Auto Express is reporting that the rumored “baby NSX” is very much a real, planned product with a delivery date scheduled for 2018.
Sources close to Honda say it will be powered by a 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder (likely the same one as the 2016 Civic) paired with electric motors like its NSX sibling. The shrunken NSX patent drawings that appeared online several months ago point to the baby NSX using similar styling cues.
The model could be the spiritual successor to the S2000 sports car, but the patent drawings show a coupe design, rather than the S2000’s roadster rag-top. In terms of its proposed powertrain, Honda apparently planned to use a larger 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, but decided to opt for a lighter 1.5 turbo to comply with more stringent emissions regulations. Paired with an electric motor, the baby NSX should manage 300 horsepower.
It’s also being reported that McLaren and Honda’s F1 team is pitching into the development to make the baby NSX a serious contender in the $40,000-65,000 price range. From its specifications, it sounds like the Porsche Cayman and Alfa Romeo 4C will be some of its closest competitors, which is definitely a departure from the original S2000’s Mazda RX-8 rivalry.
Due to Honda’s positioning of the S2000 successor, Honda may yet be leaving room for a true entry-level sports car to challenge Mazda’s 2016 MX-5 Miata and Toyota/Scion’s upcoming second-generation GT86/FR-S. Undoubtedly, the planned U.S.-spec Civic Type R will be a serious contender for the rapidly-crowding hot hatch market, but a base roadster with Honda V-TEC may still have allure.
Though news of a more affordable NSX is promising, if the model is delayed as the (now 2017) NSX has been, we may not see the baby NSX until just before the end of the decade.