The first clues to Honda’s long-awaited NSX successor will be unveiled at the Detroit Motor Show. The Japanese company has confirmed that a hybrid concept known internally as the Super Sports will appear at the US event at the start of January.
A mysterious Acura concept was spotted last month on the set of the new Avengers movie in Central Park, New York, alongsive the film's star, Robert Downey Jr. Honda refused to comment on the pictures, but it's though that this mid-engined roadster could be the car in question.
Should the model make production, as is anticipated, it is likely to go on sale by 2013. Honda even took the bold move of showing a fleeting image of a sleek, silhouetted image of the model at a technical presentation to journalists at its Motegi Twin Ring facility.
R and D boss Yoshikazu Kigoshi said: “It will define the new face of Acura (Honda’s premium US brand).” But the car is set to go on sale worldwide, and it will wear the Honda badge in Europe and possibly even resurrect the revered NSX name.
An insider at the company admitted new boss Takanobu Ito had been stung into action after suggestions that a company once famed for its sporty cars and engineering expertise had lost its way in recent years. “This is the start of new direction for Honda,” he stressed. “We need a halo product.”
And chief operating officer of R and D Toshikiho Nonaka outlined the company’s agenda when he confirmed: “We are investigating a Super Sports car that pursues exhilarating fun.”
However, the new model will be in keeping with Honda’s Earth Dreams policy, which prioritises Fun, the Environment and Safety, and is likely to feature an electric motor as well as conventional power.
Other technology which could be used in the car is the firm’s new Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive system.
This torque control system transfers energy from inside wheels to outside wheels while cornering to maximize stability. Auto Express briefly tested it at the firm’s test track and found it delivered an extremely sporty drive, even in something the size of an Accord.
Nonaka acknowledged SH-AWD would be ideal for a new flagship performance model when he said: “We do have an understanding that lightweight, speedy, sporty vehicles are needed for this system.” President of Honda Motor Europe Manabu Nishimae added: “We know there are customers who want Honda sports cars and we are developing and intending to deliver products for them.”