This looks like a perfect layout for a future performance car.
A design registration from Honda suggests the Japanese automaker might be toying with the idea of showing something sporty in the future. The line drawings depict a vehicle cabin without a traditional instrument panel. Instead, a skinny screen attaches to the steering column. The styling allows for a low dashboard that would likely allow for fantastic driver visibility, which would be perfect for a performance car.
Unfortunately, design registrations don’t provide many details about a company’s intentions. According to the listing, Honda applied to protect this styling on May 12, 2017, and the European Trademark and Design Network published the info on August 18, 2017. Honda placed it under the category “Instrument panels.”
In addition to the steering-column-mounted instrument panel, the design features a tall center stack. A wide infotainment screen sits at the top of it, and the two sides of the dashboard point inward. Further down, a prominent knob would likely control the system, and there also appears to be a small touchpad at the base of the center console.
Gallery: Honda Project 2&4 Concept
This appears to take inspiration from the instrumentation on Honda’s Project 2&4 Concept. The open-sided vehicle had a transparent screen on the steering column for communicating performance information without obstructing the driver’s vision. The vehicle's overall design even earned its own patent.
Gallery: Honda Sport ZSX Mystery Spy Shots
There was also a similar design in the cabin of mystery Honda speedster concept in March. However, spy shots showed it with a shroud over the instruments, unlike the open design in these renderings.
Gallery: Possible baby Honda NSX patent images
In June, the European Trademark and Design Network published a slightly different idea for a sports car cabin that was possibly a sub-NSX roadster. This one also featured a long-slung dashboard but appeared to lack displays for both the instruments and infotainment.
Much like patents and trademarks, there’s no guarantee that a design registration actually comes to market. However, with at least four ideas for sports cars – this cockpit, the sub-NSX, the mystery mule, and the Project 2&4 – in barely two years, it certainly appears that Honda is thinking hard about how to add a smaller performance vehicle to the lineup.