It's a whole new era for Honda's favorite family car, and this generation brings a whole new set of challenges and opportunities. With its rakish styling and new power-producing technology, this car seemed poised to strike right at the heart of the enthusiast market -- a fact that Honda emphasized by offering a pair of pre-production cars to two tuners to show what could be done with this newest generation. That sets a pretty strong precedent, but it's not the end of the story.
The American-market Accord came with two different engines: the four-cylinder, 2.4-liter K24W and the 3.5-liter, J35Y V-6. The four-cylinder might seem like a bad choice for performance enthusiasts, but this K-Series engine comes from a long line of time-tested powerplants, upping the ante more with Honda's "Earthdreams" direct-injection technology. The J35Y is similarly blessed with direct injection, giving it ample torque and an edge in fuel economy and emissions. Already a strong performer out of the box, the J35 is a strong engine that offers significant performance potential.
Bad news first: the K24W isn't just a new engine, it's also far enough evolved from earlier members of the K-Series family that few performance parts will cross over. And Honda doesn't leave much room on the table for modifications, either; with its plastic intake, integrated exhaust manifold and high compression, the K24W isn't a candidate for serious performance upgrades like headers or turbochargers. The biggest area for improvement on this engine is a new exhaust downpipe and high-flow catalytic converters. That, combined with a cat-back system, cold-air intake and computer tune will get you about 30 horsepower, at which point you've pretty much maxed out the head flow and potential as of 2013 for this engine.
The Bismoto J35Y
Tuner Bismoto had the pleasure of building the V-6 car for Honda's display, and they went right for the kill-shot with 401 pavement-crushing horsepower. Without a doubt, the lion's share of that power came from a 100-horsepower "wet" shot of go juice from Nitrous Express. Augmenting that was a cold-air intake, synthetic motor oil, a Bismoto cat-back exhaust system and Burns stainless steel mufflers. A set of NGK iridium spark plugs designed to hold together under the nitrous hit rounded out Bismoto's powertrain modifications. As of 2013, nitrous is about the surest way to power, and probably will remain so for some time; the J35Y's high 10.5-to-1 compression all but precludes the possibility of a turbo or supercharger kit in the future.
At the moment, that's about it for increasing power. Other manufacturers may offer new parts for these engines in the future, but don't hold your breath for anything really serious, given these engines' high compression and nearly optimized computer programming and tuning for the given engine foundations. That doesn't mean you can't focus on other avenues for acceleration and all-around performance. Weight reduction is always an option, and Bismoto proved that with a pair of light-weight racing seats and forged Buddy Club P1 racing wheels. You might want to go an inch smaller than the 19s used on Bismoto's show car, though. Carbon hoods and trunk lids are undoubtedly forthcoming, and there's plenty of weight to be lost elsewhere, depending on what you're willing to tear out.