The Honda HSC, which was unveiled at the Tokyo Show, is a precursor to the next generation of the long-serving but under-rated NSX supercar. We also feature Honda's Imas and Kiwami.

The Honda HSC, which was unveiled at the Tokyo Show, is a precursor to the next generation of the long-serving but under-rated NSX supercar. We also feature Honda's Imas and Kiwami.


Back in the early '90s Honda's NSX was widely regarded as the best "entry-level" supercar on the market. It beat Ferraris and Porsches in comparative tests and its ability helped it to stay on the market.


The NSX will reach the end of the line in 2006, but the HSC concept car proves that Honda plans to continue building supercars. Unlike the Dualnote concept of 2001, the HSC is not powered by a petrol-electric powertrain but a development of the current NSX's 3,2-litre V6 tuned to develop "more than 220 kW".


The HSC is a striking looking car, save for some ornate detailing at the rear, and is largely devoid of any spoilers or aerodynamic addenda. Impressive then to hear that negative lift has been achieved both at the front and the rear.


The concept is 18cm shorter that the NSX, has a far shorter rear overhang despite a longer wheelbase, is 9cm wider and marginally lower to give a more dramatic proportion similar to the Lamborghini Gallardo. Proportionally innovative with a very long wheelbase for its overall length, the HSC's exterior design is also notable for it's prominent use of concave surfaces that visually lighten its form.


As the bonnet surface meets the front wing there is a concave surface that bleeds into the A-pillar. Also note the way the upper wing surface flips gently from convex to concave as it flows rearward and down into the door, before flipping back to convex as it rounds the rear wheel arch.


The body has been constructed with the use of aluminium and carbonfibre has resulted in a lighter car that should sprint to 100 km/h in around 4,5 seconds and top 285 km/h.

The interior looks close to production ready and features lots of carbonfibre, Nubuk leather and aluminium. To keep the facia clutter-free, the HSC has an iDrive style multi-function controller and a digital display that pops out of the dashboard.


Imas - swift and light


Honda says the Imas will provide its driver with an "invigorating, cutting-through-the-breeze, sensation" (similar to that which he or she would experience when riding a bicycle). The concept was to combine environmentally friendly performance with fun-to-drive sports car performance in an advanced, lightweight, aerodynamic package. The body is made mainly of carbon fibre and aluminium - the overall weight is just 700 kg. A sweeping aerodynamic shape helps achieve a drag coefficient of 0.20.


The Imas' hybrid powertrain, called IMA (Integrated Motor Assist), employs an efficient VTEC petrol engine that is used on its own in normal driving, an electric motor for use in low speed urban situations, and the combination of both electric and petrol motors for high performance over short distances.


Although further away from production than the HSC, the Imas preludes the forthcoming Insight replacement due next year, particularly in its overall package and aerodynamic features.


Kiwami - the future of the luxury car?


The Kiwami concept car complements the world's first fuel cell powered production car launched at Tokyo, the Honda FCX. Honda makes the bold claim that the Kiwami "matches Honda's clean-performing fuel cell technology with the Japanese aesthetic of beauty in a premium next-generation saloon".


With echoes of Renault's original Vel Satis 1998 concept car in being a low-roofed mono-space with a clean interior aesthetic as well as in purporting to be an alternative perspective on the future luxury car, the Kiwami also has its roots in a Japanese design aesthetic with simple linear surfaces and a monochrome interior being the clearest signifiers.


A CAR correspondent reports that the Kiwami has a high-definition screen that runs the length of the cabin. The screen begins at the centre console and is situated between the front and rear seats where the transmission tunnel would have been.


Although it has almost the same dimensions as a Ferrari 360 Modena, the four-door four seater is a dramatically proportioned car, in part due to a notably low floor, that could become an attractive alternative for the next generation of premium car buyers in Japan.