DETROIT – American Honda Motor Co. Inc. promises a more powerful V-6 engine for its eighth-generation best-selling passenger car, as it debuts its Accord Coupe Concept here at the 2007 North American International Auto Show.

The current-generation Accord offers a 3L V-6, while competitors, chiefly the Toyota Camry, have moved up to a 3.5L V-6 mill.

Honda says the new engine will use the next-generation of the auto maker’s fuel-sipping Variable Cylinder Management technology and produce less-harmful emissions.

Marking the first time Honda has shown an Accord concept at a major auto show, the coupe hints at the design language of the new Accord lineup, due out in the U.S. this fall.

“As the industry’s target for midsize-segment excellence, the all-new Accord will set a new benchmark for safety, efficiency, performance, refinement and style,” John Mendel, senior vice president-AHM, says.

Honda’s Coupe Concept represents a stylistic departure from current Accords with its sportier stance, highlighted by an extended hood and fastback roofline.

The concept’s grille is 6-sided, and deeply recessed projector headlamps in the front fenders display an aggressive look.

Another sporty touch for the car is quad exhaust pipes, which are integrated into the rear diffuser, conveying “performance and style beyond any Accord to date,” Honda says.

The Accord Coupe Concept utilizes Honda’s Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) body structure to disperse forces in a frontal crash.

More than half of all ’07 Hondas vehicles already offer ACE, and the auto maker predicts, with the addition of the ’08 Accord, 75% of its vehicles will have the system.

Other ACE-equipped models include the new CR-V cross/utility vehicle, Odyssey minivan and Civic small car. ACE also will be added to the next-generation subcompact Fit, Honda has said.

cschweinsberg@wardsauto.com