Acura (or, in the rest of the world, Honda) has just released its new NSX; the modern version of the world’s first ‘reliable’ supercar. We wondered how the original NSX stacks up to its younger brother.
The first NSX has attained mythical status in the motoring world, with examples very rarely coming up for sale. Ayrton Senna, then driving for the McLaren Honda Formula 1 team, had a hand in the development of the chassis, which only added to its appeal.
When it first went on sale in 1990, the NSX was the first mass-produced car to have an all-aluminum body. The car was powered by a 3-liter V6 using Acura’s celebrated VTEC (Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control) system.
Initially available as a coupe only, the car was then offered with a targa top from 1995. An engine upgrade in 1997 saw the displacement increase slightly to 3.2 liters, with the gearbox changing to a six-speeder.
An automatic version was available until 1994, but only for those who had taken leave of their senses… It was replaced by the F-Matic gearbox, but this wasn’t much to write home about.
The NSX was a technical extravaganza, with innovations like titanium conrods and platinum sparkplugs – many of these innovations were inspired by contemporary Formula 1 technology.
The interior was well executed, with everything within easy reach of the driver. Granted, it’s not the most exciting place to be, but then that’s not really the point of a car like this.
This Ferrari and Porsche slayer is also quite cheap to run. For example, in the UK NSX specialist Plans Performance can do an annual 6,000-mile service for around $315 (£240).
Acura gave its supercar a facelift in 2002, with the pop-up lights giving way to conventional recessed lights, and production ended in 2005.
We have been waiting for the new NSX for a considerable length of time. I can forgive Acura taking their time over it — this is a staggering vehicle.
2016 heralds the arrival of a brand-new NSX, a car Acura hopes will tempt us away from McLarens, Porsches, and Ferraris.
Acura are certainly pitching it up there with the established supercar — check this out from their website: “The engine is a turbocharged, 3.5-litre V6. It’s built by the hands of one of six master builders, stage by stage, over five days. It’s this human touch that brings the NSX to life.”
But Acura are right to bill this as a big deal. These are just some of the car’s highlights: all-wheel drive, four different driving modes, a hybrid powertrain with three electric motors (one between the engine and gearbox, and two on the front axle) contributing to an overall power output of 573hp, a 9-speed dual-clutch auto transmission, and regenerative 4-wheel disc brakes.
There is torque vectoring courtesy of the two electric motors mounted on the car’s front axle – each motor drives a front wheel and can apply varying levels of torque. Quite the technological powerhouse…
Make no mistake, this lantern-jawed NSX is gunning for the competition. Just like its older sibling, it is a car you can use every day without fear of it breaking down in an ‘oh dear God, this is going to bankrupt me’ plume of smoke, but the designers of the new NSX focused more on the driving experience than on everyday usability.
More akin to a Nissan GTR than, say, a Ferrari 458, the NSX is a hefty (3,800lb), 4-wheel drive, high-tech machine, although reports suggest that it’s surprisingly simple to drive. Top Gear’s Chris Harris sums things up rather nicely in the video below.
With an asking price of $156,000, it’s not exactly affordable, but it stacks up well against its competition and makes a great case for itself.
So if you think the Porsche 911 is too obvious a choice, the Audi R8 is soulless, or the Nissan GTR is too gimmicky, then this may well be the car for you. Whether it could tempt you away from a McLaren 570S/12C or a used Ferrari 458 may be another matter… And, if you like tech, how about a BMW i8? Ah, the agony of choice…
The new NSX joins the supercar paddock. The competition is still sizing it up, but we reckon the NSX is a match for all of them.
Whether it will be remembered as fondly as the original remains to be seen, but it’s great to see Acura back on form.