Would Honda and Acura stand out more if they offered V8's?
It's a wild thought, but Honda is one of the few companies out there that doesn't dabble in the art of V8's.
I was thinking about writing a piece about how almost every manufacturer has at some point or another stuffed a giant V8 in something and sold it to the public, and then I stumbled upon Honda, who has never made a mass market V8. Honda has made plenty or high-revving V8's for IndyCar, but there was never a V8 Acura or any massive body-on-frame SUV that had one either. So this got me thinking, would Honda's products be better if they had V8's?
The first question would be, how would they create a V8? Would they base it on the Earth Dreams 3.5-liter V6? Would they staple two Type-R engines together? Would they build something from the ground up? Where would it redline? All of these questions make this proposal almost impossible to solidify, but let's say for the purpose of the conversation that it was a combination of two of their 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engines together to make a hypothetical 3.0-liter, 400 horsepower V8. With 400 imaginary horses on tap, this opens Honda up to a world of opportunities.
Revival of the SLX
I'm keen on slamming this new engine under the hood of a revival of the Acura SLX. While Acura can command nearly $60,000 for a fully-equipped MDX, but I think that the 321 horsepower Sport Hybrid doesn't have power to play in that category. A new SLX with a body-on-frame setup could give the Chevrolet Suburban a proper run for its money, especially in terms of day-to-day livability, and fuel-economy too. Seating for seven or eight and plenty of cargo space would make this nonexistent Acura a staple for affluent families.
A Proper Screaming NSX
The original NSX had the looks of an Italian supercar, the comfort of an average sports coupe, and the ability to either go really fast, or cruise in style. Honda's brilliant midship-mounted V6 helped give the NSX the best of both worlds with relatively decent reliability, and for a reasonably affordable price too. The new NSX however is starting around $150,000 and will still rip your skeleton from your body on command, but it lost its "Everyman's Supercar" appeal because of the price tag. Now, am I saying that a twin-turbo V8 will drop the cost of the NSX? No, but am I saying that it could make it a high-revving brute with all of the glorious VTEC power that the boy-racers love? Yes. I firmly believe that a VTEC V8 would give the NSX a new personality that would be more akin to the first-generation models. In this hypothetical world, Honda would have bolted two Type-R engines together at the crankshaft to create a 4.0-liter V8 with around 600 horsepower on tap. I think this could help the NSX appeal to customers who don't like the V6 Sport Hybrid setup in the current NSX as well.
A Legendary Legend
The Honda Legend and Acura RLX both flagship sedans of their respective lineups, but use similar engines and carry similar pricetags. The RLX can sticker for just shy of $70,000 fully loaded, and while the 377 horsepower Sport Hybrid V6 makes the most powerful Acura besides the NSX, it still lags behind other luxury sedans that carry similar price tags like the Cadillac CT6, Audi A6 and the Genesis G90. Assuming a 400-horsepower V8 was on offer instead, Acura could bring a brilliant powertrain to a segment of boosted V6's that would have really great running costs considering it would basically be using the same parts as an upmarket Honda Civic. It would be rather interesting to Acura make this move because it would also give the RLX an upper hand at that price point.
Unfortunately this is all just a dream, with Honda continuing to make relatively reliable drivetrains in relatively nice looking vehicles. That's the problem with Honda and Acura is that their lineups are so restrained. I'm not saying that they need a V8, but I am saying that I think they're missing out on portions of the market that would buy a product from Honda or Acura, if they had one to offer. Honda is killing it in terms of crossover sales, but it hasn't done well selling big cars in the US, and I think with a V8 under the hood, more people would be keen to look their way.
Would you buy a V8-powered Honda or Acura? Comment Below!