Head-turning styling and hard-charging performance from sports sedans have made coupes almost irrelevant afterthoughts in the great scheme of things automotive. By and large, they are based on the same wheelbase as their 4-portaled siblings and pretty much share the same styling. Some even believe the coupe is a dying breed.
Not Honda. When it introduced a thinly disguised concept of the eighth-generation Accord nearly a year ago, the Japanese automaker chose a coupe body to showcase the new design direction. And John Mendel, the senior vice president of American Honda's auto operation, boldly predicted that the coupe segment could grow as much as 34 percent by 2011.
With its striking styling and amped-up performance, the Accord Coupe is testimony that Mendel's prediction may not be off the mark. Even though it's not an outright sports coupe in the mode of a BMW 3 Series or an Infiniti G37 (primarily due to its reliance on front rather than rear drive), the Accord Coupe is a stylish, sporty machine in its own right and not just a sedan with two less doors.
The differences between the coupe and sedan begin at the root level — the 2-door rides on a 107.9-in. wheelbase, 2.3 in. less than the 4-door's. The overall package is more compact as well, with the coupe measuring a tidy 190.9 in. overall, a little more than 3 in. less than the sedan. The coupe sits slightly lower at 56.4 in. and shares the same track and width as the 4-door.
The look of the coupe is decidedly more aggressive than the sedan and other coupes in the segment, for that matter. Drivers should have no problem identifying the new Accord as it draws closer in their rearview mirrors. The grille opening is large with a prominent H logo in the center, and the mesh texture is framed by chrome trim. The halogen projector-beam headlamps are nestled deep in lens-covered slits, while the lower fascia sports a generous air intake and auxiliary lights. The sides of the coupe are clean, with a large character line that carves out a cove, while a steeply raked rear window adds to the impression that the car is always in motion. A small rear spoiler is neatly integrated into the decklid. The overall appearance is forceful, yet not over the top.
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