Honda introduces new sports car based on award-winning Insight.
TORRANCE, Calif., April 1, 2004 -
A new, turbocharged, all-wheel drive high performance sports car based
on the Honda Insight chassis and powerplant will go on sale in November,
American Honda Motor Co. announced today. The new model will be
called the Twinsight.
"The Twinsight will fill a niche for the discriminating American buyer who
is looking for a very high performance sports car in the under 2-litre
engine displacement category", said Buzz Ryesbochs, executive vice
president of American Honda Motor Co. "The Twinsight leverages our
considerable research and development invested in the Insight to bring to
consumers an affordable car with truly world-class performance".
Utilizing the Honda Insight's state of the art aluminum monocoque body,
with one of the lowest aerodynamic drag figures of any production car,
and coupled with low friction engine components developed for it's sibling,
the new Twinsight is expected to be the fastest car available to the high
performance automotive enthusiast for under $28,000.
Dubbed the XLI in it's prototype stage, the Twinsight started off life as
an unauthorized project of Iwana Fulzya, Chief Engineer of the Honda
factory race team. His staff started with a stock Insight, removed the
electric-assist motor from the three-cylinder engine, and also the
batteries and most electronics from below the rear luggage area.
"The exhaust and intake manifolds were redesigned to use a
turbocharger, a more aggressive camshaft was installed, and larger
valves were put into the cylinder head along with stronger valve springs
for a higher redline. We kept the VTEC-E variable valve timing and lift
technology, multiport fuel injection and electronic ignition, but modified
the computer controlling these for high power instead of fuel economy.
We then installed an identical engine, transmission and front suspension
in the back, where the electronics were. One computer controls both
engines so they are perfectly synchronized", said Iwana.
The Twinsight also differs from the Insight in that the chassis is lowered
one inch and the tires are Yokohama steel-belted radials with a special,
extra-sticky rubber compound. Steer-by wire is used at low speeds in the
rear to further improve cornering performance. The car is otherwise
identical to the Insight, and leverages it's low friction engine and
transmission components, exceptional aerodynamics and low weight for
"Initially, senior management was very skeptical, but a few laps around
our test track changed their minds", said Iwana. "They were grinning from
ear-to-ear. After my team presented our business case, they gave the
go-ahead for production. They were quite pleased with the cost savings
realized from having the Twinsight use so much of the technology and
off-the-shelf components developed for the Insight."
Curb weight is increased only 41 pounds over the Insight, thanks to the
engines aluminum blocks and heads, magnesium oil pans and other weight
saving innovations (and the removal of the electric motors and traction
batteries of the Insight), resulting in a curb weight of only 1919 pounds.
The Twinsights dual, 3-cylinder 995cc engines each produce 145 hp at
their 7,500 r.p.m. redline, resulting in 0-60 m.p.h. times of under 5.1
seconds - faster than the Honda S2000. Top speed is 158 m.p.h. Overall
handling is exceptional thanks to the lighweight wheels and body. Low
speed handling is especially remarkable thanks to Honda's innovative
steer-by-wire controlling the rear wheels below 20 m.p.h.
Honda again pushes the envelope of performance with the announcement
of the Twinsight, combining the best racing and production engineering
technologies to produce an affordable sports car with blistering
acceleration and remarkable handling.