Honda Set to Build a New V8 Engine. What's THAT All About?

Justin Berkowitz
by Justin Berkowitz
honda set to build a new v8 engine what s that all about

Motor Trend reports that Honda is building a V8 engine, much to the dismay of VTEC worshippers everywhere. Since GM has proven- again and again- that V8 engines are dynamically and commercially useless in front-wheel drive cars, the V8's future in Honda's FWD family is something of a mystery. The all wheel-drive Acura RL will surely be a recipient, since its V6-only configuration (not to mention bland looks and ADD interior) have left it an also-ran in the midsize luxury category. The Ridgeline or its eventual successor is another likely candidate for the eight-pot– even though there are some fanboys who'd prefer to use Ridgelines to create artificial reefs. The most logical recipient of Honda's V8: the NSX. But Honda has been saying all along that their next gen supercar will get a ten-cylinder vibration factory instead. Aside from all of the practical issues, why is fuel-miserly Honda making a V8? Unless it's part of some master plan to soften the blow for refugee NASCAR families ditching the Detroit iron, Honda's motives remain shrouded in secrecy and conjecture.

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  • Drew Drew on Jul 25, 2007
    Maybe Honda is getting into the full sized PU market? Maybe. But, again, it seems that Honda's upcoming turbodiesel V6 would be a better match for truck-type duty. Why does a V8 have to be fuel inefficient? The Corvette gets 28mpg highway. Well, the Corvette's coefficient of drag is pretty low at 0.29. For reference the Prius is 0.26. This low, low Cd also allows the use of a really tall overdrive to keep the revs down. The Corvette is relatively lightweight at 3200lbs as well. The reason that, all other things being equal, a V8 will get worse mileage than a V6 is internal to the engine itself. More pistons means more friction on the cylinder walls. More pistons means the cams and the crank all weigh more in addition to the weight of the pistons. This moving weight is different than things like seats and body panels and glass that doesn't move. Take a hunk of metal moving at 50 feet per second ( a piston) to the right (just to keep it easy). Now, reverse its direction of travel over the course of, say, 2 inches. It's now going at 50 feet per second to the left. It takes a tremendous amount of energy to do that. A V8 gets to do it a few thousand times per minute for each piston. In short, a V8 has to spend more energy than a V6 (which spends more than a 4) just to keep itself running. This is why a V8 with "cylinder cut-off technology" running on 6 cylinders still won't get as good of mileage as a V6. [Thus endeth the physics lesson] If Honda wants more power, I really think that a turbo version of one of their already sweet sixes would be ideal. At least from a technical standpoint. From a marketing standpoint? Well...I hope the engineers are still running Honda. Finally, I had to laugh at the Goldwing comments. My dad has one of those and I have to admit that i don't understand it. He just tells me to wait till I get old...
  • Jthorner Jthorner on Jul 25, 2007

    Honda is one of very few automobile companies in the world which doesn't make a V-8 right now. Consequently, there are big market segments they don't get to play in. Volvo gained a bunch of XC90 sales when they added the V-8 option. I would expect to see a Honda V-8 in the next RL and as an option in the MDX. Personally I would rather a good V-6 any day, but I am hardly representative of the car buying masses!

  • Orian Orian on Jul 25, 2007

    If Honda does indeed follow Toyota into Nascar it will be because Nascar has paid Honda to do so. Think about it - if the big three go belly up, Nascar is going to have a hard time finding support for a single engine manufacturer (face it folks, the cars have been the same for years - it's teetering on the verge of becoming a completely spec race series if the big three fall out of it leaving only Toyota able to participate with engines). I suppose its a bit ironic that the big three are mainly supporting Nascar while the rest of the world's manufacturers participate in Formula 1, WRC, and touring cars.

  • Jan Andersson Jan Andersson on Jul 26, 2007

    When there's only etanol to get, you need 40 % bigger engines.