they designed something completely different from the rest of the lineup. The point was to build a benchmark, not help sell Accords and Civics. S2000 had the virtually every ingredient expected in a “sports car”. Does the Acura “Sports Car” concept have it? It sounds more like a muscle car than a sports car, actually.

    it would seem the more exotic the design, the more curious people get. When you get into that price range, the options open up.

    There is nothing exotic about front engine vehicles. While mid-engine formula is old, it still maintains rarity AND allows a far greater curb appeal (a must have in super cars). Yes, Dodge Viper has a V10 and is front engine. But when it comes to pure art of performance, mid-engine is where things are at. There must be a reason Acura LMP2 currently lapping in Sebring has a mid-engine chassis.

    And at that price point, things need to be different in ways that they represent something unique about the brand yet be able to share some internal features. ASC doesn’t need to a high performance (future) RL coupe.
  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    Your disappointments are based on too many assumptions for my tastes. Not to mention bad info. I recall the stylists saying the layout of the ASC was decided before they started with the sheet metal.

    "Virtually all of this is a complete departure from Honda’s philosophies..."

    This is Acura. The brand is supposed to have a different image and different values than Honda. I know that you understand this. Otherwise, you wouldn't be writing stuff like the quote below in other forums.

    "A purist's form of sports car is unlikely to wear an Acura badge. It makes more sense as a Honda."

    Yet, you keep arguing here for a purist car to be the halo for the Acura brand.
  • louisweilouiswei Posts: 3,717

    ASC for Acura and NSX for Honda. Of course that's given that Honda has the enough resource and cash to sustain 2 "near super car" in its lineup.

    I am drooling just to image seeing S2000 and NSX shown side by side in my local Honda show room with the ASC parked next door (or down the street).
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    Your disappointments are based on too many assumptions for my tastes. Not to mention bad info. I recall the stylists saying the layout of the ASC was decided before they started with the sheet metal.

    Just to make things clear, I am not blaming the stylists. I might be using assumptions, but my points are around what I have seen, read and heard. Things like “NSX successor”, “rear wheel based SH-AWD”, V10, front engine. Do you know something different?

    This is Acura. The brand is supposed to have a different image and different values than Honda. I know that you understand this. Otherwise, you wouldn't be writing stuff like the quote below in other forums…

    Explain to me, what do you think has prompted Acura to enter Le Mans with its LMP2? It appears to me, the Honda spirit is alive and well in Acura. Image isn’t quite the same as core value of a corporation. If it is Honda takes pride in engineering and practicality, do you think Acura shouldn’t?

    Acura doesn’t need to try too hard to differentiate itself from Honda. It just needs the right ingredients. And that won’t happen automatically, and certainly not if Acura continues to rely on Honda’s formula of FF platforms (supplemented by SH-AWD). I don’t see Acura coming up with its own technology similar to Honda’s VTEC either. There are some things that can’t be changed. Then there are things that should be. That’s where the fix for image appears.

    Now, to address the issue of purist car, that reference was for S2000, a Honda. How exactly does this apply to the conceptual differences between NSX and ASC? Are you suggesting that ASC is more of a luxury coupe as opposed to laying emphasis on performance? Perhaps the RL-coupe I suggested earlier. Believe me, nobody thinks of Ferraris and Lamborghinis and Porsches as purists cars. Those are the targets Acura’s super car should focus on, and perhaps become one, instead of 250 lb of sound proofing and just enough room in the back for a child seat.
  • autoboy16autoboy16 Posts: 992
    The TL is a fine car (an it or the tsx WILL be my next car if all things work out) and do is the tsx. I hope acura can get the TSX up to 280hp (The turbo and sh-awd) but can also make a low hp tsx. Think 335i & 328i. I like how acura planned the sport package out with the MDX as I'm not thrilled about a sport tuned suspension. I don't want to ride on pillows either. Bmw got slammed with the sport package on the x3. I know honda/acura can do it.

    Regarding the w engine, Honda does almost everything right the 1st time (Think insight or even the 1st Legends & integras. Sh-awd too ;) )Whos to say they cant get the W engine right the 1st time or at least within the 1st 2years? Vw has been having problems with everything for some time now. Honda on with the transmissions but that been fixed on the newer models. I think honda should give that a try. Its better to try and have a possibility to succeed than to never try at all.

    Yes honda does need platforms. The accord, civic, and s2000 platforms are great but should be more s2000 and less accord IMO. I guess diesel engines are the top priority now for honda. Imagine a 40mpg TL, 45mpg tsx, or even a 35mpg RL! The best fuel efficiency in the class, best value for the money, and stellar reliability are the things to be known for now.

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