Acura ASC: the lowdown
Honda has given a huge hint about its NSX supercar replacement with this Advanced Sports Car Concept. Honda president Takeo Fukui unveiled the supercar in Detroit, and revealed key details of the production car. It will run a V10 engine, mounted in the nose, and turning all four wheels. 'My passion is performance,' said Fukui. 'And our direction is clear: we plan to make advances in technology, design and performance with this car.' Click 'next' for more.
Design: Corvette meets Cadillac
The ASC was designed by Honda's Los Angeles studio. The stylists have clearly been studying America's supercar icon, because the front end screams of the Corvette. And the crisp creases and sheer surfaces are reminiscent of Cadillac's stillborn supercar, the 2002 Cien. 'Our intention was to design an exotic sports car that gracefully combines advanced technology and strong emotion,' said Jon Ikeda, principal designer, Acura Design Center. 'The technical, machined surfaces and keen-edge design are balanced with sweeping curves and dramatic lines, all of which results in the ultimate exotic sports car.' The horizontal light bar which dominates the rear is a nod back to the original NSX. It rolls on 19-inch wheels up front, 20s at the back. Overall length is 4.6m-long – around 0.5m longer than a 911.
Honda ASC: under the skin
The ASC attempts to forge a link with Honda's F1 team. Motorsport fan Fukui mentioned Jenson Button's sole victory in 2006, at the Hungarian Grand Prix, in his speech. The production car – tipped to be unveiled at this autumn's Tokyo show – will run a V10, rather than the V8s now adopted in F1. Honda's Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive system – which figures on the new Legend saloon – will channel torque between all four wheels depending on conditions. But the torque split wil be rear-biased, as Audi has done with the RS4 quattro.
Is the ASC bound for Europe?
Some Europeans may be scratching their heads about the Acura badge. It's related to Honda in the same way Lexus is to Toyota – the company's upmarket, US brand. And like Lexus, Honda is pushing Acura into overseas markets, with the brand soon to launch in China, then Japan. What about western Europe? There's no official date to launch Acura here, although Nissan's upscale brand Infiniti will join Lexus in markets like the UK, France and Germany soon. Honda may be forced to follow suit, to keep growing and avoid being left behind. If not, the outcry from Europe's passionate NSX fans might be enough to get the Mk2 sold as an Acura through Honda dealerships...