Design studios build all kinds of things all the time and the vast majority of them never see the light of day. In many cases that's a good thing. But occasionally there's a really cool-looking styling exercise that gets into the public eye one way or another. Such was the case with the Acura Sport.
Built 5 years ago by Honda's Advanced Design Studio in Pasadena, the sporty NSX-looking coupe was never intended to be seen outside the opaque walls of that high-security building.
“It was totally an internal advanced design concept,” said Dave Marek, director of advanced design for Honda R&D Americas.
It was built about 5 years ago when Honda was trying to decide what to do with the NSX. Should it be built? Should it be conservative, green and powered by a hybrid or sporty and powered by a V10? This was before the Detroit NSX concept and well before The Avengers car. The car you see here was a consideration of what the NSX could be. Sort of.
“It was a little different concept (from the NSX) but it had the same spirit of what that car was,” said Marek.
It didn't so much show up as the new NSX as it showed up in a lot of little ways on a lot of production Acuras.
“It was more, 'This studio should do form language and what could the Acura form language be?'
Form language is what makes an Acura an Acura and a Ferrari a Ferrari. You can see elements of the Acura Sport not-a-concept all over the current lineup.
“It trickled down into all the products.”
Look at the sides of Acuras and you'll see a hook in the fender just like the one on the Sport.
“It's not directly literal but the ILX has a lot of it in it.”
As do the wheel arches of Acuras going over the front fenders. And the way that body line goes into that hook.
But while elements of the Acura Sport styling exercise saw production, the car itself sat in seclusion.
Then Honda R&D's Pasadena Advanced Design Studio moved from Pasadena to just south of downtown LA, a block away from Staples Center and LA Live. Honda held a grand opening for invited guests only in conjunction with the Los Angeles Auto Show. So to decorate the 1st floor of the new studio Marek figured it couldn't hurt to show off the Acura Sport.
And so, 5 years later, here it is.