Rumors and Speculation

NSX Rumors and Speculation



The only information available to date is on the prototype of the new NSX Type-R which Honda debuted in October 2001.

There has been a lot of guesswork on the part of the automotive press as to what the second generation NSX will be like. Some even publish photos which, upon close inspection, are clearly just computer-edited versions of the existing first generation car. Honda has been very tight-lipped about the second generation car.

All entries are in chronological order from most recent to oldest

Best Car – October 2001

Speculation that this is what the facelifted 2002 NSX may look like, based on the new NSX-R prototype shown by Honda at the 2001 Tokyo Motor Show. – October 2001

"The battle for supremacy in the supercar market is set to race into the 21st century, Auto Express can reveal, with a pair of space age sportsters from Honda and Nissan. The current issue of Auto Express magazine carries exclusive images of the sportsters.

Insiders have also revealed that although both cars will have a similar basic design, the way they use electric power will be very different.

At Honda’s Japanese research and development centre, testing of its contender is well under way. Tipped for launch in 2004, and set to replace the NSX, the all-new coup� will satisfy the firm’s ambitious mission to produce a high-performance car that has economical fuel consumption and low exhaust emissions. Set to rival the likes of Porsche’s 911, and even the Ferrari 360, it promises to be a devastatingly fast machine for competent drivers.

Essentially a 400bhp edition of the acclaimed Honda Insight, the supercar’s advanced hybrid powerplant relies on the proven IMA (Integrated Motor Assist) system. At the rear is a high-performance petrol-powered 3.5-litre V6 unit, while at the front there’s an efficient electric motor. The layout makes the coup� Honda’s first 4WD supercar, while the combination also helps to ensure that the prototype vehicle is environmentally friendly.

But Honda is not the only manufacturer aiming to stun the world with such a hybrid machine. Nissan, too, has plans to turn the sports car order upside down with a completely new GT-R. Also due to hit the road in 2004 and guaranteeing an output of at least 350bhp, the next generation GT-R will pack a 3.5-litre V6 engine with twin-turbos as well as revolutionary wheel-mounted electric motors.

The engine will be at the front and will drive the rear wheels, while the electric motors power the fronts, each working independently of the other. By using a hybrid unit in addition to the twin-turbo V6, regenerative energy is produced from the rear wheels while power is fed to the front tyres as required through the lightweight in-wheel motors.

Not only does this add to the car’s performance, the system will also offer impressive stability control. In contrast to the mechanical Attessa E-TS 4WD system, there is no time-lag inherent in the new front-wheel-drive concept and it is capable of channelling torque instantly. However, the technology employed in the new machine will not come cheap. Nissan insiders are suggesting that by the time the car reaches the market, it will cost nearly �100,000."

Road & Track – September 2001

Vertical text on the right side of the page:
"Computer-generated images by Best Car"

Text under the side sill: "Computer
enhanced image by Best Car"

? Unknown Japanese Magazine ? – September 9, 2001

Best Car – September 2001


Best Car magazine's estimates of the different colors available at debut time

The facelifted NSX Type-R will retain the 3179-cc V6 engine (C32B) and still produce an official 280-ps. Expect Brembo brakes, 17 inch front tires, 18 inch rear tires, BBS-designed alloys, Recaro sports seats, simplified interior, and a price tag of 10 million Japanese Yen (approx. US$83,600).


Popular Mechanics – September 2001

"It was only a matter of time. We knew Acura had to update the NSX eventually. Well, the time is now, or, more specifically, the 2002 model year. Say hello to the evolution of NSX, Acura’s aluminum sports car.

This sneak peek of the car appears to have the same basic shape, but many of the lines are smoother and integrate more cleanly into the body style. The car appears even lower than before, but that could be just artistic license at work. Acura confirms that the powertrain will remain the same: a 290-hp 3.2-liter DOHC V6 with either a six-speed manual transmission or four-speed automatic.

The car will get an all-new grille, a new bumper face and skirt, air spoiler and fixed-position headlights. The side sills, side intakes and rear fascia have also been enhanced.

Significant changes the car has received over the years include the addition of the targo-top NSX-T in 1995. That year, the NSX also got optional Formula One-style steering column-mounted automatic transmission shift buttons, a drive-by-wire throttle and standard electrically assisted power steering. Hey, it’s a flagship.

The NSX has also benefited from larger brakes with improved ABS, revised suspension, lighter-weight, higher-rigidity body panels, and a theft-deterrent vehicle immobilizer system.

Vive la NSX!"

[Note: These are "official" sketches from Honda]

Autoweek – August 28, 2001

"Acura won’t improve on the powertrain propelling its aluminum-bodied NSX supercar, but styling refinements will give the 2002 model a sharper image.

The near-$90,000 hand-built mid-engined NSX will continue to offer the same high-revving 3.2-liter, 290-horsepower V6 introduced by Honda�s high-end division in 1997. The future, which may come as soon as late 2002, could bring a V8-powered NSX pushing as much as 400 hp. But the tradeoff may be a possible shift to a front-engined/rear-wheel-drive configuration, as well as more use of steel in the construction of the next-generation NSX.

Until then, we’ll have to be content with the simple things in life: For 2002, Acura finally drops the aged flip-up headlights in favor of fixed-position units. The facelift also includes a redesigned grille and a new front bumper, skirt and spoiler. Side sills, side air intakes and the rear fascia are also restyled.

NSX for 2002 continues to offer its six-speed manual transmission, optional removable roof panel, standard variable electric power steering, drive-by-wire throttle control and optional F1-inspired shift paddles."

[Note: These are "official" sketches from Honda]

Best Car – August 2001

Honda NSX Type-R (+facelift) Having starved the current NSX of nearly all developmental money, Honda has finally updated the NSX to prepare the public for a much more dramatic-looking replacement in 2004. Before the next NSX, the current one receives a cosmetic refreshening, with canopy-style headlamp covers, RSX-style rear lights clusters, and a large Lancer Evolution-style rear wing. Honda will throw out many luxury appointments to reduce weight as well for the Type-R version.
Honda NSX (new) The next NSX will have much more dramatic styling and it will break Japan’s self-imposed horsepower barrier (280ps) along with the next Skyline GTR R35. AV8 engine option has again been revived in the developmental program, since it can be shared with the next Legend/RL model to gain economies of scale. The top-line V8 model will have at least 350ps and can be tuned to produce 400ps in later iterations, according to Honda insiders.

Auto Express (UK) – August 2001

"Look out Ferrari! Honda is about to upset the supercar establishment with a stunning new evolution of its NSX. Spy photos in the current issue of Auto Expresss (issue 629) reveal the stunning new model. Based on the existing car’s floorpan, the revamped machine will boast composite body panels and a new V-TEC 3.5-litre V8 engine, which is capable of producing 400bhp.

Due to hit the streets in 2003, the car will keep its original mid-engined rear-wheel-drive layout and compete head-on with the likes of the Ferrari 360 Modena and Porsche 911 Turbo. Power will be fed through a six-speed gearbox, and traction control is likely to be fitted as standard.

There’s little doubt that the latest NSX will prove a demanding driver’s car. However, Honda has taken stock of criticisms levelled at the current car, particularly about the interior and steering, and will improve them.

The company is also expected to make full use of its Type R branding for the new car. In the meantime, the current NSX is due to be given a mild facelift. The 2002 model year car, which is on sale from the end of next month, will offer a revised interior and fresh colour schemes. But no mechanical changes will be made, as Honda feels the existing NSX is still contemporary enough to attract buyers.

Like the existing car, the new NSX is likely to be an expensive machine. Though prices are far from being confirmed it’s unlikely the new machine will cost less than the current car when it goes on sale. That means a purchase price of at least �70,000 can be expected."

Automobile – June, 2001

People not familiar with how advanced computer manipulation of pictures has become are often fooled by really good work. For example, the "pictures" in this edition of Automobile magazine are so realistic they put one on the front cover. Yet a little searching turned up the original press photo of the first generation NSX used to create the computer edited ones appearing here in Automobile Magazine.

Best Car – March 26, 2001 (page 13)

The next generation NSX will incorporate a i-VTEC V6, somewhere around 3400cc, and produce around 350hp. The interesting bit of information is that the car will be made of aluminum and take advantage of Honda’s IMA hybrid technology. According to the article, Honda wanted to take a different route then the 911 and the Ferrari 360 Modena. Best Car did not specify if the horsepower rating was with the electric motors taken into consideration or not. Since the Honda Insight is made in the same factory as the NSX, the aluminum body and the hybrid motor was considered. In the past, the next NSX was rumored to be a V-8 or V-10, but current revelations suggest that the next NSX will be a i-VTEC V6 with electric motors, the weight saving benefit is not clear at this time, but the next Honda will surely be more compact. But the Honda’s philosophy that the next NSX will be a F1 on wheels that is comfortable and fun to drive remains intact. Current estimations: Length  4300mm, Width 1800mm, Height 1180mm, Wheelbase 2500mm, Engine 3.4L V6 i-VTEC, 350hp @ 7500rpm,  33Kg/M @ 5500rpm (~239 lb-ft), 6 speed manual transmission, price 8,000,000 yen.

Auto, Motor and Sport (German magazine) – February, 2001

[WME – 2001/2/8] German magazine "auto, motor & sport" writes, that the next NSX will be ready in 2003. A design-study will be shown at Tokyo Motor Show this year (2001) in October. First drawing shows no major changes to recent model (looks now a bit more like the 1st Ford Probe), but 2 things will definitely be different: No more retractable headlights and a longer wheelbase to get more space for engine/tranny. No decision was yet made for the engine, although it will be bigger than now. Everything between 8-12 cylinder (N/A or turbo) will be possible – most likely a V-engine again. And: it will surely be a mid-engine

Car & Driver – January, 2001 – 2001

2002 Acura NSX: Facelift

 2003 Acura NSX: Japanese super car may receive a V-8 engine

American Metal Market – Dec. 25, 2000

"Honda eyes steel for Acura upgrade" DETROIT — Honda Motor Co. engineers working on the next-generation Acura NSX performance car for introduction in 2004 are considering switching to steel if they can come up with an overall design for the car that is not much heavier than the current NSX, which has an aluminum shell.

Car – November, 2000

[ed. note: obvious photoshop job on current model]

Road & Track – August, 2000

Autoweek – May 22, 2000

"Final design for the next-generation NSX has yet to be frozen, but it’s headed for a late 2002 launch, Honda insiders say. It will use a higher-output version of the nest-generation Legend/RL’s 3.5 liter V8, producing about 396 horsepower. A racing-oriented NSX GT get a 3.6 liter version of the V8, producing more then 415 horsepower."

Best Car – March 26, 2000

"New NSX should be appear in 2002 with a 3.5L V8 VTEC-i 400ps engine, price should be below 13,000,000yen. There will be a GT version that will have 3.6L 430ps."

[ed. note: obvious photoshop job on current model]

Best Car – February 10, 2000

Page 8-9: "New NSX – Honda is preparing two different versions of the upcoming NSX. First is a road going version that will be equipped with a 3.5 liter V-8. The engine will be a 5-valve VTEC. The car will still have the mandatory 280 p.s. rating for Japan, but for export the engine will be tuned to produce in excess of 400 p.s. The race tuned version will be the same basic engine with an increase in displacement to possibly 4.0 liters and over 430 p.s. Honda is working with Brembo on the manufacture of special lightweight 6 piston caliper brakes for the front, and 4 piston caliper brakes for the rear designed specifically for the new NSX. The car will be equipped with cross-drilled rotors, BBS wheels, and Recaro seats. Due out possibly this time next year." [ed. note: obvious photoshop job on current model]

Road & Track – November 1999

"It is believed that Juan Montoya has already tested the new 2002 Acura NSX. Unlike reports in various car magazines, the NSX price will not drop to $60,000 or $70,000. But it will rather stay at its current price of $84,000."

Sports Car International – August/September 1999

"JAPAN-Since the Acura/Honda NSX was introduced as a 1990 model, the body has not undergone any serious changes apart from the addition of the targa-topped NSX-T version. Production is now down to 350 cars a year, but Honda remains committed to it’s aluminum-bodied supercar, with a totally new version set to be released in 2004. In the meantime, a facelift of the current model will be released in 2001.

Today’s NSX hides it’s strong performance under sleek, restrained lines, but the 2001 model has adopted a muscular image. Though the greenhouse and interior will stay the same, the front overhang will be diminished and fixed headlights under clear covers will replace the outdated retractable units. At the side, the fenders will grow bulging flares to accommodate 255/35ZR18 rear tires and the side intake will become larger.

The wider fenders will not compromise the car’s aerodynamics, however, thanks to a twin-blade rear spoiler and an underbody diffuser, both seen on the new Nissan Skyline GT-R. The exact rear styling remains undecided at this time, but it may incorporate a Ferrari-style see-through hatch that allows direct view of the engine, which will likely be an evolution of the current V-6.  –Shin Yoshikawa"

Autobytel – August 1999 – What’s New In Cars And Trucks

"…NSX isn’t posting great sales, but Acura will continue for 2000 with the image car. In 2002 model year expect a new front fascia, with bigger engine options for NSX."

Car and Driver – August 1999 – "New NSX on the Way?"

"Although Honda sells only a handful of NSXs-badged as Acuras in the U.S.-apparently, that’s enough to warrant an extensive freshening of the sports car late in 2000. The changes include an exterior restyling and a much changed interior, both of which have undergone amazingly few updates since the original introduction. The NSX is scheduled for a much more extensive redesign in 2004, as the present design likely would not pass European crash standards scheduled for implementation that year. The aluminum body will likely be replaced with composite, and a V-8 will probably replace the V-6."

CNNfn – June 30 1999 – "Honda to produce its first production V8s"

The Press Company Multilink

"The next generation NSX and Legend models from Honda will share a brand-new 4.0 litre V8 based on the technology used in the new S2000 sports car. The NSX replacement will be a 380kW (509 HP!) all-alloy mid-engined design,  while the Legend will use the same engine in detuned form mounted up front but driving the rear wheels.

Honda is in no hurry to build the new NSX as its specialist Tochigi factory is already running at full capacity, coping with demand for the S2000, which is running at several times the initial predictions for the car."

Mag "X" – May 1999 – Page 2-5

"New NSX – A face lifted version of the NSX, codenamed the "ZS", will go on sale in autumn 2000. Headlights will no longer be retractable, but fixed like the new Ferrari. The front radiator and other parts have been made smaller, giving a shorter overhang – the rear may feature a large spoiler. The design will be a joint effort between Honda’s Japanese and American in-house teams. A completely new model will appear in autumn 2004. It is not clear whether a V-6 or V-8 engine will be used but in either case, the low emission technology from the S2000 will be included. It will produce 125 bhp per litre. The aluminum body is to be abandoned due to high insurance costs."

Best Car 4.26 – March 26, 1999

Page 13: "New FR sport sedan and NSX to debut possibly during 2000."

Page 16: "NSX will most likely come with a V-8 and not a V-10 as previously thought due to packaging, weight and balance of car."

[ed. note: obvious photoshop job on current model]

Car and Driver, February 1999

"Meanwhile, rumors persist that Honda is at work on the next-generation NSX, possibly due in 2001 as a 2002 model. The new model would continue to be built at the factory in Tochigi, Japan, where the NSX and the new Honda S2000 sports car are essentially handcrafted. Expect more than 350 horsepower and a look similar to this spy drawing, based on inside information."

Best Car – May 26, 1998

"The new NSX, which is supposed to be coming out in MY 2000, definitely will be coming out with a V-10 engine. Sources say that it will be a 3.5 liter and will have a "minimum" of 350 horsepower. The price is between 5 ~ 7 million yen ( $38,500 ~ $55,000 at current yen rate) which is approximately 2 ~ 3 million cheaper than the current version. Weight is supposed to be no more than 1200 kg (3,000 lbs.)"

[ed. note: obvious photoshop job on current model]

Revue Automobile Suisse – May, 1998

Here’s the translation: "Honda V12 Super Sportscar. Honda is reappearing in the domain of high performance vehicles within the next 3 years. After the roadster SSX (which was announced in 1999), an exclusive sportscar, with a V12 engine, should replace the NSX. The prototype may be revealed in the 1999 Tokyo Motor Show. The "prophets / soothsayers" think that Honda is in need of that 12 cylinder sportscar with such an exceptional V engine in order to adorn its blazon [name] at this time, before coming back in the Formula I circuit (not only as provider of engines, but also as producer of chassis)."

Road and Track – January, 1998

Road & Track stated that a new NSX will be produced sometime after model year 2000. An all-new V-8 is rumored to be the replacement for the current V-6, thus a significant increase in horsepower and torque. Price may exceed $100,000.

Autoweek – December 1997

A short bit stating that there will be a new model year 2000 NSX replacement packing a V10 tied to Honda’s upcoming return to F1.

Best Car – November 26, 1997

Suggested that this would be the 2000 "F-1 inspired" NSX, with fixed headlights, and a 3.5 litre V-10 engine with at least 350 HP.

[ed. note: obvious photoshop job on current model]

New Model Magazine (Japan) – October 11, 1997

NSX when it debuts (no date) will be built by a special design team (many outside designers brought in) and is packaged and styled like F-355 Ferrari. Article said it will have a 3.5 litre V-8 with over 100 h.p. per litre.

Auto Bild No. 40 – October 2, 1997

V12-powered NSX due early next decade.

Motor Trend – May, 1997

According to a blurb in the May ’97 issue of Motor Trend, the NSX will be replaced in the not too distant future with a model sporting V-8 (or possibly even V-12) power. The new V-8 will likely displace around 4.0 liters, and be longitudinally mounted amidships. This will reportedly require a bit of a stretch in the wheelbase, but the overall length should remain the same. A prototype of this car may even appear at the Tokyo Auto Show in October. It is said that the decision was made to continue selling a flagship such as the NSX even though each one is sold at a loss to Honda.

Paul Lienert’s Car Talk – April 23, 1997

"Honda, which is working on the next generation Acura NSX, says it won’t put a V-10 engine, as once rumored, into its new supercar. Honda executives believe a V-6 is more socially and environmentally responsible. Besides, they reason, it is easy to pull 300 horsepower or more from a six-cylinder. The 3.2-liter V-6 in the current model now makes 290 horsepower." (

Automobile Magazine – October 1996

"One for the NS-X Files

In this episode we examine the case of the upcoming top-secret, ultra-high performance Acura NSX. Consider the

 following clues:

  • Honda's Active Torque Transfer System, available on the 1997 Prelude, was first shown in 1991 in the FS-X, an
  •    experimental four-wheel-drive vehicle that was made available to members of the press who      attended the 1991
       Tokyo Motor Show. Few people bothered to make the trip to the Tochigi test track.
  • Koji Shibahata, the chief designer of that system, asserts that the FS-X is still the best all-wheel-drive car in the
  •    world. All-wheel drive, however, is not necessary until power exceeds 280 bhp, he says      with a knowing laugh. 
  • The Acura NSX is scheduled for a performance increase for 1997, probably meaning a 3.2-liter V-6 in place of the
  •    3.0-liter. The 3.2-liter engine makes about 300 bhp. 
  • IndyCar's Comptech Racing openly says it's working on a supercharged NSX engine for Honda. Meanwhile,
  •    Honda says the future of the NSX is assured (electric-vehicle production will take place      in the same plant,
       rationalizing the facility). The Honda Motor Company's fiftieth anniversary is in 1998. 
  • An engineer we know recently joined Honda R&D North America to work on a project he characterizes as a
  •    "death secret." In his previous job he was working on an active suspension      vehicle. 
  • Last year, we got a weird, unattributed email from someone at Honda claiming to have seen plans for a
  •    ultra-horsepower, all-wheel-drive supercar. 

Does this all add up to a Fiftieth Anniversary NSX with a supercharged engine, active suspension, Honda’s direct yaw-control system, and all-wheel-drive? We can’t get official confirmation, but as agents Mulder and Scully would tell you, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist."   – Michael Jordan

First Generation

Road and Track – October 1996

"The NSX is said to be getting a minor exterior freshening, a bump in displacement to 3.2L, approximately 300hp, more torque, and a 6-speed transmission will be available. It is also said that the handling will benefit from slight changes to the chassis."

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