As a boy, I always had fond feelings for the Honda NSX. There was something about that car which I loved. Maybe, it was the fact that it was a technological powerhouse of the time or it could have been that, it was a ‘relatively cheap’ supercar which could give cars twice or even thrice its amount a run for their money (namely: Porsche, Ferrari and Aston Martin), or could it be its sleek and futuristic design. Regardless of what I think, the NSX went on to become one of the most iconic supercars of all time. And now, 25 years later, Honda (or Acura for US market) has come out with the long awaited, hotly anticipated second-generation of its supercar also affectionately called “Honda’s Ferrari” by some enthusiasts (me included).
The NSX was the first supercar to sport an all-aluminium body. It changed the way about how people viewed supercars. This was a very fast car which could decimate the tracks on any given weekend and trundle around comfortably in city traffic on weekdays. It was not like the other expensive fast cars whose owners would keep them in sealed chambers and remove them only once every month or so. It defied convention and much like two decades ago, the new-gen carries the same attribute forward today.
The new NSX is built on a space frame design using materials like aluminium and ultra-high-strength steel with the floor made out of rigid carbon fibre. Being synonymous with innovation, the second-generation NSX features a world-first technology that combines the benefits of casting process with that of a forged material, making it significantly lighter than other cars, claims Acura. The body panels are a combination of aluminium and Sheet Moulding Composite (SMC). Overall design has been retained from the NSX Concept showcased in 2012. This means that the NSX looks sleek, sporty and aggressive. The front end gets the slim wrap around headlights, chunky chrome-strip grille, giant air intakes and hood vents. The side profile has fender vents, floating C-pillar and five-spoke aluminium alloy wheels. Rear gets the deck spoiler, air extractors and a six fin carbon fibre diffuser split evenly in between by a trapezoidal single exhaust housing four tailpipes. And though Acura will keep telling you that the tail lights are a homage to the original, to me, they look more like the ones you see on an Aston Martin DB9.
The cabin is comfortable and well appointed for a supercar. Honda likes to call it ‘Human Support Cockpit’ meaning in straight terms: better ergonomics; great visibility and simple, easy-to-reach controls. A TFT display gives out all the relevant information to the driver and even changes the graphics depending upon the selected dynamic system. The dashboard has aluminium inserts and an exquisite looking satin finish at the top portion.
This NSX does not have one but four hearts and by that I mean the engine. One petrol and three electric. That’s right. Not one, not two but three electric motors. The mid-mounted gasoline engine will only power the rear wheels while two electric motors will sit on the front axle powering the front wheels individually. The third electric motor sits at the rear between the engine and gearbox, its duty is to support acceleration, braking and transmission shifting performance. Figures of interest have not been revealed yet but the 75-degree, twin-turbo V6 alongwith the electric motors is expected to generate power in excess of 550 bhp. ContiSportContact™ high performance tires will have to endure all the torture coming through the 9-speed dual clutch transmission, which Acura says offers ‘synapse-quick gear changes and rev-matching downshifts’. Braking force is expected to be strong and powerful with carbon-ceramic discs being bitten at the front by 6-piston and at the rear by 4-piston calipers.
Acura also claims that the new NSX has ‘zero delay’ launch performance and enhanced acceleration and braking characteristic owing to dynamic torque vectoring from the front electric motors. An “Advanced Sport Package” keeps the vehicle’s mass concentrated low and towards the center of the vehicle with all the power-train units like mid-mounted engine, twin front motors and Sport Hybrid battery pack and power control unit positioned with that aspect kept in mind. The company says that this results in better dynamic response and lowest center of gravity in its class. Sportiness is furthered through the use of fully independent all-aluminium front and rear suspension working in conjunction with systems like Super-Handling All Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) and Agile Handling Assist (AHA), all of which enhance yaw response and dynamic stability. The new NSX’s integrated dynamic system has four modes, namely: Quiet, Sport, Sport+ and Track. In Quiet mode, the car can be driven in all-electric mode for a short duration. The fun behind the steering wheel only increases as you move up in to the different modes. Acura says that the NSX will reveal the ‘full spectrum of its performance capabilities’ in “Track” mode.
The NSX will be manufactured exclusively at the Performance Manufacturing Center (PMC) in Marysville, Ohio. Acura will start taking orders for the supercar this summer with deliveries expected to commence by end of the year. The Acura NSX will be sold as the Honda NSX outside US and global deliveries will begin shortly after its American debut. Pricing will be revealed ahead of the launch and is expected to touch 150,000 dollars (93 lakh rupees).