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As you can see from the charts on page 1, peak performance is delivered from the pure CVT mode. Interestingly, Honda seems to have changed the operating characteristics of the CVT in S mode. During our limited time driving pre-production Accord models with the CVT, we found that the S-mode held selected gears until an upshift was commanded. In this production Accord, the transmission will hold the selected gear until you reach the redline and then it will automatically upshift. During our 0-60 and 1/4mile testing the stepped-shift S mode FELT faster and more pleasing to the ear (due to the quickly changing engine note vs the droning of the engine sitting on 6500rpms), but unsurprisingly, it was in fact a few ticks slower to 60 and through the 1/4 mile. Our best 0-60 time in CVT mode was 7.6 seconds, while the "7-speed" stepped S mode only delivered 8.0. The 1/4 mile time in CVT mode was 15.8@92mph while the "7-speed" stepped S mode trailed slightly at 16.0@91mph.
One more quick note: we weighed the Accord Sport's handsome 18" wheels and they came in at a hefty 55lbs. That's something that will certainly dull acceleration a little bit and also show up on these dyno plots. Lighter weight wheels (such as the 17s found on the EX model) would likely reflect slightly better horsepower and torque numbers on the dyno charts as well as gain perhaps another tenth or two in the acceleration figures.