By on November 19, 2013

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The naturally aspirated engine has always been a cornerstone of Honda’s engineering philosophy, but the company looks set to abandon that in the near future, with a move to turbocharged engines happening by the end of the decade.

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Mainstream applications will see a 1.0L 3-cylinder engine  and both a 1.5L and 2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder engines, with the 2.0L variant making as much as 280 horsepower. The big-bore application will be debuting in the next-generation Civic Type-R, and all three engines will incorporate VTEC variable valve timing. North American applications have yet to be confirmed.

The 1.5L engine will be a go for North America, in vehicles like the Acura ILX, Honda Civic and even the Accord. Honda envisions the 1.5L unit as a replacement for naturally aspirated 1.8L units, delivering 15 percent gains in fuel economy while besting it in torque by as much as 45 percent.

A new 8-speed dual-clutch gearbox will debut alongside the 7-speed unit Honda has developed, though according to Automotive News, the 8-speed unit will be mated to a torque converter to help increase smoothness. Dual clutch gearboxes will be prominent in vehicles with engine sizes ranging from 2.0 to 3.0L, while CVTs will be the main gearbox in smaller vehicles, even replacing manual transmissions. On larger vehicles like the Odyssey minivan, the automatic transmission will remain.

Perhaps the most exciting news is that of the NSX and its future powertrain. Honda will be going with a longitudinal layout (rather than the old NSXs transverse layout) for its V6 engine, which will now pack twin turbochargers. Honda hasn’t announced displacement figures for the V6, only saying that it may not be larger than the RLX’s 3.5L unit. With a similar Sport-Hybrid All-Wheel Drive setup, the RLX is good for 370 horsepower while getting 30 mpg combined. With turbocharging and perhaps a more aggressive hybrid setup, the NSX could easily top 500 horsepower, while being substantially lighter.

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53 Comments on “Next Acura NSX To Get Twin-Turbo V6, As Honda Moves Towards Forced Induction...”


  • avatar
    davefromcalgary

    At least its a V6!

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    I know that plenty of my fellow auto enthusiasts believe that turbos are the end of the world for Honda’s longevity just because of how iffy they are in most European products, but even when everybody was using naturally-aspirated engines and everyone was on a level playing field, it was clear where, say, Honda’s priorities on a given engine were versus BMW’s priorities for an engine of a similar class. There was always that disparity between the running gear of a TL and that of a 525/528i. Based on what I have seen from recent Honda products, I have enough confidence in Honda to believe that it will make sure these turbo’ed engines are reliable and long-lasting, and that it won’t sacrifice its sterling reputation in order to gain volume and specification bragging-rights.

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      To be honest I’m skeptical of just Vtec Hondas, the last time I searched for early 90′s Preludes on craigslist almost all of them had dead engines, but shockingly none of them were riced out.

      I trust Honda with its turbo engines, I just worry about NSX buyers “tooning” them up and attempting to drift them into guardrails (despite the new NSX being 4wd).

      • 0 avatar
        juicy sushi

        That was never really the NSX’s fan base though. At least, definitely not from new. Idiots buying tired, used examples might try that, but I don’t think too many will be tuning the NSX up too much. On the other hand, over-boosted Civics and Fits will definitely be all the rage.

      • 0 avatar
        Roader

        IDK about Preludes, but F-series VTEC Accord engines (’94 thru ’02) will easily go 300K w/regular maintenance. Some (most?) Preludes of that era were DOHC and geared pretty low. Maybe they were thrashed by boy racers.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        VTEC Honda mills are as reliable as the sunrise. I think the only thing that really does them in is neglected timing belts, and the torture they endure at the hands of ricers (running low on oil and coolant, overrevving caused by missed shifts, etc).

        The one prelude engine that has any sort of notable issue is the 3rd gen Preludes, the cylinder sleeves are “fiber reinforced metal,” the rings end up wearing out and the car starts to burn oil. From there it is possible that neglecting to keep an eye on the level will lead to starvation and lead to seizure.

        A torquey Civic is an almost strange thought lol. I’m curious to see where this goes, but I have to say I like my plain and simple NA Honda mills.

        • 0 avatar
          Ryoku75

          The examples that I’ve seen didn’t have fart cans so I’m not going to pull the ricer card.

          But, them being older Hondas, I’m going to pull the “lack of maintenance” card that often plagues most older Toyotas and Hondas, buyers pick them up and run them dry without ever opening the hood.

          The way I see it, Volvo and Saab were able to turbo charge cars in the 80′s that when maintained could last for a good 300k or so, with modern technology I bet Honda could do the same.

          At the same time I just hope they tear off that ugly beak from the NSX.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Yeah, too many people say “oh its a Honda, it will never break!” and they run the poor things into the ground. The cars put up an admirable fight, hence their reputation, but succumb to neglect like anything else.

            a fellow intern drove a battered and abused 96 Accord with 183k miles. Bald tires, worn balljoints, leaking valve cover gasket caused by a clogged PCV valve, in turn caused by rare oil changes and occasional overfilling is my guess. Clogged IACV, dangling exhaust, smashed in front end from hitting a deer 3 years ago and never getting it fixed (yay lack of inspections in kentucky!). I felt terrible for the car, a few junkyard runs and $500 worth of parts and some elbow grease would have made it a great rust free ride for years to come.

            I topped off the oil (the dipstick came out dry) straightened out the headlight frame mount with my car’s emergency jack, got her a junkyard headlight and chickenwired it in place, crimped in a section of oversized universal exhaust pipe with some u bolts to connect her muffler to the mid-pipe, and convinced her to spend $200 for a pair of new tires.

            Despite the neglect, the engine still pulled strong and transmission shifted well. I shudder to think of when the timing belt was last changed.

          • 0 avatar
            Kyree S. Williams

            “Oh, I was supposed to change the oil? But I thought it was a [insert Honda, Nissan or Toyota model here].”

            I completely agree. People say that BMW, Audi and especially Jaguar owners accept ridiculously expensive procedures as simply being routine maintenance for their cars, and that’s true. But the pendulum swings the other way for Japanese cars in that their owners think the cars are bulletproof appliances and need no maintenance or upkeep. Seriously…neglect is the reason that buying a pre-owned Japanese car can be a real gamble, sometimes more so than a notoriously-delicate European car that had been taken care of. Even the most reliable car will eventually become a complete piece of crap if its basic needs aren’t met.

  • avatar
    ash78

    Potentially reduced reliability is just one small pitfall, and it probably won’t be too material. The other is the increased cost of maintenance and especially repairs IF something goes wrong. Diagnostics are more complex, repair bills are inherently higher, and there are simply more failure points in the system.

    Despite Honda’s being probably the best auto engineering firm on earth, the above is self-evident and no doubt figured into their business decision (obviously driven heavily by emissions and mpg targets). The bottom line is that in 10 years, Hondas don’t have to be more reliable than Hondas today; they only have to be better than the competition…almost of all of whom will also have forced induction.

    I’m only speaking as a 10+ year car owner. If I were a standard “new every 4 years” buyer, I’d see this as a huge improvement.

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      “Diagnostics are more complex, repair bills are inherently higher, and there are simply more failure points in the system.”

      Which explains why as cars have gotten more complex, they have gotten more reliable.

      • 0 avatar
        ash78

        Two different things: Cars have gotten more reliable in spite of greater complexity. That trends can’t continue forever.

        Further, the concept and measurement of reliability has shifted. People are rarely stranded by anything besides a dead battery anymore. Engines and trannies very rarely fail. But how many people have faced injector problems with DI engines, turbo leaks or coking, constant CELs from emissions-related systems, etc? Those things are increasing in their likelihood, not decreasing.

        There is little incentive for manufacturers to build a 10-year or 20-year car if that’s not the behavior of the market. We want cheap, efficient, fast, reliable (short-term), and it has to meet EPA guidance. That’s a tall order.

        • 0 avatar
          jmo

          “Cars have gotten more reliable in spite of greater complexity.”

          Because of, not in spite of.

          “Those things are increasing in their likelihood, not decreasing.”

          Evidence please.

          • 0 avatar
            pragmatist

            Basic mathematics, other things being equal, more failure points = less reliability.

            Consider two engines of equal build quality. One is NA, one is turbo. The turbo has several failure modes and hundreds of parts that simply DO NOT EXIST on the NA engine. The fragile, lubrication sensitive turbine bearings, the turbine itself, valves, controls, seals–all these are parts (yes they can and do fail, hence the replacement turbo business) which will never, ever fail in a NA engine.

            On the other hand there are NO components in the NA engine which don’t exist in the turbo.

            I notice too the blame the user sentiment. A co worker had the turbos replaced on his BMW, the excuse was ‘.. not enough warmup… yadayada.. not enought spin down .. yada yada.. all his fault… yada yada. No it a complex rats nest of unnecessary junk.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Well put, Pragmatist.

          • 0 avatar
            MBella

            You’re right pragmatist. As I have said before, all these turbo engines are going to cause some trouble. The NSX or Civic Type-R engines are cool because they are limited edition performance models. The NSX especially is also more likely to be maintained correctly also. However the normal everyday Civics and Accords will have some reliability issues that just would not be the case on an NA engine.

        • 0 avatar
          cognoscenti

          Agreed! A friend of mine bought a CPO E90 335i, and countless parts replaced in one year under warranty (including both turbos) on a 30,000 mile car was too much. He sold it and went all the way back to an E36 M3/4/5. His experienced turned me off to the 335i altogether – now I look at 328′s with 6MT and no nav.

    • 0 avatar
      WheelMcCoy

      >> If I were a standard “new every 4 years” buyer, I’d see this as a huge improvement.

      Depending where you go on the internet, the U.S. trend is now a new car every 6 years. More impressively, the average age of a car on the road is 9 to 11 years.

      I’m not convinced turbos improve fuel economy. It gives a manufacturer HP bragging rights, but you need to stay out of boost to get the rated mpg. True, everyone is offering it, but Honda/Acura didn’t do a very good turbo in the first gen RDX. Hopefully, their tech has improved.

      • 0 avatar
        jmo

        “you need to stay out of boost to get the rated mpg. ”

        A very large percentage of the population has never pressed the gas peddle all the way down or hit the red line on their tach.

      • 0 avatar
        JMII

        As someone who has owned several turbos (Eclipse GS-T, VW Passat 1.8T, Volvo C30 T5) I can tell you they do get decent mileage (30 MPG). Just think about it: off boost you’ve got your standard 4 banger, but on boost you have V6 like thrust. Another advantage: easy ECU upgrades to increase power. The problem was they needed premium gas so this somewhat offset the savings gained by better fuel economy.

        I also owned several Hondas a long time ago (two Civics and a Prelude) and the main thing I hated most about them was their lack of low-end torque. Turning on the A/C zapped my Prelude Si’s fun-to-drive factor significantly. Turbos will fix that problem!

        BTW – motorsports tie in? Honda ran turbos in CART and the IRL for years, so moving back to turbos in F1 seems like a logic move for them.

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          I hear you on A/C hampering Hondas, my dad’s FIt has weakling A/C and it totally takes the spunk out of that little 1.5 E-VTEC unit. My Civic’s throttle response gets dampened by the A/C running, enough to make my shifting significantly less smooth. At least the A/C in the Civic is very strong, uncharacteristically so for a Honda.

        • 0 avatar
          NormSV650

          Has Honda mass produced an V6(no V8′s i know)engine and a transmission to handle much over 265-275 lb-ft of torque? Not unless this V6TT is going to be a sub 3.0l with triple controlled wastegate control torque to under 300 lb-ft’s.

  • avatar
    stuntmonkey

    Synergistic with the return to F-1. When F-1 was all about the V10′s and the rev’s, Acura was pushing VTEC and the McLaren/Honda connection. It would make no sense to into F-1 next year if they’re racing turbos and selling NA screamers… the marketing tie-in makes no sense. That’s also why Ferrari hasn’t always been cooperative about the switch… they sell no V-6′s, there’s no emotional connection to their road cars.

    I had also forgotten that the NSX engine was transverse instead of longitudinal. Any engineers out there no how much transmission efficiency gains the NSX would have gotten from that? It always seemed strong for ‘only’ 270bhp.

    • 0 avatar
      racer-esq.

      The longitudinal engine may offer advantanges in terms of left-right weight distribution, equal length half shafts and (maybe) hybrid packaging.

      But the transverse layout is more efficient, i.e. transfers more of the available power to the wheels/has less parasitic loss.

      • 0 avatar
        raph

        Is that true even with a longitudal trans axle setup? It seems to me the gain in efficiency is simply the elimination of the driveshaft.

        Unless of course the transverse arrangement offers some benefit due to a simpler gearbox and/or able to transmit a load better.

        • 0 avatar
          racer-esq.

          Even when comparing transaxle setups transverse layout avoids the need for a bevel gear arrangement – no right angle gears are necessary.

          The efficiency difference is not huge, and obviously Honda found the net benefits of a longitudinal layout superior for the upcomming NSX.

    • 0 avatar
      cdotson

      Having to transmit power through a 90º bend does cause an efficiency loss due to the necessity of gear tooth sliding on any of the typical differential styles that run quietly. Depending on how far the vertical offset is between the pinion axis and the axle centerline the efficiency loss could be from 1-3% (typical spiral bevel) to up to 5% (high-offset hypoid).

  • avatar
    AMC_CJ

    N/A 4cylinders get the job done, and reliably, but are absolutely terrible to drive. I think the worse one I ever drove was in a 02′ish Miata. You had to rev the piss out of that thing to make that car go anywhere. That thing was begging for some kind of low-end grunt.

    The 2.0L in our Jetta is pretty miserable too.

    The new ford 3.7L worried me at first with such a high redline and torque peak, but, in the Mustang at least, it still has enough grunt in the low end to get moving and stay moving without revving it too much; then you rev it, and you’re moving pretty quick.

    Personally, I’m looking forward to more turbo-3cyl engines taking the place of the 4cyl. A little smaller, so easier to work around a engine bay. Fewer fuel injectors, spark plugs, etc. and hopefully some power down low due to the Turbo.

  • avatar
    nickoo

    Don’t dissappoint honda. Use a water to air intercooler with a two stage turbo setup and a 3way exhaust manifold, bypass, low pressure low rpm turbo, and high pressure high rpm turbo…gotta keep that “vtech kicked in yo” spirit alive. It would also be nice to see cross plane cranks on 4 cylinders finally hit the auto world…

    • 0 avatar
      wmba

      Virtually all 4 cylinder engines have flat cranks anyway – how else are you going to get an even- firing engine? A Ferrari V8 engine is unusual for using a crossplane crank and it makes it like two fours. Yamaha race engines aside, where an uneven firing caused by using a crossplane crank was touted as an advance with the usual “I’m having a vivid daydream” line of whimsical Japanese reasoning is, thank goodness, highly unlikely to be adopted by Honda. Who wants to listen to the patter of a three-legged nag clopping down the street? Not me.

      • 0 avatar
        nickoo

        Trust me…yamaha knew what they were doing when they built the cross plane for the r1. Eliminating inertial torque of a flat plane 4 cylinder is more important than the firing order, not to mention that sweet exhaust music.

      • 0 avatar
        tjh8402

        I agree on the sound being better. The Yamaha cross plane engine sounds fantastic. I wish the Miata sounded like that.

  • avatar
    TW5

    The emergence of a turbocharged V6 and a turbocharged I4 is probably imminent, given the direction of motorsports and the market. Widespread turbocharging is fantasy.

    Honda will not let market trends dictate long-term corporate strategy. They will make the best turbocharged engines and 8-speed gearboxes out of spite, and they will attempt to punish other manufacturers for adopting superfluous junk-tech by stealing their thunder. That’s how Honda works.

    How many years have they refused to offer a V8 engine for the North American marketplace?

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      True, although in all fairness, A V8 has never been necessary for Honda’s product portfolio, especially now that they’ve got the V6 and electric motor combo…

      • 0 avatar
        TW5

        Of course V8s are unnecessary. Turbos are also unnecessary, regardless of CAFE 2025.

        However, necessity and market-demand are not often congruous. Honda has never been keen to pander to the fashion trends in the auto business. Honda will turbocharge just to show they are the best engineers, but it won’t become the backbone of their lineup, imo.

    • 0 avatar
      racer-esq.

      Honda has not needed a V8. It has needed RWD for the Acura lineup.

      As it stands Acura serves only to punish Honda, not any other luxury car maker.

  • avatar
    Olyar15

    As someone who is number seven on the wait list for the NSX at a local dealer, I was super stoked when I read about the engine. Can’t wait. Of course, Honda never does huge power, so I doubt that the engine will produce much more than 500hp, at least initially.

  • avatar
    cpthaddock

    So, how did the 1st gen RDX fare? How good / bad have the many years of Honda turbo diesels been?

    Genuinely interested, not trolling!

  • avatar
    Reino

    “Dual clutch gearboxes will be prominent in vehicles with engine sizes ranging from 2.0 to 3.0L, while CVTs will be the main gearbox in smaller vehicles, even replacing manual transmissions.”

    I’ve always thought that if any maker would buck the trend and continue to offer cars with three pedals, it would be Honda. Now it seems even they will be going away with the traditional manual. Once Honda stops offering a car with three pedals, a chapter in enthusiast history will finally be at an end :(

  • avatar
    imag

    Honda,

    If you could offer a reduced cost version of the NSX without the electric motors and batteries, that would be great.

    Thanks.

  • avatar
    Demetri

    Put that 1.0L turbo in the S660 and I’m buying one.

  • avatar
    NormSV650

    April F…what? Just make the frick’n car already!

  • avatar
    calgarytek

    Who cares about the engine, I’m more concerned with chassis/suspension. To that end, the most important question of this Honda is:

    Does it have front double wishbones?

    Other relevant questions:

    Will it make extensive use of aluminum in the chassis/suspension/body panels?

    What will be the price tag?

  • avatar
    kvndoom

    Ugggggggh, so 2017 (last year of 9th Gen Accord) will be the last year of the sweet, voluptuous J35? I’m almost in tears here. …and that lovely buttery 6-speed? Oh man, kill me now.

    I can’t say that I lament the rotary news. But this, this just HURTS.

    Hell or high water, I will get a 2017 Accord coupe and drive it until the wheels fall off the damn thing.

  • avatar
    suspekt

    TTAC STAFF:

    Please post pictures of the new NSX Drivetrain layout that is all over the interwebs. The engine block and electrified DCT castings are a sight to behold…..

  • avatar
    daiheadjai

    Not sure if this news sucks, or if it blows.
    It might do both.

    It seems the days of low-displacement, high-strung, high-revving N/A engines are over.


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