News Releases 1998
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AutomobileJapanOctober 15, 1998
Honda Japan Introduced the New Inspire/Saber Series Developed and Produced in the U.S.

Tokyo, October 15, 1998 --- Honda Motor Co., Ltd. today introduced its new Inspire/Saber luxury sedans. Researched, developed and produced in the U.S., the new Inspire/Saber series combines distinctive styling with a newly developed V6 VTEC engine for a sporty drive and a refined ride. The Inspire will be available nationwide through Honda's Clio dealer network starting October 16, 1998, with the Saber following on October 23 through Honda's Verno and Primo dealer networks.

The new Inspire/Saber series has been developed by Honda R&D Americas, Inc. in the U.S., where medium-sized luxury sedans from Japan, the U.S. and Europe vie for sales in a fiercely competitive market.

Responsibility for production is assumed by Honda of America Manufacturing Inc., which in 1997 received the highest quality rating from J.D. Power and Associates' initial production quality survey. The Inspire/Sabar series, which contains approximately 98% locally procured parts, has been available since September in the US as the Acura TL.

Inspire 32V
Inspire 32V

Saber 32V
Saber 32V

Developing a "touring luxury sedan"

Development work focused on creating a sedan that offers a luxurious interior and a standard of driving comfort that provides continuous pleasure to passengers on long trips.

A distinctive, stylish design

Dynamic lines and a forward cabin design combine to create a sporty exterior design.

A high-quality, sporty drive

  • The newly developed 3.2-liter engine and exclusive 2.5-liter V6 VTEC engine (Japan only) promise smooth yet exhilarating performance.
  • A very rigid body and advanced chassis technology combine to offer a truly luxurious ride.
A comfortable interior
  • A spacious, stylish interior design
  • A high-quality look and feel finish
  • A very quiet interior with extremely low noise and vibration

Major equipment
  • Honda DVD navigation system (32V, 25V [NAVI])
  • BOSE sound system
  • Fully automated air-conditioner with rear seat ventilation outlets
  • Front dual SRS airbag system
  • ABS (Anti-lock Brake System)
  • High-intensity discharge (HID) headlights
  • Leather seats (32V)
  • 8-way powered driver's seat
  • Aluminum wheels

Distinctive features

A sporty, fun-to-drive sedan for continuous pleasure on long drives

Engine

A lightweight, compact, transversely mounted 60o V6 VTEC engine
  • Combining increased power at high engine speeds with easy-to-use torque characteristics at low to medium engine speeds.
  • A transversely mounted lightweight, compact engine for increased cabin space.
3.2-liter engine
  • Class-leading power and torque characteristics with 225 PS at 5,500rpm and 30.0 kgm at 4,500rpm.
  • At low engine speeds, one of the two intake valves is kept closed to promote a swirl effect, increasing combustion efficiency to achieve both low fuel consumption and high torque output.
2.5-liter engine exclusively for the Japanese market
  • Maximum power of 200 PS at 6,200rpm and maximum torque of 24.5kgm at 4,600rpm
  • Variable intake manifold to optimize intake efficiency at all engine speeds for increased torque output and superior engine response

Transmission

Direct clutch control 4-speed automatic transmission with sequential shift (Honda S matic) on all models
  • The adoption of a clutch-canceller mechanism helps reduce shift shock at light throttle openings.
  • S matic provides the appeal of manual transmission-like shifting. A speedy gear change and an improved, more direct shift feel combine to give the driver a feeling similar to that of a true manual transmission.
  • Grade Logic Control (Honda Prosmatec) technology controls gear changes for optimum gear selection and engine braking whether driving up or down steep slopes.

Chassis and body structure

5-link double wishbone rear suspension
  • Honda's advanced 5-link double wishbone rear suspension helps optimize toe and camber control for improved stability and side impact strength.
  • Two of the suspension arms are laid out to create a watt-link effect to move the wheel up and backward in a straight line upon compression. This contributes to improved ride comfort as well as increased cabin space because the wheel does not intrude toward the cabin in its upward movement.
Highly rigid body structure
  • The adoption of a large rear bulkhead, a strut-type tower bar and other measures to rigidify the body structure have led to an increase of 70% in torsion rigidity, and 80% in bending rigidity.
  • The combination of a rigid body with a high spring rate/low damping rate suspension setting contributes to a significant improvement in both ride comfort and cornering performance.
  • In addition to the NVH advantages offered by a rigid body, the extensive use of sound absorbing material results in a very quiet interior.
A stylish exterior design and a high-quality, comfortable interior

Exterior

Combining a dynamic, sporty exterior design with a spacious interior
  • Dynamic bodylines drawn from the design concepts of an offshore cruiser and a forward cabin layout have been combined to achieve a sporty exterior design.
  • Offering a 20mm longer and 75mm wider interior space while maintaining the same overall vehicle length and width.
  • Trunk space has also been increased by 47 liters to 484 liters as measured by the VDA method.

Interior

A sporty cockpit in a high-quality interior with an extensive equipment list
  • A center console angled toward the driver to create a sporty, cockpit-style image within an overall lounge-shaped interior design.
  • A thick-rimmed steering wheel made of leather and wood for a sporty design with a touch of class.
  • Achieving high quality in feel as well as touch: Both the instrument panel and door armrest surfaces are made using the "slush-molding method" for a leather-like appearance and feel.
  • Other high-quality specifications include a BOSE sound system and a high- performance, quick-cooling air-conditioner with a micro-filter and rear seat ventilation.

World-leading safety and environment-friendliness

Safety

  • Omni-directional safety body design passing Honda's in-house testing program calling for 55 km/h full flat and 64 km/h offset collision tests.
  • Shock absorbing soft interior parts to meet future American requirements regarding head injuries.
  • High-intensity discharge (HID) headlights for improved visibility at night and in the rain.
  • Load-limiting 3-point direct clamp ELR front seatbelts and 3-point ELR/ALR rear seatbelts are standard equipment.
  • Dual SRS Airbag system
  • ABS Anti-lock braking system

Environmental protection

  • Increased parts recyclability with the adoption of olefin-based polypropylene and glue-less base materials.
  • Injectors with an "air-assist" system, an advanced knock control system and other technologies contributing towards a more stable combustion process have allowed the new Inspire/Saber to clear the emission standards laid down by 13 Japanese municipal authorities.
Domestic monthly sales target: 2,500 units
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