Nissan and Lexus have entered the high-dollar, high performance "supercar" game, so it was only a matter of time before Acura revived its NSX program, arguably the first Japanese "supercar" to hit American shores. Brenda Priddy's network of spy photographers caught this prototype, which Priddy says is the new NSX, expected to debut sometime next year.

Unlike the previous mid-engine NSX, this prototype runs a front-mid engine, the powerplant placed well behind the front wheels to ensure excellent weight distribution, Priddy notes. This should also allow the new NSX to offer 2+2 cabin accommodation and broaden its appeal, particularly in the Unites States. Exactly what powerplant will motivate the NSX is subject to much rumor and conjecture. There has been talk, Priddy says, of a high-revving, naturally-aspirated V10, which would fit nicely with Acura's Type R philosophy.

Acura has never obsessed over big horsepower outputs, but 450 hp seems likely if the NSX is to compete in the super-segment. Acura's Super Handling All-Wheel Drive system also seems a logical drivetrain choice. Whether buyers will perceive the new NSX equal to its Japan rivals or the European vanguard remains to be seen. Nissan's GT-R has demonstrated that it can hold its own with those elite performance machines and enter the market as a serious contender. Look for the Lexus LF-A and, perhaps, the NSX to follow suit.