Should Acura Build a Non-Hybrid, Lightweight NSX Type R?

The car's chief engineer certainly seems to think so.

Acura

“You have to realize, when we started on this car, there was no Porsche 918. There was no McLaren P1. There was no LaFarrari.”

That’s the first thing an Acura spokesperson told me when the NSX debuted in Detroit last year. Hedging, right off. Figures. Honda seemed five years late to its own party with the hybrid, mid-engine supercar. But that might end up being a blessing. In an interview with Autocar, Ted Klaus, chief engineer of the NSX, says he’d like to flip the script: Instead of a high-tech flagship, turn the car into a springboard for launching a series of harder, faster variants.

According to Klaus, making a “more pure, simplified version” is “in some ways more straightforward,” and there’s “an appetite” within Acura for it. He added that there’s “nothing in the way of it being non-electrified,” which is true. We know this because, in order to comply with series regulations, the new NSX GT3 racing car uses the road car’s twin-turbo, 3.5-liter V-6—same block, same heads, same crank, same pistons, same dry-sump oil system—sans battery packs and electric motors. It is also rear-wheel drive.

Acura

Acura NSX GT3 racecar. Boss.

Along with a lightweight body, that could be the bones for a new NSX Type R, which Klaus says would need to be “the most focused version of any platform.” On the grand touring side, a convertible version might also make sense; an all-electric variant, like the one Acura ran up Pikes Peak this year, might work as a technology halo model.

Of course, this is all way off. But it is coming from the man in charge of the car, and it certainly makes sense. Considering the NSX isn’t as technologically groundbreaking as originally intended, and the car’s somewhat lukewarm reception, getting down to essentials might help round things out.

And, really, isn’t a lightweight, rear-drive, V-6 NSX what we wanted all along?