We’ve seen and heard a lot of Honda’s all-new NSX hybrid supercar over the past few years.
The twin-turbocharged V6 hybrid four-wheel-drive coupe has appeared at more than half a dozen motor shows, firstly in concept form at Detroit in 2012 and then in production spec at Motown this year.
So when it finally goes on sale globally early next year (Australians will have to wait until the second half of 2016), Honda and its fans will rejoice at the second coming of Japan's original supercar.
But while the standard NSX will deliver an impressive 404kW through a sophisticated 4WD system and should costs less than $200,000, news out of Honda reveals the company is preparing an even hotter Type-R version, which could exceed 447kW (542HP) and land in showrooms by 2018 with a price closer to $250,000.
These numbers are a long way away from those presented by the first NSX, which broke new ground and shocked the European-dominated supercar world by combining all of Japan's latest automotive technologies 25 years ago.
Like the original NSX of 1990, whose myriad of world-first technologies – such as an all-aluminium monocoque body, four-channel anti-lock braking, electric power steering and VTEC valve timing -- forced the likes of Ferrari to stand up and take notice, the 2016 NSX will boast a whole new array of technologies that will push the envelope once again.
While the Mk1 NSX arrived Down Under in January 1991 with a 201kW (270HP) 3.0-litre V6 and a base price of $159,900, the next NSX employs a new 75-degree dry-sump 3.5-litre twin-turbo banked V6.
It also incorporates a unique hybrid system incorporating a nine-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission and electric motor at the rear, with two other independently operating electric motors positioned on each side at the front-end.
Generating a total output of 404kW (542HP)/7000rpm, the new NSX will offer four drive modes – Quiet, Sports, Sports + and Track – and a claimed fuel consumption figure of just 5.6L/100km.
Several manufacturers have been experimenting with high-performance hybrids like Porsche with its 918 Spyder and Ferrari with LaFerrari, but those million-dollar hypercars are in a different league of performance and efficiency.
However, how will wind up the new NSX's aggression significantly with the top-shelf Type-R version, which will be more powerful, lighter, quicker and faster.
In comparison to the standard NSX, which is rumoured to tip the scales somewhere between 1600 and 1700 kg, a source close to Honda tells us that the Type-R will receive a strong diet of carbon-fibre body panels and aero parts to replace some of the NSX’s aluminium and high-tensile steel panels.
The strict weight-loss program should drop the kerb weight of the NSX Type-R – an artist's rendering of which is pictured here, courtesy of Japan's Best Car magazine – to around 1550kg.
But we understand Honda also plans to tweak the V6 petrol-electric powertrain to deliver upwards of 447kW (599HP) at 7200rpm, which in concert with the nine-speed DCT should lower its 0-100km/h acceleration time to around three seconds.
Expect Honda's flagship Type-R to also come with a stiffer, track-focussed suspension set-up, unique design elements inside and out, and enough bang for your bucks to raise the eyebrows of the world's hypercar makers once again.