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Holy Moly!

By Tom Barnard

Here's a super-Accord which could 'charge' past BMW's M3 and the Audi S4. The bodykitted Honda, revealed at last week's Geneva Motor Show, points the way to a new super-quick version - but the big news is that it could use hybrid technology to give it the power needed to take on its German rivals.

"With looks like this, the production version will have to be beyond the performance levels of a Type R," said a Honda insider. "Our target with this Accord is to show that we can beat our German rivals. So the high-performance model will have to be good enough to take on their range-topping models."

The problem so far has been the lack of an engine. The firm is looking at harnessing the performance potential of hybrid powertrains to give both the Accord range and the Integrated Motor Assist (IMA) technology a real image boost. "The Accord has been engineered to accept IMA, and our Dual Note concept demonstrated that hybrids can be more than simply about economy," said our source. The Dual Note, unveiled at 2001's Tokyo Motor Show, is expected to become the new NSX in 2005, and a hot Accord will appear then, too.

The result would be a car with a 200bhp-plus VTEC petrol engine powering the front wheels, and electric hub motors driving the rears. It would have four-wheel drive and offer performance on a par with that of a conventional 350bhp vehicle, but with fuel economy to rival a regular 2.0-litre petrol unit.

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