Honda is reportedly planning a spiritual successor to its legendary S2000 in the form of a new, mid-engine, AWD sports car that lifts performance technology from the new NSX. Curb weight is expected to be around 3,000 pounds, while total drivetrain output could be as high as 400 horsepower. Pricing is targeted to be around the $75,000 mark to take on the likes of Porsche’s 2016 Cayman GT4 and Alfa Romeo’s 2014 4C.
That’s the word from a recent report posted by the Australian-based publication , which cites an unidentified Honda insider as saying that the automaker has not only been debating the possibility of another mid-engine model for several years, but that the go-ahead has been given for development.
Honda is currently updating its product catalog with a slew of new performance vehicles, including three in the span of the last 12 months: the S660/ S1000, 2016 Honda Civic Type R, and the new NSX. What’s more, a second-gen CR-Z is expected to launch by 2018.
The new baby NSX would bear similar exterior proportions to the H-badged supercar, slotting between the top-dog NSX and S660/S1000 kei roadster on Honda’s vehicle totem pole, in terms of performance, price, and aesthetics. Motive power will most likely be derived from a longitudinally mounted, turbocharged 2.0-liter VTEC four-cylinder plucked from the nose of the new Type R and tuned to deliver 326 horsepower at the rear wheels, which is 20 more than you get from the new hot-hatch. This would combine with two electric motors driving the front wheels for close to 400 horsepower total.
Grip and cornering prowess would be enhanced via Acura’s Super Handling AWD (SH-AWD) system connected to a nine-speed automatic gearbox. To keep mass at a minimum, the car will be based on an aluminum space frame with aluminum and carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic body panels.
The new baby NSX is expected to make its world at the 2018 Detroit Motor Show.
Why it matters
This new baby NSX looks like a real possibility. Rumors of a possible successor to the S2000 have been swirling for years now, and with company insiders spilling the beans regarding development details, things are looking up. What’s more, the Dutch publication recently revealed an image attached to a recent Honda patent that shows a mid-size sports car looking an awful lot like S660/S1000 and NSX.
Supposedly, motivation for building the sports car comes from calls made by U.S. Honda dealers, which are asking for a dedicated sports car to coincide with the more upscale 2016 Acura NSX. This makes sense when you consider how the baby NSX would most likely be built alongside its more powerful sibling at Honda’s Performance Manufacturing Center in Ohio, mainly due to its extensive use of aluminum and CFRP materials.
Supposedly, motivation for building the sports car comes from calls made by U.S. Honda dealers, which are asking for a dedicated sports car to coincide with the more upscale 2016 Acura NSX.
Most exciting, however, is the idea that the new NSX would coincide with the release of a variety of other classic Japanese sports cars.
For example, after it axed production of the RX-8 in 2011, Mazda has gone without a rotary-powered performance vehicle, once considered a hallmark of the brand. However, that may change in 2020, with speculation saying that a next-gen RX is currently under consideration.
Toyota too is looking to revive an old favorite with a next-gen Supra. Originally offering hints of its intentions with the 2014 Toyota FT-1 concept unveiled last year, the new Supra is part of a collaborative effort between Toyota and BMW, with the Germans providing the turbocharged straight-six engine and RWD chassis, while Toyota finances. A hybrid option may or may not be on the table. Like the baby NSX, output is rumored to be in the 400-horsepower range with a release date in 2018.
Finally, there’s Nissan, which is expected to bring a seventh generation to its iconic lineup of Z cars. Speculation over powerplant options includes a turbo 2.0-liter four-cylinder mated with an electric motor for 247 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, plus the more traditional V-6 for us displacement-lovin’ Americans. A concept is expected to arrive in the next 12 months or so.
Throw in the Toyobaru FR-S/ BRZ, the new Civic Type-R, the new Miata, the big boy NSX, and the GT-R, and things are looking good for fans of sports cars hailing from the Land of the Rising Sun. No matter your price range or drivetrain layout of choice, it looks like Japan will have you covered when it comes to motoring fun.
Now if only Nissan would revive the 510… and while we’re at it, how about bringing back the 22B, Subaru?