Detroit Auto Show: Acura concept stops the show but not the imagination

click above image to view high-resolution gallery with 39 live and official images

The Acura NSX was the first vehicle I ever drove in which I felt I could never make a mistake. With predictable mid-engine balance and a refined V6 power curve, it could be driven through the turns with a deft touch; the NSX didn't have to be manhandled like the original Viper.

Now I feel like the replacement for the NSX is taking on some of the Viper's virtues. Called the "Advanced Sports Car Concept," the show-stopping debut at the Acura press conference revealed a V10 engine mounted in the front--just like the Viper. Other fang-like cues include long hood, short-deck proportions and an overall feeling of more muscle and less finesse; more quarter horse and less thoroughbred.

Click through for more thoughts, the press release and check out our photo gallery with 39 high-resolution live and official images.

Check out all the debuts and galleries from the Detroit Auto Show here.

Acura, however, is taking steps to make sure that the new Acura 2-seater isn't losing its deft touch. A rear-wheel-drive biased version of the high-tech Super Handling All-Wheel-Drive (SH-AWD). If you've never driven the Acura RL, you can't understand the pro-active response and control offered by SH-AWD. Give it a rear-wheel-drive bias and let the fun begin.

While performance is certainly the driving force behind Acura's next-generation sports car, the message at the unveiling was clearly style. The concept was developed at the Acura Design Center in Southern California with the mission of only giving a "preview" of the NSX successor's design direction. The noticeable NSX reminders include the wraparound taillights and the black canopy.

This design has little to do with the HSC Concept that Honda introduced at the 2003 Tokyo Motor Show. Observers and analysts thought that concept was a preview of the next NSX, but its mid-engine construction apparently was rejected.

Notable features on the advanced concept include billet wheels, carbon-fiber underbody and embossed air vents.

NSX production ended in 2005. Acura officials promised a look at the real thing later this fall in Tokyo.

Acura "Advanced Sports Car Concept" Debuts at North American International Auto Show

Concept Provides a Glimpse of the Next Generation Acura Exotic Sports Car

DETROIT, January 7, 2007 – The show-stopping Acura "Advanced Sports Car Concept" made its world debut today at the 2007 North American International Auto Show. The dynamically styled concept provides a preview of the design direction for the successor to the Acura NSX.

Created to take exotic sports car styling to a new level, the concept is designed to incorporate a powerful front-mounted, V-10 engine and a new high-performance, rear-wheel-drive based version of Acura's exclusive Super Handling All-Wheel Drive™ (SH-AWD™).

"The Acura brand will always be a home for people who love to drive," said Takeo Fukui, president & CEO of Honda Motor Co., Ltd. "As we advance toward building a car like this, I can tell you it will feature advanced technology matching our passion for performance."

The concept's exterior demonstrates a dynamic fusion of advanced technology and emotion. The long, pronounced hood features deeply sculpted lines and embossed air vents, both of which hint at the powerful engine beneath. The exterior lines run the length of the body, creating a ribbon-like effect from the front headlights to the rear wheel arches, evoking a feeling of movement and power.

Although modern in its appearance, the Advanced Sports Car Concept retains the subtle cues associated with its predecessor, the NSX. The concept's slim, LED headlights are pushed wide and designed to mimic the pop-up headlights found on the first generation NSX. Other styling hints include a modern take on wraparound rear taillights and the all black cockpit.

"Our intention was to design an exotic sports car that gracefully combines advanced technology and strong emotion," said Jon Ikeda, principal designer, Acura Design Center. "The technical, machined surfaces and keen-edge design are balanced with sweeping curves and dramatic lines, all of which results in the ultimate exotic sports car."

Wide and low to the ground with a 108.8 inch wheelbase, the concept is anchored by grippy 19 inch front and 20 inch rear performance tires which are mounted to custom billet-machined, polished aluminum wheels. Powerful, ventilated carbon ceramic brake discs and eight-piston calipers accent the wheels. Bold wheel arches and flares add to the concept's aggressive appearance.

The low slung cabin is constructed entirely of tinted glass and sits flush against the body. Door handles are also flush mounted, allowing the sports car to retain a clean and aerodynamic appearance. The Advanced Sports Car Concept features a carbon fiber underbody and the rear is finished with aggressive quad exhaust pipes and integrated rear diffusers, further communicating its high performance potential.

The Advanced Sports Car Concept was designed by the Acura's Los Angeles-based design team that will be based at the new Acura Design Center, opening this summer.

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