Honda has begun work on a new sports car in the mold of the iconic NSX (LEFT), president and CEO Takanobu Ito revealed on the eve of the Frankfurt auto show. He cautioned, however, that the new NSX will be radically different from its predecessor, with Ito stating that the goal will be to build a car that has a dramatic power-to-weight ratio as opposed to outright power.
“I spent part of my early career at Honda developing the NSX, and specifically the aluminum body,” said Ito. “I really enjoyed that experience, and learned much, so it is my wish that Honda engineers have the experience of developing a sports car like the NSX in future. Within Honda, our engineers are already looking at developing such a car.”
Ito declined to comment on when such a car could make production, but he stressed it would be a different vehicle from the original NSX, which weighed 2,976lbs and had 290hp.
“You can't depend on a high-power output to call a car sporty anymore,” he said. “The original NSX was about high power but also good driving performance, and today power-to-weight is what we have to focus on. The NSX was known for its aluminum body, so when we develop our new sports car we don't want to copy Ferrari for power, but to also chase efficiency as well.”
A successor to the original NSX, which was sold as an Acura in the U.S. from 1990-2005, was originally planned to be launched in 2010, but was canceled in December 2008 by then Honda CEO Takeo Fukui due to the economic crisis and growing environmental concerns. However, Ito is pushing for Honda to push its sporting credentials in its models again, so long as they complement its environmental stance.
“Our recent efforts have been focused on fuel efficiency, and that perhaps gives the impression Honda is behind with pushing the brand image of sportiness, but let me assure you that is not the case,” said Ito. “We will address that impression with our new generations of cars.”