The Acura NSX has always been the brand's technological flagship, whether we're talking about the first-generation model with an all-aluminum body, chassis and V6 engine featuring Honda's VTEC system or the current NSX featuring a tri-motor gas-electric hybrid system.
As the second-generation model has been discontinued this year with the launch of the Type S final edition limited to just 350 cars, the big question is whether Honda plans to bring back the storied nameplate for a third generation.
While the automaker has not confirmed plans for a third-generation NSX, Acura Vice President and Brand Officer Jon Ikeda said he would bet on it in an interview with Nikkei Asia, adding that if the NSX gets the green light from Honda, "it's going to be electric."
He believes that a third-generation NSX would be the perfect platform to highlight the brand's shift from internal combustion to battery-electric propulsion.
While Honda has formed a joint venture with General Motors to bring two electric vehicles to market in 2024—the Honda Prologue and Acura ZDX—and more affordable ones later on, the Japanese company also plans to build EVs separately from GM and its Ultium platform.
Honda electric sports cars teased; the one on the right has NSX-like proportions
Honda Motor global CEO Toshihiro Mibe said the company will spend $40 billion to go fully electric by 2040, with the automaker pledging to launch 30 BEVs by the end of this decade. Many of them will be based on Honda's own e:Architecture BEV platform, which Ikeda believes to be ideal for the NSX.
An all-electric Acura NSX would fit its role as a halo nameplate and would also indicate what the new architecture is capable of, the executive said. However, he stressed that a new NSX would be about more than just straight line acceleration, as the goal would be to demonstrate extreme levels of handling and other technological advantages.
"It won’t be just about straight lines," Ikeda noted. He believes the final decision on bringing back the NSX will likely be up to Mibe, although the CEO's commitment to EVs seems to indicate that a new battery-powered sports car will follow.
So when are we to expect the all-electric Acura NSX to arrive? Well, with the GM-based Honda Prologue entering production in 2024, it will be a couple more years before the Japanese automaker is ready to launch its first EV based on the e:Architecture.
That would be the perfect time to debut a new NSX, other Honda insiders told Nikkei Asia. If Mibe green-lights the project, that would mean formal development of a next-generation Acura NSX could begin within the next year or two.