It’s no secret that Honda would like to have a halo car in its lineup, similar to what the brand used to offer with the Acura NSX sport coupe. In fact, Honda had even begun developing such a car until global economic woes forced it to shelve the HSV-010, except in Japanese Super GT competition.

Times have changed, and Honda wants to be seen as a green automaker these days. Building a modern NSX doesn’t necessarily make sense for them, unless it’s a more environmentally-friendly, performance-oriented hybrid. Rumors of such a hybrid NSX have been stirred up in recent months, thanks to comments from Honda's CEO, Takanobu Ito.

If Britain’s Autocar is correct, we’ll see the forerunner of what may become the next Honda / Acura NSX at January’s Detroit Auto Show. Dubbed the Super Sports Concept, the car follows the Small Sports EV Concept that will be shown at the Tokyo Motor Show.

There are no details on engines or layout of the Super Sports Concept, but a hybrid drivetrain that combines both electric motors and a gasoline engine (like the AWD setup of the Porsche 911 GT3 R Hybrid) would allow maximum performance with reduced fuel consumption.  It would also give Honda a chance to demonstrate that it can still innovate when it comes to both performance and fuel economy.

While the Small Sports EV is expected to reach showrooms (in Japan, at least) by 2013, we’re still awaiting official word from Honda about an NSX successor. If it breaks cover at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show, we’ll be sure to cover it.

You can follow all of our 2012 Detroit Auto Show coverage here.