Acura NSX still has untapped performance potential

Acura NSX still has untapped performance potential

The 2017 Acura NSX configurator may have just launched this week, but already rumors are circulating about a higher-performance version, reportedly a possible Type R.

The NSX already boasts 573 horsepower and 476 lb-ft of torque thanks to a twin-turbo V6 and no less than three electric motors, but Paul Eisenstein of The Detroit Bureau reports that Acura engineers are looking for ways to “bump power and performance up another notch or two.”

Engineers believe that the 3.5-liter V6 is “far from nearing the limits of its design,” with a power-to-displacement ratio of “just” 143 per liter. Improvements to the turbochargers may be part of the strategy to draw more power from the engine. More than 15 years ago, Honda achieved the highest power-to-displacement ratio of any naturally aspirated production car when it introduced the 240-horsepower, 2.0-liter S2000 sports car.

Interestingly, the most immediate methods of bumping power may not come from traditional means such as tweaking turbos. Instead, engineers, believe the electric half of the hybrid powertrain holds just as much tuning potential. A larger battery pack, unspecified upgrades to the electrical system, and changes to the chemistry of the batteries themselves that improve energy “flow” are all potential wells of more power.

As for the Type R, there is no official confirmation of such a program. In the past, Honda has only bestowed the Type R name to the purest of lightweight performance cars. At 3,803 pounds, the NSX is already on the heavy side. A true Type R would have to dramatically reduce that mass, and the elimination of power seats, sound insulation material and other electronic amenities would have to take place.

In any case, it sounds as if there are already several ways to improve performance in coming iterations before a hard core Type R needs to debut.

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