Automotive

Not the NSX – what is this mid-engined Honda?

Not the NSX – what is this mid...
These CAD images reveal designs for a new mid-engined concept car that’s yet to appear at any shows
These CAD images reveal designs for a new mid-engined concept car that’s yet to appear at any shows
View 7 Images
These CAD images reveal designs for a new mid-engined concept car that’s yet to appear at any shows
1/7
These CAD images reveal designs for a new mid-engined concept car that’s yet to appear at any shows
If this car gets a debut, it’s likely to be as a concept, with any decision on production a long way off - but the S660 and NSX both appeared as concepts long before reaching production
2/7
If this car gets a debut, it’s likely to be as a concept, with any decision on production a long way off - but the S660 and NSX both appeared as concepts long before reaching production
While this car appears to be a hardtop, the scope for a targa roof or even a full convertible is clear
3/7
While this car appears to be a hardtop, the scope for a targa roof or even a full convertible is clear
There’s certainly space for a newcomer between Honda’s two other mid-motored offering - the 550 bhp NSX and 63 bhp S660
4/7
There’s certainly space for a newcomer between Honda’s two other mid-motored offering - the 550 bhp NSX and 63 bhp S660
Massive air intakes and outlets, along with a prominent fuel filler, make it clear that there’s a petrol engine hiding under there, although given the technology on the NSX an additional hybrid system can’t be ruled out
5/7
Massive air intakes and outlets, along with a prominent fuel filler, make it clear that there’s a petrol engine hiding under there, although given the technology on the NSX an additional hybrid system can’t be ruled out
At the moment the designs are clearly a long way from a production reality
6/7
At the moment the designs are clearly a long way from a production reality
If this car gets a debut, it’s likely to be as a concept, with any decision on production a long way off - but the S660 and NSX both appeared as concepts long before reaching production
7/7
If this car gets a debut, it’s likely to be as a concept, with any decision on production a long way off - but the S660 and NSX both appeared as concepts long before reaching production
View gallery - 7 images

Honda's much-delayed NSX and tinyS660 have this year marked the firm’s first venture back into theworld of mid-engined cars since the first-generation NSX and Beat ofthe 1990s – and these patents hint that there may be more to come.

The CAD images reveal designs for a newmid-engined concept car that’s yet to appear at any shows. Styledin Honda’s American studio, the design appears to be for a car that’sslightly smaller than the technological tour-de-force that is theNSX, with styling that borrows cues from both the NSX and the S660.

There’s certainly space betweenHonda’s two other mid-motored offerings; the S660 gets by on just63 bhp (47 kW) from its 660 cc three-cylinder turbo engine, while the new NSXpromises 550 bhp (410 kW) from a combination of a twin-turbo 3500 cc V6 andthree electric motors. And with no mainstream sports car offeringsince the demise of the much-missed S2000, it’s easy to see why thefirm might be considering creating something to rival the likes ofPorsche’s Boxster and Cayman while the NSX targets higher-end carslike the Porsche 911 and Audi R8.

Given Honda’s recent re-entry toFormula 1, troubled though it has been so far, and the launches ofthe NSX, S660 and new Civic Type R, it’s clear that the firm hasgot its sights set on regaining an image for high-performance cars,something that it once had but which has been allowed to wither inrecent years.

While this car appears to be a hardtop, the scope for a targa roof or even a full convertible is clear
While this car appears to be a hardtop, the scope for a targa roof or even a full convertible is clear

At the moment the designs you see hereare clearly a long way from a production reality. Details like thetiny, stylized mirrors and the door shut-lines that cut into thefront wheel arches are typical concept car elements that are unlikelyto appear on a production machine. If this car gets a debut, it’slikely to be as a concept, with any decision on production a long wayoff. But the S660 and NSX both appeared as concepts long beforereaching production, and both still look virtually identical to theoriginal show car versions.

While this car appears to be a hardtop,the scope for a targa roof or even a full convertible is clear thanks to the blacked-out roof section which could easily besliced off without severely affecting the rest of the car’sappearance.

If this car gets a debut, it’s likely to be as a concept, with any decision on production a long way off - but the S660 and NSX both appeared as concepts long before reaching production
If this car gets a debut, it’s likely to be as a concept, with any decision on production a long way off - but the S660 and NSX both appeared as concepts long before reaching production

At the back, the massive air intakes and outlets, alongwith a prominent fuel filler, make it clear that there’s a petrolengine hiding under there, although given the technology on the NSXan additional hybrid system can’t be ruled out, perhaps usingelectric power to drive the front wheels while the engine deals withthe rears.

If the car’s size is, as it appears,positioned between the S660 and NSX, then a four-cylinder turboengine of around 2000-2500cc would make sense. The latest CivicType-R engine, with 306bhp from 2000cc, could be the perfect choice.

In the nearer future, Honda isdeveloping a faster version of the S660 for export markets thataren’t restricted by Japan’s Kei car rules. Where the Kei versionis limited to 63 bhp and 660 cc, the export car is expected to have a1000 cc turbo engine with 127 bhp, and to use the S1000 name, which inturn harks back to the 1960s S500, S600 and S800 as well as the morerecent S2000.

View gallery - 7 images
7 comments
phydeaux
Prelude anyone?
Kevin Ritchey
Honda seemed to become as complacent as a suburban housewife when they moved production to the US. Nothing of any real worth in the sport segment has been produced for years, relying on sales of blah commuter sedans and soccer mom utility vehicles. Truly sad considering their involvements in most every format of racing except rally since they don't produce anything capable of fulfilling that segment. It's like the corporate management needs to either start exercising some balls or start Androgel treatments if they want to create something other than what appears to be a brick of putty left out in the sun too long. Time to grow a pair and make something saleable that breaks the 55 mph barrier.
Jeff Goldstein
I would like to see some exciting, sporty Honda s again. I have owned a lot of Honda s in the past. Currently I have a Pilot and a 19 year old Prelude VTEC that I bought new. With about 100,000 miles my Prelude is still a lot of fun to drive.Even the Accord that I had a long time ago handled well and was quick. I think it was smaller than the now bloated Civics. Now just about all the Honda s available in the US seem soft and bloated with no sportiness at all. I would be very interested in a S2000 if they were still made. After buying 6 Honda s in a row it is very disappointing that all of the current Hondas are so dull. Currently my thinking is to replace the Prelude with a used BMW 1 series convertible and the Pilot with a used Porsche Cayenne for about the same money as a new Pilot.
Stephen N Russell
Add manumatic, auto trans & manual trans options, Id drive this, or rent
Old J Hawthorne
Is it just me, or are new car designs getting progressively uglier?
Nicolas Zart
Honda has a lot of great ideas and nice teasers, but much like Audi and its 7 year long e-tron dance, "It's coming!", "It's not." and back and forth, it needs to act and sort out its internal nightmare.

We're all waiting and don't need the vague ideas. Deliver now, please. We've all waited long enough.
John Banister
While stylistically I prefer rounded corners to hard lines, I'd love to drive a mid-engined Boxster fighter from Honda that has electric motors powering the front wheels. I just hope they make the doorway hole bigger than the one on the i8.