The fifth generation Prelude uses a FF layout with an independent front suspension and 63/37 weight distribution. Most fifth-generation Honda Preludes came with 16-inch (410 mm) aluminium alloy wheels with all-season 205/50 R16 87V tires. The 2.0i and JDM Si trims came with 195/60 R15 88H, and the JDM Xi came with 14" steel wheels. Unlike the US market Preludes, JDM Preludes came with rear wind screen wipers, except for the Xi. Most Prelude models now featured the 11.1" front brakes that the '96 VTEC model came with, and most Preludes also received a 5-lug hub, as opposed to the 4-lug wheel hub of older models.
The fifth-generation Prelude marked a return to the more square body style of the third generation (1988-1991), in an attempt to curb slumping sales of the fourth-generation body style. The fifth-generation was assembled and distributed to many parts of the world, including Japan, the UK, the US, and Germany, among others. All models and trim packages stayed within the BB-chassis code (BB5-BB9) and housed either an H-series or F-Series engine. Only the Base and Type SH trims were readily available in the US.
|SiR S-spec||H22A||11.0:1||220 PS||2WS||BB6|
|Type S||H22A||11.0:1||217 PS||2WS||BB6|
|Type SH||H22A4||10.0:1||200 PS||2WS||BB6|
|2.2 VTi||H22A5 (97-98)|
|2.2 VTi-S||H22A5 (97-98)|
One version of the fifth generation Prelude, a high-performance model called the Type S, was only available in Japan. It was equipped with the 2.2 L H22A, featuring VTEC and producing 217 hp (162 kW; 220 PS) @ 7200 rpm and 163 lbf·ft (221 N·m) @ 6500 rpm. With a compression ratio of 11.0:1, 87.0 mm (3.4 in) bore x 90.7 mm (3.6 in) stroke and VTEC-valve timing, lift and duration were adjusted to 12.2 mm (0.5 in) intake and 11.2 mm (0.4 in) exhaust. Honda also overhauled the air box and replaced it with a more efficient design that is often referred to as Dynamic Chambering, along with a larger throttle body design bored to 62 mm (as opposed to the previous 60 mm). The exhaust system was also treated to a redesign, with the pipe cross sections becoming more cylindrical rather than oval. The three-way catalytic converter was also increased in size, as well as the exhaust piping from 2 to 2¼ in (51 to 57 mm) (tToV). In addition to a higher output engine both Type S and USDM Type SH featured an overhauled front suspension layout which offered a more effective camber curve. The fifth generation curb weight was 1310 kg (2882 lb), and ground clearance was 140 mm (5.5 in). Unlike the SiR S-spec that had an LSD, the Type S acquired the Honda technology known as the Active Torque Transfer System (ATTS). The gearing on the Type S matches all other fifth-generation Preludes that had a manual transmission except for the five-speed 2.2 VTi VTEC and had a final drive ratio of 4.266:1. The Type S had an Active Control ABS system, different from the others which had the standard ABS systems. The interior featured newly developed Cabron and Excene upholstered seats which most people see it as leather and alcantara laced with red stitching. Manufacturer styling options included seat lettering. The exterior styling of fifth generation Preludes was standardized for most models. All had a sunroof except for the Type S model.
Honda also released a special edition 5th generation Prelude, called Motegi. The name of this special edition derives from the ‘twin-ring Motegi’ motor-racing circuit, located in Haga District, Tochigi, Japan. This track was built in 1997 by Honda as part of their effort to bring the IndyCar series to Japan.
The Motegi edition Prelude featured an OEM Honda body kit, 17" Honda alloy wheels, lowered sports suspension and a Motegi badge on the trunk lid. All of these items were optional on non-Motegi models with the exception of the trunk lid badge.