We’ve been teased for months, but now the all-new second-generation Acura (Honda) NSX is finally here. So, has it been worth the several years of waiting?
It’s taken a long time to get here. Having first been aired in 2007, the Acura ASCC (Advanced Sports Car Concept) was killed off in late 2008 as the global recession took hold. Before that we’d seen the HSC concept as far back as 2003, such has been the length of time Honda has deliberated on how to replace the NSX. It wasn’t until the Detroit Auto Show in 2012 that the NSX Concept, in the now familiar mid-engine format, finally surfaced. But, at last, we can now see it in full production glory.
Overall the car is little unchanged from the concept versions we’ve seen, save for some additional detailing to bring it into line with the rest of the Honda model range. It’s certainly not a bad-looking car, although some have derided it for appearing too generic, or like a Grand Theft Auto creation, rather than having its own unique personality. Others have also suggested the new NSX looks a few years old already; the long gestation period potentially being the cause of this. Compared to the new Ford GT it’s a lot less dramatic, although it does seem to share the floating buttresses and huge vents in front of the rear wheels, with the American car. Frankly, it looks like a modern Japanese supercar; whether that’s your bag is personal preference, but we at ESM like it.
Like it’s predecessor, the new NSX is built out of an aluminium space frame chassis, with a mid-mounted V6 engine. However, that’s about where the similarities end with its older brother end. The 75-degree 3.5 litre V6 engine features twin turbos, and powers the rear wheels through a nine-speed dual-clutch transmission. Nestling in between the engine and gearbox is an electric motor to support acceleration. At the front, each wheel is also driven by a separate electric motor, creating the ‘Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive’ (SH-AWD) system that uses torque vectoring to maximise handling and performance. Honda hasn’t released specific performance figures yet, but we expect the NSX to be a genuinely quick car.
All-aluminium front and rear suspension, 19″ front and 20″ rear wheels, and a carbon ceramic braking system are aimed at making the new NSX as agile as possible. Along with the SH-AWD system, there’s also Active Handling Assist which uses brake torque to enhance stability and cornering. The Integrated Dynamic System, responsible for controlling the engine, chassis and gearbox features ‘Sport’ and ‘Sport+’ modes, along with Track and Quiet options; the latter enabling electric-only propulsion. Those electric motors also come into play specifically, with a launch mode making use of their instant torque to perform a ‘zero delay’ getaway.
Honda has been keen to keep to the original NSX mantra of being the “supercar your grandmother could drive” by retaining a user-friendly interior. Sorry, it’s actually known as a ‘Human Support Cockpit’ not just the bit where you sit. Visibility is said to be excellent for a sportscar, with a thin A-pillar and low-set instruments aiding the driver’s view out. The centre console has been modelled on a the chassis of naked sports bike, whilst the driver gets a 6″ TFT display that changes based on the driving mode selected.
The biggest challenge for the new NSX will be establishing itself as a class competitor. Whilst the original car was praised by pundits, it never achieved commercial success, selling in low numbers. Some 25 years on, Honda will be hoping the world is now more receptive to a true Japanese supercar. As we’ve published before, the NSX will be built in Honda’s Ohio factory; a statement that the USA is clearly the target market for the car. Success there will be key to it’s future. We’ll bring you all the information on pricing and performance but, for now, let’s just be happy the new NSX is here at last.