UPDATE: Motor1.com reached out to Acura for a statement about the validity of these images.
"The 'spy shots' you reference appear to be the work of a skilled photoshop artist. While we appreciate the enthusiasm for our past products, the vehicle depicted here is not a Honda or Acura development prototype," Acura spokesperson Chris Naughton told Motor1.com.
We love a good automotive mystery, and these spy shots offer one of the best in recent memory. These images from Instagram claim to show the new "Honda Integra," although Acura branding seems more likely to us. However, there's no indication in the brand's product plan that a small coupe like this is on the way. So what are we looking at?
Unfortunately, the person posting the images doesn't provide much evidence to help solve the mystery. These are the only two posts on the account. We are seeing some claims that the pictures might be very skilled photoshops of a vehicle that doesn't actually exist, and we are continuing to research this possibility at this time.
Just looking at the vehicle's design, it's hard not to see cues from the third-generation Integra. The skinny headlights are similar to the lamps on the versions of the model available outside the United States. The rising beltline is another familiar styling point. The expansive rear glass and narrow taillights also evoke the classic coupe. Also, the center-exit trapezoidal exhaust appears to be the same piece from the previous-gen Civic Si, so it might be a placeholder on this development vehicle.
The image from the rear also includes a glimpse of the license plate. The picture has too low of a resolution to make out anything clearly, but the design is very similar to the plates from Ohio and California. These are both places where Honda could be developing a vehicle.
There are still some things that don't add up, though. First, Honda just decided to kill the Civic Coupe in the US because it had dwindled to just six percent of the model's sales mix. Why then would a slightly more upmarket two-door from Acura perform any better?
Also, an Acura dealer conference presentation in 2020 showed the brand's 2022 product plan, and it made no mention of this coupe. The breakdown only mentioned the upcoming compact sedan. Even if the two-door variant is arriving after 2022, it seems like the company would tell the dealer body about multiple versions of the new product.
"The future of Acura is kind of the past Acura, a little Back to the Future happening here," Acura brand boss Jon Ikeda told Motor1.com in 2020. "Back in the ‘80s, we came in with a unique vehicle and brand based in performance; that’s what our focus was."
If this is the brand's plan, then reviving one of the first products to establish Acura could be an ideal way of mixing past and future.