Honda-The Power of Dreams
Honda Announces an All-New Inspire

TOKYO, Japan, December 19, 2007– Honda Motor Co., Ltd. announced the release of the all-new Inspire. The appeal of the new model has been dramatically strengthened with performance and comfort enhancements, yet the price range remains ¥3,300,000 to ¥3,900,000—very close to that of the previous model. The new Inspire will debut on Friday, December 21 at Honda dealers throughout Japan.

Inspire 35iL

Inspire 35iL


In keeping with its status as a luxury sedan, the new, 5th-generation Inspire has inherited the sporty performance and quality feel of its predecessor, adding significant improvements to all essential elements of sedan performance—driving, cornering, and braking. The new Inspire is infused with dynamism and intelligence in all aspects of design, interior space, driving, and functionality.

The V6 3.5-liter i-VTEC engine, available for the first time in Japan, features an advanced Variable Cylinder Management (VCM) system that switches between six-, four-, and three-cylinder combustion depending on the driving conditions. This system is combined with numerous improvements to aspiration and combustion efficiency to achieve high output of 206kW (280PS) and high torque of 342N•m (34.9kg•m), and making the new Inspire the only domestic 3.5-liter-class sedan in Japan*1 to run on regular, unleaded gasoline. Fuel economy is also significantly enhanced.

The new Inspire is equipped with a full range of safety equipment. A driver and front-passenger i-SRS airbag system, front-seat i-side airbag system, and side curtain airbag system are standard equipment on all types, along with Honda’s original Advanced Compatibility Engineering body, which provides a high level of protection to vehicle occupants while also helping to reduce the force of the impact on the other vehicle during a collision. The 35iL also features Honda’s CMBS (Collision Mitigation Brake System) and E-pretensioners as standard equipment. CMBS determines if there is a danger of a rear-end collision and alerts the driver, further functioning to mitigate injuries and vehicle damage in the event of a collision.

In order to deliver the sort of direct handling feel and smooth ride comfort one expects in a luxury sedan, the new Inspire features a newly developed suspension, along with a lightweight, high-rigidity body for a lower center of gravity and reduced inertia. The interior design blends luxury with advanced functionality. A broad range of accessories provide all the amenities needed for a long drive, creating a relaxing, luxurious space that transports the vehicle’s occupants in comfort around town and on the freeway.

*1 According to Honda survey


Key Specifications

< Design >
The neat proportions of a luxury sedan with an exterior design that breathes powerful performance
 
· The new Inspire features the proportions of a sleek, sporty sedan.

· The front corners are boldly sculpted with wide, sharply delineated HID (High Intensity Discharge) headlights (low beams, with auto-leveling device) positioned to create a front view that provides a sensation of speed.

· The rear area of the cabin has been tapered to emphasize the bulging rear fenders. The impressive rear view is enhanced with large-diameter exhaust pipe finishers on dual exhaust pipes left and right.

Interior design combines elegant comfort with a refreshing driving environment
 
· The instrument panel is laid out horizontally in arcs that spread out to either side of the center panel, creating an elegant, relaxing space.

· The instrument panel’s wrap-around design spreads out from the center module where the audio and climate controls are clustered, flowing left and right to blend with the door lines.

· The center panel’s functional design positions visual displays on top and controls on bottom, for improved visibility and operability.

< Interior Space Design >
A luxury sedan package that is easy to drive yet spacious enough to provide roomy comfort for all occupants
 
· The lower floor, longer wheelbase and more compact mechanisms all combine to secure ample interior space. For rear passengers, the tandem distance (a measure of the distance between front and rear seats) has been increased by 25mm*2 and the floor lowered to provide a more natural seating position. Knee space has also been increased by 35mm*2, while the couple distance for front occupants has been widened by 40mm*2 to secure an ample field of view for rear passengers.

· A thinner floor frame and slender fuel tank are employed along with optimized exhaust system layout to achieve a 15mm*2 reduction in floor height. This secures ample cabin height while contributing to enhanced driving performance and sporty styling.

· The trunk has been made 54mm*2 longer to create a spacious 510-liter*3 capacity for room to spare on long trips. The trunk and rear armrest through-holes facilitate loading of longer and larger items.

*2 Compared to previous model—Honda calculations
*3 Honda calculations according to VDA formula

< Powertrain >
Newly developed V6 3.5-liter i-VTEC engine with VCM (Variable Cylinder Management) system combines powerful 280 horsepower output with outstanding fuel economy while cruising
 
· The V6 3.5-liter i-VTEC engine achieves high output of 206kW (280PS) and high torque of 342N•m (34.9kg•m), and make the new Inspire the only domestic 3.5-literclass sedan in Japan*4 to run on regular, unleaded gasoline.

· The newly advanced Variable Cylinder Management system, available for the first time in Japan, switches between six-, four-, and three-cylinder combustion depending on the driving conditions. The engine runs on six cylinders during startup, acceleration, and up hills, and on three cylinders while cruising. It can also run on four cylinders when driving at comparatively high speeds or under gentle acceleration—conditions under which the previous model would not have operated in cylinder idle mode—for improved fuel economy during high-speed driving.
· The engine offers outstanding clean performance, and has been certified by the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport as having achieved emission levels 75% below 2005 Japanese government standards.

· A 5-speed automatic transmission makes the most of the engine’s performance characteristics.

· Shift Hold Control reduces unnecessary gear changes during performance driving.

*4 According to Honda survey

<Chassis >
Newly developed chassis delivers outstanding performance in both direct handling feel and smooth ride comfort
 
· The suspension features a double wishbone configuration in the front and a newly developed multi-link double wishbone design in the rear.

· VGR (variable steering gear ratio) is employed to deliver a smooth touch at the initial turn of the steering wheel, with the steering ratio quickening to increase wheel angle more rapidly as the steering wheel is turned farther. This results in handling that is surprisingly light for a vehicle of this size.
< Body >
A highly efficient body design that is lightweight and rigid with outstanding aerodynamics
 
· Strong, lightweight, high-tensile steel is employed in approximately 48% of the main frame components, improving torsional rigidity by some 20%*5 while also achieving major weight savings.

· Effective use of aerodynamic parts on the body’s underside and flush surfaces throughout result in outstanding aerodynamics.
*5 Compared to previous model—Honda calculations

< Quiet Operation >
Quiet operation ensures comfortable driving by eliminating unpleasant noises while making the most of the powerful engine sound
 
· Active control engine mounts are employed to cancel out increased vibration when the engine is operating in cylinder idle mode. Engine vibration is estimated and actuators located inside the mounts expand and contract with the same phase and cycle to absorb vibration.

· Active noise control is used to generate sound opposite in phase to the engine drone produced when cylinders are idling. The frequency to be attenuated is determined based on engine revolution pulses and a signal to cancel the frequency is generated via an audio speaker, thus reducing the drone.
< Advanced Features >
Advanced functionality for enhanced security and comfort
 
· Avehicle speed and inter-vehicular distance control system helps reduce the burden on the driver during freeway driving. It assesses driving conditions using data from a millimeter-wave radar unit built into the front grille of the vehicle that measures the distance to the vehicle ahead for up to 100m within a 16° arc, along with data from vehicle speed and yaw rate sensors. In addition to maintaining the vehicle at a set speed, this cruise control system automatically regulates vehicle speed and distance depending on whether or not there is a vehicle in the same lane ahead.

· The Honda Smart Key System enables users to lock and unlock the doors, open the trunk, and operate the ignition simply by carrying it on their person.
· In addition to independent temperature controls for occupants in the front seats, the intelligent, dual fully automatic air conditioner*6 uses GPS information and a sunlight sensor to determine the direction and intensity of the sun’s rays and regulate temperature and air output accordingly.

· An electric rear sunshade, standard equipment on all types, shades rear seat occupants from strong sunlight for increased comfort.

· The new Inspire is equipped with the latest Honda HDD InterNavi System*7. InterNavi Premium Club provides services to enhance customer safety and comfort, providing weather and disaster information to support safe driving. It features the world’s first*8 heavy rain prediction information service.

*6 Standard equipment on the 35iL; factory option on the 35TL
*7 With rear camera (8-inch wide display; DVD/CD player with TV/AM/FM tuner, and cell phone input jack), 6 speakers, and ETC (Standard equipment on the 35iL; factory option on the 35TL)
*8 World’s first for use in a car navigation system

< Safety Performance >
Advanced safety functions and equipment that assess the danger of rear-end collisions to help prevent accidents
 
· Working in conjunction with the seatbelt E-pretensioners, the Collision Mitigation Brake System (CMBS) helps anticipate collisions and mitigate injuries and vehicle damage should an accident occur. The CMBS alerts the driver to take preventive action and activates the brakes to reduce speed. The E-pretensioners automatically retract the seatbelts immediately before a collision occurs.

· The E-pretensioners (driver and front passenger seats) also retract the seatbelts when brake assist is activated due to sudden braking by the driver, even if the CMBS is not in operation.
· The Vehicle Stability Assist system (VSA), which improves handling stability while cornering, is standard equipment on all types. A side curtain airbag system that helps protect the head in the event of a side collision, a front-seat i-side airbag system with passenger-side body position detector, and a driver and front passenger i-SRS airbag system are also standard on all types.

· The vehicle’s Advanced Compatibility Engineering body provides a high level of protection to vehicle occupants while also helping to reduce the force of the impact on the other vehicle during a collision.

· The vehicle is also designed to mitigate pedestrian injury in the event of a collision, particularly to the head and legs, thanks to the use of impact-absorbing structures.

· ABS (Anti-lock Brake System) with EBD (Electronic Brake Distribution) and brake assist is standard on all types.

· Honda’s original G-CON (G-force Control) technology is incorporated to create a body with a crash safety design that can withstand a 55km/h full-frontal collision, a 64km/h front offset collision, 55km/h side collision, and a 50km/h rear collision. To further improve safety in real-world collisions, Honda has implemented its own vehicle-to-vehicle collision testing program*9 with its own independently established standards. This collision testing is much more demanding than conventional tests, in which the car is crashed into a fixed barrier. The safety design of the new Inspire meets even these stringent testing requirements.

· Front active headrests reduce load on the neck area during a rear-end collision.

· ISO FIX-compatible child seat anchoring bars and tether anchors (left and right rear seats) are standard on all types.

*9 Testing involves a 50% front offset collision with a 2-ton class passenger car, with both vehicles traveling at 50km/h.

< Environmental Performance >
Superior clean technology achieves outstanding environmental performance
 
· Complies with Japan emissions regulations for 2005.

· PVC use has been eliminated from interior and exterior components wherever possible to achieve over 90% recyclability*10.
· Meets reduction targets independently established by the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA).

· VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) levels have been reduced to within the indoor density guidelines set out by the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare to improve air quality inside the vehicle on all types, including those fitted with the leather interior.

*10 Calclations based on 1998 JAMA guidelines for defining and calculating new-vehicle recyclability.