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Next Honda/Acura NSX may be a Hybrid

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author photo by Autotrader May 2011

In its day, the Acura NSX was a screaming car that could easily compete with the Ferraris and Porsches of the world. During its 15-year production run it collected a dedicated group of fans and put Honda on the map as a serious contender in the high performance arena. But over time other competitors outpaced the NSX and Honda’s interest in the project began to wane–and in 2005, amidst flagging sales, NSX production was stopped altogether.

While Honda had originally planned to introduce an NSX successor with a monster V10 engine in 2010, the economic meltdown of 2008 seemed to relegate any further thought of developing a new NSX to the cash for clunkers lot.

But NSX fans old and new can now rejoice. With the economy on the rebound, Honda is once again setting its sights on a new NSX-type sports car–but this one won’t feature a gas sucking V10. After all, the automotive world has changed in the face of new consumer desires and more stringent emissions regulations.

To meet these modern demands, Honda says its new plan calls for some sort of electrification of the NSX’s drivetrain, coupling a smaller gas engine with an electric motor to boost performance and lower emissions–whether that’s a conventional hybrid drivetrain or some sort of plug-in is still unknown at this point.

At the 2011 Shanghai Auto Show Honda’s President, Takanobu Ito, told a crowd of reporters that the NSX successor would be an exciting high performance vehicle, but that it would also be kind to the environment. According to the company, the new NSX will be the superhero cousin to Honda’s rather underpowered, but entry level priced, CR-Z sports hybrid.

Perhaps a smaller engine sounds a bit like a step backwards to the performance crowd, but companies like Porsche and Ferrari are also singing the praises of electrification these days. With gobs of low-end torque, electric motors add new dimensions to performance that even Formula 1 racecars are now taking advantage of.

Ito gave no hint of when the electrified NSX successor might hit the market, but did say that the company was working hard to get it out the door quickly.

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Next Honda/Acura NSX may be a Hybrid - Autotrader