The successor to Honda’s ‘90s performance halo car, the celebrated NSX, may see the light of day after all. Autocar reports that Honda CEO Takanobo Ito announced at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show that the Japanese automaker is starting development of a new sports car. Rather than chasing outright speed and power with this new model, Honda says it will build a car around a drastic power-to-weight ratio.
Though the original NSX, sold under the Acura brand in the U.S., was powerful in its day, Ito says that his favorite part of developing that car was the work he did specifically with the aluminum body. “I really enjoyed that experience, and learned so much, so it is my wish that Honda engineers have the experience of developing a sports car like the NSX in [the] future,” Ito said in a press conference. “Within Honda, our engineers are already looking at developing such a car.”
Though Ito wouldn’t comment on when this future sports car would make it to production, he did emphasize that it would be a philosophically different car from the NSX, a mid-engine two-seater that weighed just under 3000 lbs. and boasted 290 hp by the end of its production run.
“You can’t depend on a high power output to call a car sporty anymore,” Ito 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.”
Honda originally planned to launch an NSX successor by 2010, but those ambitions were cut short in 2008 by former CEO Takeo Fukui, who cited the global economic crisis and the increasingly progressive environmental position of Honda as reasons for killing development of the new performance car.
Ito is all for building a new sports car, as long as it can uphold Honda’s eco-friendly image. “…When we develop our new sports car, we don’t want to copy Ferrari for power, but to also chase efficiency as well,” he said.
Though the blending of efficiency and sportiness has produced mixed results for Honda, like the lukewarm response garnered by its CR-Z hybrid hatchback, Ito continued, “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…we will address that impression with our new generation of cars.”