By on March 9, 2017

Honda zsx-1-copy

Spy photos of a mid-engined roadster that couldn’t possibly be a production vehicle just rolled in from California, providing a tantalizing hint that Honda’s trademarked ZSX name might find its way onto a new addition to the company’s stable.

What appears to be a design study or full-on concept vehicle could herald a production vehicle, possibly the rumored “baby NSX.” Whatever the vehicle portents, it certainly looks ready for spotlights and a revolving pedestal. The wheels and mock license plate scream to any bystander (or shutterbug) that this is indeed a Honda-built vehicle.

zsx-2-copy

Speculation has run wild that Honda might field a smaller version of the Acura NSX ever since that reborn model’s 2015 unveiling. Shortly after its Detroit debut, the ZSX moniker appeared in a Honda patent filing.

When asked whether there was room for another performance car in the lineup, American Honda CEO John Mendel replied, “Absolutely there is.” Unfortunately, Mendel wouldn’t enlarge on that statement. Still, he made it clear that a more attainable two-seater, possibly with a mid-engine layout, isn’t something Honda would immediately deep-six in favor of more SUVs and crossovers.

zsx-5-copy

The death of Honda’s S2000 roadster left the automaker with a void to fill. While this mystery vehicle gives more than a few nods to the NSX supercar, what with its seemingly McLaren-inspired exhaust treatment, a production vehicle could go in any number of design directions.

Should the ZSX make its way to production, Honda has a choice of powertrains. The obvious go-to would be the 306-horsepower turbo 2.0-liter four-cylinder found in the upcoming Civic Type R, unveiled this week in Geneva. That engine could be mated to a electric motor for added grunt. Early speculation stated that Honda might use the turbocharged 1.5-liter found in the Civic Si as the centerpiece of a performance hybrid system.

Time will tell whether Honda squeezes the trigger on the ZSX, or whether the concept we see here will appear in New York next month.

zsx6-copy

[Images: SpiedBilde]

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