Sound the alarms, people: The Honda Prelude is back. Honda shocked the car world last night when it surprise-unveiled the Prelude Concept at the Japan Mobility Show. The new Prelude figures to be a two-door electrified successor to the long-defunct coupe. Details are scarce, as Honda is still keeping everything but the car’s existence under wraps, but we know it will be powered by both an electric motor and an internal-combustion engine, and that it looks exactly how a modern-day Prelude should look.
Honda President Toshihiro Mibe, pictured above posing with the concept, didn’t reveal specific details about the vehicle, but he did describe it as both a new sports car and a literal prelude for future electric enthusiast models. “In order to offer the ‘joy of driving’ only Honda can realize, we are diligently progressing with development,” Mibe said in his remarks at the show, “so please keep your expectations high for this model.”
Since Honda didn’t lay out any powertrain or chassis specs, it’s unclear what kind of performance we can expect from the Prelude, should it release to the masses. The coupe’s announcement coincides with news this week that the automaker has canceled plans with General Motors to jointly develop a new platform for small, affordable battery-electric cars. Bearing that in mind, it seems an accessible-yet-sporty Honda like the Prelude will have to remain a hybrid proposition, for now.
There’s much we don’t know. That said, what we can see looks fantastic. The concept’s proportions are nearly perfect. Its front end is sharp and low, the headlights are slick and blend with the grille, and it has a fun little spoiler. Most importantly, the Prelude looks like a feasible sports car and not a pipe-dream design study with zero consideration for real-world use. The coupe appears suitable for production at this stage, like it could go on sale tomorrow. That’s an encouraging sign that Honda is far enough into development that it won’t scrap the project.
Considering that, as well as Mibe’s plea to “keep expectations high,” I’d say it’s safe to be cautiously optimistic that we’ll see an electric Prelude sports car on the road within the next few years. Props to Honda for working to keep small, affordable sports cars alive in the era of electrification.
Clarification Oct. 25, 2023, 5:35 p.m. ET: An earlier version of this story stated the Honda Prelude Concept was a battery-electric vehicle. American Honda representative Andrew Quillin clarified earlier this afternoon that the Prelude is actually a gas-electric hybrid. This story has been updated to reflect that.
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