While the 2021 TLX gets ready to take on BMW, Acura’s sporty side is currently best-represented by the NSX supercar. The hybrid NSX has already beaten racing records, and it’s proven to be a worthy successor to the 90s model. But while the original offered sharper trims like the Alex Zanardi Edition, that’s not the case with the current model. New rumors claim that Acura is bringing back the NSX Type R—and bringing out a convertible, too.
The original Acura—er, Honda NSX Type R
Although US customers can enjoy the Honda Civic Type R today, that’s a fairly recent development. Historically, Honda’s sportiest models were limited to the European and/or Japanese markets. The only exception was the Acura Integra Type R of the late 90s and early 2000s.
Which is a shame, because the Civic and Integra weren’t the only Type R models. They weren’t even the first ones, Top Gear reports. That honor belongs to the 1992 JDM Acura NSX Type R, badged as a Honda. Its 3.0-liter V6 didn’t make any more horsepower than the standard model, Evo reports. That was due to the ‘gentlemen’s agreement’ going on amongst Japanese automakers at the time. However, practically every other part of the car was tweaked, Autoblog reports.
The 1992 Acura/Honda NSX Type R is 308 pounds lighter than the standard model. That’s thanks to more aluminum, no sound deadening, no A/C or radio, and carbon-Kevlar Recaro sport seats. Even the glass covering the engine is thinner to save weight. The supercar’s suspension is also stiffer, thanks to upgraded dampers, springs, and bushings. The front sway bar is stiffer, too. The 5-speed manual has shorter gearing, and the shifter features a titanium knob, Road & Track reports.
That’s the NA1 model, though. The 2002-2005 NA2 Acura/Honda NSX Type R went even further with the modifications, DriveTribe reports. It has a 6-speed transmission, again with shorter gearing. It also has a carbon-fiber hood, deck lid, and spoiler, shaving off an additional 12 pounds.
Up until now, that was the last Acura NSX Type R. And in a February 2020 Autoblog interview, Honda technical consultant Ko Yamamoto and Civic Type R Project Leader Hideki Kakinuma claimed a new model wasn’t in the cards.
The new Acura NSX Type R and convertible rumors
However, there are new rumors from Japan that claim Acura is indeed working on a new NSX Type R.
This news comes courtesy of Motor1 and Motor Authority, reporting on a report from Japan’s Best Car publication. Currently, the Acura NSX has a 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V6 paired with 2 electric motors for a total of 573 hp and 476 lb-ft, The Drive reports. However, the hypothetical hybrid Type R would boost that to 640-650 hp. It would also come with “additional benefits,” Motor1 reports—presumably, handling upgrades and/or weight-saving measures.
But that’s not the only rumor Best Car has, CarBuzz reports. The Japanese publication also claims a convertible Acura NSX is in the works, too. There aren’t any details as to what kind of convertible it would be. However, like the Type R rumors, this has some historical precedence. The original NSX offered a removable top like the Ferrari F50; these models are called NSX-Ts.
Is this going to happen?
This isn’t the first time that rumors of a new Acura NSX Type R surfaced. They’ve been swirling since 2016, Car and Driver reports. And a speculative 2019 Forbes report only fueled them further. However, this directly contradicts what Yamamoto and Kakinuma previously claimed about ‘Type R’ being a Honda-exclusive badge.
But that doesn’t mean a high-performance NSX won’t happen. In an interview with Motor1, Kakinuma said that sporty Acuras would be badged ‘Type S.’ And we know the brand is working on several yet-to-be-officially-announced Type S models. It was initially believed that the NSX wouldn’t receive such a variant. These new rumors, though, seem to indicate that Acura may have changed its mind. If they’re accurate, that is.
As for a potential Acura NSX Spider/Roadster, that’s even trickier to comment on. There was an open-roofed NSX in 2012’s Avengers. However, underneath the stylish exterior, it was really a 1991 NSX, Edmunds reports.
But if either of these cars actually breaks cover, let’s hope they make it to the US.
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