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Honda has confirmed its new Prelude coupe will enter production around the middle of the decade as a global model - boosting its odds for Australia - but track enthusiasts should keep their expectations in check.
Speaking to CarsGuide at the 2023 Japan Mobility Show, Honda Large Project Chief Engineer, Tomoyuki Yamagami, said the reborn coupe could enter showrooms in as little as a few years, and its chances for Australia seem good.
“This is a prototype and we are still in development, so as President [Toshihiro] Mibe mentioned, although the exact timing cannot be shared at this time, we’re aiming at making this available to the market sometime in the mid-2020s,” he said.
“Yes, this is going to be positioned as a global model, so we will have both left-hand drive and right-hand drive.”
While Honda is yet to be drawn on powertrain details for the Prelude, Honda US has since confirmed the new coupe will feature a hybrid engine, not a fully electric motors as initially expected.
With a production target of just a few years, it seems likely the Prelude would borrow the same petrol-electric powertrain (and platform) as the Civic e:HEV, which produces a combined 135kW/315Nm. That increases to 135kW/335Nm in the recently launched CR-V hybrid.
With drive sent to the front wheels via a continuously variable transmission (CVT), the Civic hybrid can accelerate from 0-100km/h in around 7.0 seconds, making it just as quick as a Subaru BRZ, Toyota GR86 and Mazda MX-5.
However, Yamagami alluded to as much when probed as to why the time was right for a return of the Prelude after more than 20 years, and hinted that the production model might favour practicality over performance.
“This isn’t going to be the sportiest, zippiest car that’s going to be tossed into the circuits, so that’s one thing,” he said.
“The other one is, this is going to be the ‘prelude’ for all of the electric vehicles that Honda is going to be launching.
“So that is why, because it’s going to be one of the first such models, we thought the name Prelude just best fits this model.
“We’re developing this as a four-seater, so you will be seeing a second row with two seats available as well.”