I agree it wasn't the norm to have high output engines in a standard model back in the 90's, however I used to own a 1998 1.8 Civic VTi (same shape as Rover 400) 5 doors, big boot, half leather interior, and loads of room. Not what you would call a sports car by any means, yet still came with 169bhp from a 1.8 litre engine. So 170-180bhp from a 2.0 is not expecting too much I don't think.
Yes, OK, I've looked at Parkers Stats for the 1.8 VTi and its surprised me that it has 166 BHP. But then it's a Honda, and Hondas are very good cars and apparently the VTi is the top of the line sports model and I would presume it has a Turbocharger. I won't argue with you on this one, I have a 2.0 Primera Sport+ VT6 and if that was offered with a turbocharged engine then it would be the dogs ********! The CVT does zap a lot of performance from the engine and it really did need to be offered with a higher output engine - older models did have higher outputs, but Nissan seemed to cut back on power for the P11-144 models.
No it's just a 1.8 16 valve engine. No turbo, no supercharger just a good engine. Honda don't produce any petrol cars with a turbo or supercharger just VTEC. Even the top of the range Honda sports car, the Honda NSX is only a 3.2 VTEC engine producing around 280bhp. It's being able to rev well beyond 8000rpm that does it. More revs equal more air, more air equals more fuel; combine the 2 and you have more power.
More revs doesn't really mean more air... just more revolutions and when you times that by the power of the engine (torque) you have bhp. That's why high revs is good... the air is just needed not created as such.
Actually yes it does. The more revolutions per minute there are, is directly proportionate to the volume of air the engine intakes. On each down stroke of the piston, it pulls in more air and fuel to combust, that's what produces the power. It's why F1 cars rev to 19,000 rpm (and they have actually been limited on that). They only use a 2.4 litre engine now, and the more they rev, the more air the engine receives to boost power.
If you lean out the mixture of fuel to air in your own car (so you have less fuel but more air) you will increase power, but too much leaning out will create high temperatures and possible failure of the engine. Richen the mixture (more fuel less air) and you will bring temperatures down but reduce overall power.
I disagree with the fact that the Primera is a slow performer. I own one and it's running at 178bhp just on standard engine mods, so who ever said having to turbo it to get that sort of power is in the wrong. My friend owns a p10 Primera eGT, which is turbo charged on standard engine internals, and it's running at 285 bhp.
I disagree that the Primera GT is slow. You just have to use the complete rev range above 4000rpm. It really shifts OK lower in the revs, it isn't quick, but that also means when you drive normally you get 30+ mpg in town and up to 50mpg on a run; not bad for a car I've hit 150mph in. So it's a family car with big boot, very economical for a 2ltr, very comfortable and nice to drive, but fast when you want it, and there is not a lot that will beat it in the corners.
I also think the GT is nice looking. I like the fact that it doesn't stick out to much. I really think it is one of the best cars I've had, and I have had a lot of different cars, over 50 so far.
Own a GT myself, not slow by any stretch of the imagination and will embarrass most cars on twisty roads. Bullet-proof SR20DE engines that readily take a turbocharger, in fact Nissan did turbocharge these engines, remember the Pulsar/Sunny GTiR (SR20DET) rapid little motors! My GT has done 167k now, never broken down, starts first time every day, the understated design is its appeal to me, don`t want drainpipe size exhaust or flames down the side. Wolf in sheep's clothing.