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Honda trademark fuels baby-NSX hype

Baby beast: These patented images are rumored to hint at what a new sub-NSX sportscar could look like.

ZSX name trademarked in Europe could foreshadow new Honda sportscar

12 Aug 2016

A PATENT filing from Honda’s European arm last month has got tongues wagging about a potential new Honda sportscar to sit below the soon-to-be-released NSX supercar, which would give fans a more affordable option than the bank-breaking $420,000 before on-road costs NSX.

Honda submitted the name ‘ZSX’ to the European Union Intellectual Property Office for patent, a name that has existed in the US before, but its previous patent expired in December 2012, freeing it up for new ownership.

According to an unnamed Japanese engineer who spoke to French publication Automoto, Honda is planning to debut the ZSX as a concept at the 2017 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, as a hybrid coupe like the NSX.

Rumour has it that the ZSX will be powered by the Civic Type R-sourced 2.0-litre turbocharged engine paired to two separate electric motors – a similar set-up to the mid-mounted twin-turbo V6/twin electric motor configuration of the NSX.

If the Type R engine isn’t chosen, the new Civic 1.5-litre turbo engine paired with the dual electric motors is another possible candidate.

As GoAuto reported in January, Honda has also registered a trademark for the name MSX in Australia for “motorcycles, vehicles, apparatus for locomotion by land, air or water and parts and fittings for the above-mentioned goods”, which could also fit the bill as a name for a sub-NSX model.

Honda does sell a motorbike named the MSX125 in some global markets, however Honda in Europe recently extended the MSX trademark from motorcycles to include motor vehicles, fanning the flames of speculation for an MSX-badged car.

Furthermore, last year British publication AutoExpress suggested that Honda was close to giving the green light for a spiritual successor to the Honda S2000 from 2018, which would fit the bill of a sub-NSX model.

Performance-focused models in Honda’s current line-up are conspicuously absent following the discontinuation of a number of models over past years.

The sporty CR-Z hybrid hatch was axed from Honda’s Aussie line-up at the start of last year due to lacklustre sales, while the hot Integra Type R coupe was discontinued in 2004 before the Integra model made its departure in 2007.

The S2000 convertible two-seater was dropped in 2009, leaving room for Honda to add a hair-raising sportscar to its relatively conservative lineup.

For now, all eyes are on the NSX, which after a 12 year absence, arrives Down Under with some fierce competition – its hefty pricetag puts it in the same stratosphere as the likes of the Lamorghini Huracan, Audi R8 and Porsche Carrera 911 Turbo.

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