Electric NSX nears, exquisite glass mascots on exhibit, new HR-V flaunts storage
Did Honda just tease an electric NSX?
Intake: Last night, Honda unveiled a grand plan to allocate more than $40 billion towards the electrification of its entire lineup. The big H plans to launch 30 EV models globally by 2030 with annual production reaching 2 million units. Among that slew of BEVs, Honda noted that two sports models are in the works—one “specialty” model and one “flagship” vehicle. Check out that silk-covered model on the right in the teaser image above—that sure looks like an NSX to us. The company hasn’t confirmed anything officially with regards to what that swoopy creation will be called, but Acura vice president and brand officer Jon Ikeda did allude to what the NSX nameplate does for Honda/Acura in an interview with The Drive last August. “If you notice, we make an NSX when there’s something we want to say,” said Ikeda. “The first generation was gas. Second-gen was hybrid. There’s gonna be another one.”
Exhaust: Honda surely has, as Ikeda put it, “something to say” in this far-reaching announcement. The second-gen 2021 NSX features a 3.5-liter twin-turbo V-6 aided by three electric motors—one on each of the front wheels and one for the rear wheels—with a total system output of 573 hp and 476 lb-ft of torque. The second-gen 2022 NSX Type S, meanwhile, cranks the power up to 600 hp and 492 lb-ft of torque. Naturally, we’d expect the performance numbers of an all-electric NSX to handily outclass the figures mentioned above, while perhaps leaving room for a Type S variant down the road. There’s no timeline on when an electric NSX would grace our presence, but we’re hoping it’s sooner rather than later. Now about that other shadowy figure … revamped S2000, anyone?
Harley-Davidson’s new, smaller Sportster is dubbed Nightster
Intake: Harley-Davidson revealed the Nightster today, adding to its “sport” lineup of motorcycles. The bike borrows heavily from the design of the Sportster S but packs a new, smaller version of the Revolution Max V-twin. Displacing 975cc, the new engine is liquid-cooled and features variable valve timing along with a downdraft air-intake system that improves flow through the engine. This equates to 90 horsepower and 70 pound feet of torque thrumming from a bike with a seat height of just 27.8 inches and a very narrow profile, a formula that works well for a very wide range of riders. With the gas tank now becoming the air box, fuel storage moves under the seat. That brings weight even lower in the chassis and likely will make Nightster a very nimble machine. Expect the Nightster to appear in dealer showrooms this month and be priced $2000 under the Sportster S at $13,499.
Exhaust: The Sportster S was a delight to ride, so this model has us excited for an approachable version that also appears to have lots of potential for customization.
This 850-mile Lexus LFA is poised to make a million
Intake: A 2012 Lexus LFA with just 850 miles on the odometer is rapidly racking up bids on Bring a Trailer. The car is number 235 of 500 and, despite spending time in California, Arizona, Ohio, and Florida it has covered less than 100 miles a year. Finished in Starfire Pearl with a white leather interior, featuring red and black accents, it sits on 20-inch BBS alloys, behind which you can see red Brembo calipers and carbon-ceramic rotors. The 4.8-liter V-10 engine, developed in partnership with Yamaha, is barely run-in and probably has never been stretched to its epic 9000 rpm redline. We suspect that the Aisin six-speed single-clutch automated sequential gearbox has never been asked to fire through its fastest 200-millisecond shifts and that the 552-hp car’s 3.7-second 0-to-62 mph time and 202-mph top speed have never been put to the test, either.
Exhaust: An LFA in #1 (Concours) condition, such as this almost-undriven example, is worth $988,000 right now. However, prices for Lexus’ supercar have been rocketing upward in 2022. As early as mid-2021, values for all conditions of the limited-run Nürburgring Edition cleared six figures. This base LFA is poised to tip over the million-dollar mark.
Lalique glass car mascots join National Motor Museum’s collection
Intake: A stunning collection of 28 exquisite Lalique glass car mascots has been purchased by the U.K.’s National Motor Museum Trust. With the support of grant funding from four donors, the stunning assortment becomes the first publicly owned collection of Lalique Car Mascots in the world. The mascots were previously on loan from a private owner as the centerpiece of the National Motor Museum’s “The Luxury of Motoring” exhibition. In 1928, master glassmaker René Lalique chose to celebrate the 10th anniversary of end of World War I with a car mascot called Victoire, intended to adorn the bonnets of the finest luxury motorcars of the era. Also called Spirit of the Wind, the hair of an androgynous figure is blown back by the wind. Many more followed, but for safety reasons, glass car mascots were gradually phased out through the 1930s, and Lalique transformed these figureheads into statuettes with a base so they could serve as paper weights or bookends. According to the museum, the seller was an avid fisherman and began his Lalique collection with the figure of the perch, and it took six years for him to acquire all 28 pieces.
Exhaust: Lalique’s stunning work represents an era when car mascots were the ultimate luxury, capturing the grace and power of the cars they adorned and advertising the personality and taste of their owners. We’re happy to see this amazing collection now on public display, so that museum-goers can enjoy the mascots in person.
It took 2000 hours to “tune” the Pininfarina Battista
Intake: How do you replace the sensual sounds of internal combustion with an emotive audio track for an electric hypercar? That’s the conundrum that engineers at Pininfarina, Novo Sonic, and Naim Audio faced when designing the soundtrack for the Battista. Electing to exaggerate the noise of the car’s four electric motors, the team came up with a concept they call Sono Puro (pure sound). It’s built around a specific frequency of 432 Hertz, which is said to have been used by Verdi and Mozart to create an uplifting feeling. “According to music theory, A=432 Hz is mathematically consistent with the universe. This is known as Verdi’s ‘A’. Music tuned to 432 Hz is softer and brighter and is said to provide greater clarity and is more pleasant to listen to,” explains Tom Huber, CEO of Novo Sonic. At “idle” the car emits a more bassy, 54 Hz sound, which is exactly three octaves down from that 432-Hz target. The synthesized sounds are sent out by 12 speakers and are tuned according to each of the car’s five different driving modes. Appropriately, when the Battista’s full 1900 hp is unleashed in Furiosa mode the sound is at its loudest and most intense, making full use of the Naim Audio system’s 1300 watts of sonic power.
Exhaust: There’s an undeniable amount of time and energy spent on the sonic aesthetics here, but we’d wager that a first-time passenger’s most lingering sensation of this 1877-hp EV will be whiplash, not synth tunes.
2023 HR-V flaunts improved storage space
Intake: Thanks to a new architecture derived from the 11th-gen Civic, the new HR-V will improve on power (158 hp, most likely, versus 141) and fuel economy (26/31 vs. 33/42) compared to the current vehicle. It looks quite a bit more handsome, and now we know the mini SUV will be more spacious to boot. This couple and their vinyl-weave bench demonstrate that folding rear seats (“Magic Seat,” in Honda parlance) remain. Expect cargo room to improve above the ’22 model’s 58.8 cubic feet of cargo space with the seats down, even if the 24.3 cubic-feet stat with them up remains about the same. Honda’s also offered a sexy gray-scale photo (below) of the front cabin, whose center console includes a rubber-lined, pass-through nook. Handy.
Exhaust: Enthusiasts know Honda for the Civic Si and giant-slaying Type R, but it is ho-hum cars like the HR-V—meticulously tailored to current trends and economical customers—that pay the bills. The 2023 HR-V looks set for success.