Honda Prelude
Overview The Engine The Chassis The Drive My Prelude Email


Engine - TOP

The Prelude is powered by the B20A# series engine, the most powerful of which is the B20A available for the Japanese Domestic Market (JDM).

My Prelude is powered by the B20A6 (pictured). This 4 cylinder water cooled engine block is casted out of aluminum alloy, has cast iron cylinder sleeves and a wet oil sump. The crank, pistons and connecting rods are forged steel. The cylinder head is also cast from aluminum alloy and features dual over head cams (DOHC) and 4 valves per cylinder. The cam activates the valves directly without the need of rockers; the result is a very strong engine but often critisised for noise. In fact, you would be accurate in describing it as an oversized motorcycle engine. Listen to my B20A6 being put through its paces with 7000rpm shifts in 1st and 2nd gears. Or better still watch a video of me performing a 0-100kph run on a race track.

This is a very flexible engine with a good power spread biased towards the top end. Producing 106kW or 144hp, it is capable of propelling the Prelude from 0-100kph in under 9 seconds and is capable of pushing the Prelude to a maximum speed of 231kph.  Despite its high performance, the B20A6 is anything but frail; Honda builds its engines (and cars) to last, even if the owner chooses to use the entire spectrum of its performance. However, as always, maintenance is the key.

An article on Honda engine building (

"Part of this high opinion is based on engine sealing, the botching of which can spoil years of otherwise good reviews. Nobody wants a sloppy, drippy contraption under the hood, or high oil consumption and breakdowns. So, Honda's engineers have made leak avoidance a strict discipline.
The effort has apparently been successful. As Scott Lightsey, owner of two Florida shops that specialize in Japanese cars, told us, "Typically, Hondas have been really good where sealing is concerned." The Chief Engineer of a major aftermarket gasket company said, "Honda is big on machining castings and using O-rings and metal-to-metal contact. It's the same technology that's used in hydraulics, aircraft, and aerospace. If it's done accurately so the rubber is compressed properly, and the O-rings are made of materials with the right heat and chemical resistance characteristics, the seal will just last and last. Honda was in the forefront of using molded rubber gaskets, too. So, you'll see a car with 50,000 miles on it, open the hood, and the engine will be dry. While this doesn't say anything about the internal durability of the engine, it does give the impression that this is a well-designed, well-made product." "

Induction - TOP

The induction system features Honda's in-house PGM-Fi electronic, multipoint and sequential fuel injection and a dual stage intake manifold. Routine maintenance will help to keep the fuel injectors in good shape. A well respected automotive web site has this to say about PGM-Fi:

"Honda was late in the switch to EFI, having refined carburetion to the point that it met emissions regs and provided very good performance, driveability, and fuel efficiency (in fact, there are so many carb-equipped late models on the road we're including some driveability tips for them). But very good isn't good enough in today's market, so the company's PGM-FI (short for Programmed Fuel Injection) was phased in gradually beginning in 1985. Now, of course, you can't buy a new Honda, or any other car for that matter, that doesn't have injection.

We've always been impressed by how well Honda EFI, whether multi-point or dual-point, performed in the cars we've tested over the years. It's exhibited the instantaneous response and dead-smooth idle (we've reached for the key more than once thinking the engine had stalled) that are the hallmarks of a well-engineered system. And specific output is outstanding -- for instance, even though equipped with TBI the '88 Civic pumps 92 hp out of 1,488 cc's, just a little better than the magic one horse per cubic inch.

Whether they're built in Japan or Ohio, these cars actually do exemplify the motto, "We make it simple." The EFI system is of the speed-density variety (in other words, it uses input on rpm and vacuum to adjust the mix), so no airflow meter of any description is required. A typical multi-port specimen will be sequential with an eight-bit ECU (located under one of the front seats or below the glove compartment on most models, but on Preludes you'll find it behind the rear driver's side kick panel). "

PGM-Fi together with the advanced block and cylinder head design gives the Prelude some pretty good fuel consumption figures (AVG 8.9l/100km) especially when you consider that this engine's power output (106kW) rivals most 4 cylinder 2 litre engines today (eg. BMW 318i 2.0l = 105kw; Mazda 323 Astina SP20 = 98kW;
Ford Laser SR2 = 98kW)

Specification - TOP

Specifications on the B20A6:

Cylinders Four
Valves Double Over Head Cam 16 Valves
Induction PGM-Fi - Electronic Multipoint Sequential Fuel Injection
Compression Ratio 9.0:1
Bore/Stroke (mm) 81/95
Capacity (cubic cm) 1958
Max Power (kw/rpm) 106 (142HP)/6000
Max Torque (Nm/rpm) 174.4/4500
Maximum RPM 7000rpm

Gear Box Specifications:

  Ratios Km/h per 1000rpm Max Speed in gears
First 3.166 8.3 58.1 km/h @ 7000rpm
Second 1.852 14.3 100.1 km/h @ 7000rpm
Third 1.259 21.0 147 km/h @ 7000rpm
Fourth 0.935 28.0 196 km/h @ 7000rpm
Fifth 0.794 33.0 231 km/h @ 7000rpm
Final Drive 4.062    

Click HERE to download the WAV file of my Engine sound. It has a stock exhaust.