Honda Has Big Plans For The NSX
These plans include as many as five different versions of the NSX, including one that will sport the Type R badgeby Kirby Garlitos, on
The Honda NSX isn’t just going to be a single model as many apparently thought it would be. Instead, Honda is treating it as an actual platform and the groundwork is already being laid for different variants to be launched following the production of the hybrid version.
NSX project boss Ted Klaus made the surprising declaration to Autocar, saying that the NSX platform could give rise to a bevy of different versions, including a non-hybrid, a lightweight model, an all-electric versions, and a convertible model. One of these variants, Klaus adds, will also sport Honda’s Type R badge, which could make it the most powerful of all the variants, more powerful even than the 573-horsepower hybrid model.
It’s no secret that Honda has a lot tied into the success of the NSX. The Japanese automaker has made significant investments on the car, including launching the Performance Manufacturing Center in Ohio, a new production facility where the NSX hybrid is currently being built.
No timetable has been set for any of these models but apparently, the ongoing production for the hybrid version of the NSX is already giving Honda ideas of what it can do to springboard the platform’s development and put it in a position where it can give birth to a host of new variants. One of the most interesting variants is the proposed Type R model, which would ideally be the most performance-focused version of the platform by virtue of it carrying Honda’s esteemed performance badge. Developing an NSX Type R would entail a few significant modifications from the current model, including the requirement to make it lighter and have it use a gasoline-powered engine.
In addition to an NSX Type R variant, a lightweight version and an all-electric model are also likely candidates to be born out of the NSX platform. Honda has already made some strides in developing such models, most notably when it entered a lightweight NSX and an all-electric version compete at the 2016 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.
Obviously, Honda still has a lot to work on before any of these models come to fruition. But simply knowing that a platform expansion is on the table speaks to how important the NSX is in re-establishing Honda’s stature in the performance car segment.
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Why it matters
This is the kind of news that stops you on your tracks because it’s so big that you’re going to need some time to process all of it in. That’s certainly what I felt when I found out about it. Apparently, the Honda NSX – or Acura NSX for us folks here in the U.S. – isn’t going to be limited to just one model. It might have been mentioned in the past at one point or another, but this is the first time that a high-ranking Honda official has made it known that these plans are not just lip service. There’s a lot of truth to them.
Now before we all get too excited, it’s important to remember that these are just plans. That means that these plans could still go in any direction. Honda could end up building a whole family of NSX performance cars or it could just expand to two or three models. The Japanese automaker has given no indication on where it’s leaning, so it’s important not to get too caught up in the news, even if it’s admittedly hard to do at this point.
I’m not privy to any of Honda’s plans, but if Honda is really set on expanding the NSX platform, I see a scenario where we could end up seeing a total of four different NSX variants, including the hybrid version that’s already being produced. The most likely candidate is an EV model simply because a lot of Honda’s biggest markets have begun to embrace electric vehicles. It’s probably in Honda’s best interest to start the NSX platform expansion with that model. From there, a gas-powered model is next in line and if Honda can do that, you can expect a convertible version to follow sooner than later.
Then there’s the Type R version, which I think is going to be both the most challenging variant and the most rewarding. For one, the expectations for such a model would be sky high. Honda also needs to lay out its platform expansion blueprint first before it can dive into developing a Type R version. My thinking would be that the Type R would follow soon after the gas-powered coupe and convertible versions will be released. It makes sense to leave the best and most powerful variant for last to help build the anticipation.
The good news for Honda is that it prepared itself for this possibility from the very beginning. Ted Klaus himself said that the current model in production was “over-engineered” in order to leave room for more hardcore models to be developed. Where Honda goes with this is anyone’s guess, but for those who wanted a more performance-oriented NSX from the very beginning, you may get your wish after all.
Read our full review on the Acura NSX Type R here.