Honda's new 0 Series lineup could debut a new flagship sports car

3 months, 3 weeks ago - 31 January 2024, Autoblog
Honda's new 0 Series lineup could debut a new flagship sports car
Would be 'thin, light' and with a 'different taste' to previous Hondas

There's a chance a flagship sports car emerges from Honda's new 0 Series of battery-electric vehicles introduced at the Consumer Electronics Show. And seeing how the 0 Series already has a defined shelf life, starting with a debut model on the market by 2026 and a sunset around 2031, we suspect the first couple of years of that window would be ideal for a sports car launch.

The hint comes via Autocar, which spoke to Honda CEO Toshihiro Mibe at CES. Let's start by saying that Mibe never confirmed a sports car. He did, however, say that the R&D department already has a prototype, development work is "steadily proceeding," the business-case people are studying the market, and that "personally, I would like to make it happen."

The report says this potential performance car would be kin with the "distinct character" and cyberpunk shapes of the two CES concepts, the Saloon concept (pictured) and the Space Hub concept. After that, Mibe said, "The first priority of making these kinds of cars is that they need to be fun to drive, no matter what powertrain they use."      

It's far too early to try to figure out where such a vehicle might emerge from the nebula of rumor, hope, and hype around Honda's sports car intentions. The automaker's made public comments about an electric or a hybrid for at least 13 years; the same Mibe who's now CEO said in 2011 when he was R&D chief, "President Ito has already mentioned a new NSX, and we have looked at that in the R&D department. It would be an interesting project — electric or hybrid vehicles can be fun as well as economical." Acura promised an electric third-gen NSX in 2021. Almost exactly a year later, Honda teased two electric sports cars that enthusiasts figured could be a new NSX and a new S2000. In 2022, Acura again spoke of a new NSX EV, and in 2023, teased a concept called the Performance Electric Vision Concept that sure looked like an NSX design study. Two months later, Honda showed a Prelude concept at last year's Japan Mobility Show, but that was a hybrid and possessed nothing of the "completely different taste" that Mibe mentioned a 0 Series sports car would convey.  

We wouldn't be surprised if Honda hasn't decided on anything yet — the automaker takes its deliberations seriously. At the same time Mibe made comments on the NSX, he said, "We are now at a point where we can consider the next generation of electric and hybrid vehicles." All we've seen for EVs in 13 years was the one-year-only Fit EV, the California-only Clarity FCEV, the short-lived overseas-only Honda e, and the not-to-be-repeated Honda Prologue.

On the other hand, in our report on 5 things we learned about the 0 Series lineup, one was that there might be a debut vehicle before the Saloon-based production car arrives in 2026. Mibe emphasized at CES that the 0 Series is about reimagining the EV, saying, "The mobility we dream of is not an extension of the trend of ‘thick, heavy, but smart’ EVs. We will create a completely new value from zero based on thin, light and wise as the foundation for our new Honda 0 EV Series." That is a tantalizing description of an electric performance car. Come on, Honda. 

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