Sounds like a TV show riddle, doesn’t it? Cars and motorcycles are two distinctly different vehicles; cars have 4 wheels and motorcycles 2 (or three, but then it’s a sidecar). So why should a motorcycle be a car?
The answer is when the manufacturer is a motorcycle manufacturer and it uses a motorcycle engine, and it feels like a powerful sportsbike. Honda Motorcycle (not Honda cars) have released their concept Project 2&4. As stated, it’s a concept, so don’t rush to your local Honda dealer to buy one. They are just testing the waters.
But the beast, for nothing else describes it better, is powered by Honda RC213V engine, the same engine that propelled Marc Marquez to the world championship MotoGP last year. In other words, an enormously powerful engine, bolted onto a very light and flexible chassis.
The 1 liter engine develops 212 brake horsepower, and the whole motorcycle car motocar (for a lack of another word) weighs 893 pounds. The red zone starts at 13,000 RPM but at 10,000 you already have 118 Nm worth of torque. The center of gravity is very low, helped by a seat which “floats” (in other words, it’s not fixed, but moves with the motocar).
And yes, there is room for a passenger. That is, if the passenger is willing to sit in that contraption and hold on for dear life.
But is this the first motorcycle car? No, far from it. One the recent success stories comes from Austria, and it’s made by the Big Orange company, KTM. KTM have a successful X-Bow car (Crossbow), which is street-legal, but often found racing in Europe in its own category. But to be honest, it’s not a motorcycle engine that is used, but an Audi 2 liter engine, but it is a motorcycle company that is making it. Click here to read more about the KTM X-Bow.
Honda’s Japanese competitor, Suzuki, also released a concept motocar a few years ago (2001), using their successful high performance Hayabusa engine. Called the Suzuki GSX-R/4, the 181 mph capable vehicle never materialized as a production model.
Other manufactures have been designing cars with motorcycle engines, so it’s nothing new. In fact, back in the “old” days, it was quite common. Remember the post WWII BMW 600? Seen photos of it, right? It’s uses BMW 600 cc flat twin of BMW’s R67 motorcycle.
But let’s face it, the Honda 2&4 looks amazing and probably gives you sensations as rich as riding a powerful motorcycle down Laguna Seca. But would you buy one if you could go to your local Honda dealer? Well, maybe for a test ride…