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The star of the Honda booth at this year’s Geneva Motor Show will undoubtedly be the new NSX Concept. Unveiled as the Acura NSX Concept at the Detroit Auto Show, it will be rebranded for display in other markets, like Europe.
But the mid-engine V6 hybrid drive Japanese exotic won’t be the only new product, with Honda also set to reveal the first of its Earth Dreams Technology engines – a new 1.6-liter diesel that will find its way under the hood of the European Civic. The new engine makes 120 hp at 4000 rpm and 221 lb-ft of torque at 2000 rpm, but perhaps its biggest advantage comes in its light weight, with Honda saying it will be the lightest engine in its class, weighing even less than a 1.6-liter gasoline engine. Honda has not announced any plans to offer this new diesel engine in North America.
With it’s Earth Dreams Technology lineup of engines Honda is aiming to reclaim leadership in the fuel economy race, offering not only the most fuel efficient engines, but also the most powerful.
In addition to these products, Honda will also showcase a prototype of the European CR-V, as well as the EV-STER electric sports car.
GALLERY: Honda NSX Concept
Much has been said about the new Honda Civic receiving a list of early updates in a bid to silence critics while restoring the car’s class-leading fuel economy. This has all but been confirmed, with the Japanese automaker revealing an entire new lineup of engines and transmissions at a press briefing held at the Twin Ring Motegi Racing Circuit on the eve of the Tokyo Motor Show.
In total, Honda unveiled five all-new engines, ranging from a new Kei car 660 cc motor, to a flagship 3.5-liter V6 powertrain. With these engines Honda has said it is committed to being both a leader in fuel economy and engine output.
Engines destined for North America include a new 1.5-liter, 1.8-liter and 2.4-liter 4-cylinder, as well as a 3.5-liter V6. Across the board, all will receive direct-injection technology. The 4-cylinder engines gain a new VTEC arrangement with an Atkinson cycle lower load cam plus extensive friction reduction technologies. The result on a car like the Civic will be a 10 percent improvement in fuel economy, plus a 5 percent increase in power over the current model. The same goes for the 2.4-liter, which one Honda representative told us the new 2012 CR-V just missed out on receiving.
As for the V6 engine, it will replace both the current 3.5-liter and 3.7-liter engines, combining the best technologies of both, including a cylinder deactivation system while gaining direct injection. Honda provided a preliminary, and conservative, estimated power output with 310-hp and 265 lb-ft of torque, with a much stronger torque band.
Of note, all of the engines included a start-stop function, although no decision has been made by Honda as to whether we’ll see this technology in North America.
Apart from the new dual-clutch 7-speed transmission (integrated into a new SH-AW, discussion of automatics at the Honda event was non-existent. Instead, Honda revealed several new CVTs (and yes, they can hear you groaning in Motegi). Of note is a new CVT designed for compact cars, as well as another for mid-size, meaning you should look for CVTs to find their way into cars like the Civic, Accord and CR-V soon. As terrible as all this may sound for Honda owners dreading the thought of a CVT, the good news is what Honda is calling “G-Design Shift”, which was created to help deliver more immediate throttle response. We did have the change to test out the new CVT in a 2.4-liter direct-injection TSX but we can’t tell you about it until the embargo lifts next week. Stay tuned.
Along with a new lineup of direct-injection gasoline engines and a performance-oriented electric SH-AWD equipped V6 hybrid model, Honda has announced a new two-mode hybrid system that will come paired with a 4-cylinder engine. Replacing the brand’s out-dated Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) single-mode hybrid system it will allow for an electric-only range at low speeds, as well as a full gasoline mode and a combination hybrid mode.
Using an electric motor and a lithium-ion battery pack mated to a new 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine Honda is promising it will be the world’s most efficient hybrid drivetrain, while also making the bold statement that it will deliver “enhanced driving performance.” Whether or not that means it is capable of topping the Prius’ 50-mpg rating and offer reasonable power remains to be seen.
Regardless, we’re not likely to see the system used in a small hybrid with Honda creating the two-mode hybrid to first be used in mid-sized vehicles. We saw the first example of this with the new two-mode hybrid (a plug-in version) being used in an Accord model (above) during a technical presentation and driving event held at the company’s Twin Ring Motegi race facility.
A new Honda hybrid system has been rumored and reported on for quite some time, but now the wait is over – almost. Honda has announced a car using the new plug-in hybrid powertrain will begin production next year, with a non plug-in version arriving 12 months later in 2013.