Honda design competition dreams up a racing car with the heart of a motorcycle

The Honda Project 2x4 vehicle has been modified to run on public roads but produces more than 212bhp and is capable of revving to an ear-splitting 13,000rpm - image courtesy of Honda.
The Honda Project 2x4 vehicle has been modified to run on public roads but produces more than 212bhp and is capable of revving to an ear-splitting 13,000rpm - image courtesy of Honda.

Honda has unveiled a concept motorcycle-automobile hybrid, known as the Project 2&4, at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show.

Project 2&4 is a four-wheeled vehicle that has a 999 CC* V4 engine, which produces 215 horsepower and 81.5 pound-feet of torque*, and has six-speed dual clutch transmission.

“Dual clutch transmission” is a system in which two types of clutches are used – one for the odd and reverse gears and the other for the even gears. They are operated automatically with no clutch pedal. The Project 2&4’s gearbox is controlled by paddles behind the steering wheel.

Project 2&4 used the Honda MotoGP RC213V engine, modified to run on public roads.

The vehicle is 119 inches (302.26 cm) long, 71 inches (180.34 cm) wide, 38 inches (96.52 cm) tall and weighs less than 900lbs (893lbs, 405.057986 kg). The Ariel Atom by comparison, which is also powered by a Honda engine, weighs 550kg.

The driver’s seat is located at the side of the vehicle, with the engine beside it.

Project 2&4 is the winning entry from Honda’s in-house “Global Design Project” competition, which brings together its car, motorcycle, marine, aerospace and lawnmower designers each year to create a single concept.

The 2&4 design was the brainchild of the automobile design studio in Wako, Japan, which teamed up with colleagues from the motorcycle design studio in Asaka, three miles away. Overall, eighty engineers and designers were involved in the design of the vehicle.

Honda says the vehicle combines “the freedom of a motorcycle and the manoeuvrability of a car.” Honda wouldn’t be drawn on whether or not the vehicle will ever reach production, but judging by by the level of hype around the vehicle across the world, it at least has a fighting chance.

* In the world of motorcycles, “CC” stands for “cubic centimetres”, and refers to how many cubic centimetres of air-and-fuel mixture passes through a single engine cycle – an “engine cycle” being one rotation of the piston from top to bottom. A 999 CC motorcycle has 999 cubic centimetres of air-fuel mixture move through the system in one engine cycle. Generally speaking, the more CCs a motorcycle has, the more powerful its engine is.

**“Torque” is term for the power to rotate objects, and is measured in pound-feet and pound-inches. It is calculated by multiplying the amount of force required to rotate the object with the distance from its pivot point. For example, if 200 pounds of force is required to rotate a spanner that is one foot long, then 200 pound-feet of torque is required. Regarding motorcycles, “torque” refers to the power required to rotate the piston, which is connected to a rod, which is connected to a crankshaft. The piston turns, thereby turning the rod, thereby turning the crankshaft.