Edition 38 - October 24, 2001
Legend / Acura RL
Noting the terrible failure of the current RL on the market place, Honda is revamping its current strategy and is close to finalising a V8 engine which will be shared with the new NSX coming out in 2003 (although a delay is expected for the debut). A hint of BMW 3-series can be seen in the front headlights and the usual Honda slab-side flanks in this computer rendering can be seen.
To shared a V8 engine with its Legend/RL sibling, the next NSX will have a V8 engine mounted amidships. Styling will be much more dramatic than the current model, and interior quality will be raised in order for the NSX to compete with a raft of strong competitors, such as the next Skyline GTR R35, the Porsche 911, the Aston Martin Vanquish, new RX-8 and RX-7, and THE competitor, Ferrari 360 Modena. Just how Honda can produce a car worthy of being compared to the Ferrari 360 is still a mystery.
At the Tokyo Motor Show, Honda will be releasing a new model much more important to its survival as an independent entity than the NSX - the new Accord.
More speculation as to whether Toyota will introduce an NSX competitor, and to tie in with its efforts in next year's Formula One season. Toyota recently has been matching Honda model for model and is using all of its considerable marketing clout to make life miserable for Honda in Japan, so a competitor for the NSX is a logical guess.
The V12 used in the home-market-only Century was studied for a possible basis of the engine in the 5000GT, hence its current rumored name. A V12 will provide the panache necessary to compete in an extremely conservative segment, where image counts the most.
Toyota Altezza / Lexus IS
The next Toyota Altezza will follow Japan's new model development tradition: competely new looks unrelated to its predecessor. Toyota will even ditch the inline six cylinder engine which started life in the Supra JZA80 model from the nineties and replace with a new V6 engine. The biggest capacity version will likely put out more than the BMW 330i's 231-hp, to remain competitive. With an expected curb weight less than the 330i, the next Altezza should provide dazzling performance. A M3 competitor will be developed by TTE and possibly with the assistance of Brabus, the famous German tuning house.
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