* News and photos from the show * Production cars unveiled * Concept cars show the future...
Honda is showcasing a new, sportier styling direction with a two-seater sports car called the EV-ster at this weeks Tokyo show but the eventual production model is unlikely to make it to UK dealers.
The EV-ster is a pocket-sized sports car (smaller than the CR-Z hybrid) thats designed as a spiritual successor to the Beat from the 1990s. It appears to follow the configuration of that model, a tiny mid-engined convertible designed to fit into Japanese 'kei car' regulations, which restrict size and engine capacity.
As its name suggests, the EV-ster is an electric concept, although Honda sources admit that a petrol engine probably a three-cylinder unit with a turbocharger is also likely to be offered in the production version.
The final model will have a simple soft-top roof and will be designed to be low in both cost and weight. However, the strength of the Japanese yen and the niche appeal of such a small-engined sports car in European markets means that it could be too expensive and too limited in demand to reach the UK.
Honda has also ruled out a successor to the rear-wheel-drive S2000 roadster for the time being. Yoshikazu Kigoshi, the general manager of the firms Styling Design Development Division, said: 'The S2000 is a difficult car to make, because its based on a front-engined, rear-drive platform that is basically unique. We want to try to develop another car like that, but for now, we are focusing on this concept and the next NSX.'
Hondas other new Tokyo concept is the AC-X (Advanced Cruiser eXperience), a family-sized tourer designed for long journeys. The cars outlandish interior includes Turn Lever Steering, two handles that steer the car in place of a wheel. They fold away, along with large chunks of the instrument panel, when the car is put into automatic driving mode. Blue exterior lighting will illuminate at that point to let other road users know the car is driving itself.
Other features include wheel diffusers, like those only recently outlawed in Formula One, front splitters, sideskirts and rear diffusers, which all lower by 35mm when the car is at cruising speeds to help its aerodynamic efficiency and improve fuel economy.