Honda NSX review.
For – supercar perfection, even for golfers.
Against – bigger names tempting.
Competition – Ferrari 488GTB, McLaren 650S, Lamborghini Aventador, Aston Martin DB11, Noble M600, Porsche 911 Turbo, Audi R8, Mercedes ANG c63, Jaguar F-type R, BMWi8
The lottery has finally paid off and you have upwards of £180,000 to spend on a lightning fast supercar that will thrill you and also show the world you are a person of substance.
You could go for a Ferrari, a Lamborghini, a McLaren, an Aston Martin or a Porsche maybe. There are top of the range Mercedes, BMWs and Audis. But an NSX, even if you said the word “Honda” quickly and silently?
That’s the mountain the NSX has to climb before persuading potential buyers to give it a home. To do this it has to be at least as beautiful as the competition, ridiculously fast, and also show the traditional competition a thing or two about technology which puts it at the head of the pack. A bonus would be that it is so revered by buyers in this heady world that perhaps in a few years time it will become an investment and actually gain in value.
To be fair to Honda it is no stranger to this game. Its original NSX, which made its debut in 1989, shook up the supercar world with its dramatic styling, performance and innovative engineering. The latest iteration builds on this reputation. It has fabulously beautiful styling (in my opinion), and a power-plant that puts it at the forefront of engineering and which includes the buzzword “electric”.
The NSX’s six-cylinder 3.5 litre gasoline engine produces 500 hp, but add three electric motors and it can boast 580 hp. The 0-60 sprint comes up in a 3.3 second blur, and the standing quarter mile in 11.4 seconds. The gasoline engine is located in the middle, just behind the driver’s head. There’s an electric motor attached to the engine. Then there are electric motors driving the two front wheels which also mean four-wheel drive.
So this is a petrol-electric hybrid. The electric power helps the traditional engine to provide more umph while at the upper edges of performance, but also limits fuel consumption in everyday use. In Europe, Honda claims the NSX will get the equivalent of 28.2 mpg. I managed 29.0 mpg (9.8 l/km).
Honda and Acura of course spare no hyperbole in their publicity claims.
“It is the most intuitive and advanced sports hybrid power unit in the supercar segment. The innovative new multi-material body with world-first material applications and construction processes allows light weight with increased strength. The NSX has astonishing dynamic performance,” Honda said.
I spent a few days driving the NSX and the electric mode gives you quiet starting and silent takeoffs if you’re ambling along. You can opt for a more ear-shattering reaction when you press the start button to remind the neighbours of your good fortune. After pressing the starter there’s a button between you and the passenger to engage drive. You can select various modes, including “track” or Launch Mode Control.
As you quietly drive along country roads you can hear the technology murmuring behind you as the nine-speed gearbox does its business. The ride is harsh, but that’s no surprise. The cockpit-like cabin wraps around you. It’s a civilised cinch to drive down to the shops. The interior trim doesn’t look as though it is from a £180,000 machine though. You won’t get a golf bag in the small trunk, but the clubs themselves will fit in. No cup holders? There’s a plastic tray in the glove compartment.
But if you can find an empty road and floor the accelerator its personality changes and the murmur becomes a startling, high pitched roar as the car leaps forward. (My passenger, my wife Kathy, thought this revealed the presence of a motor cyclist too close behind us) As illegal speeds appear very quickly, you will be searching for a track to find out how fast it really is. The handling is amazingly precise and the stick like glue road-holding more go-cart than car.
What to buy?
The NSX certainly fulfils all the criteria you would require for best supercar, and the hybrid angle surely gives it a lead in technology. As you do the rounds of Ferrari, Lamborghini etc, with 180,000 smackers burning a hole in your back pocket, you would have to a strong personality to resist their traditional charms. But if you’ve got unlimited resources, why not buy one of each?
|Engine:||3.5 litre V6 petrol|
|Power:||500hp @ 6,500-7,500 rpm|
|Torque:||550 Nm @ 2,000-6,000|
|Electric motor 1:||47 hp @ 3,000|
|Electric motor 2:||twin motors on front wheels 37 hp @ 4,000|
|Total power:||573 hp|
|Total torque:||646 Nm|
|Acceleration:||0-60 mph 3.3 seconds
quarter mile 11.4 seconds.
|Top Speed:||191 mph-308 km/h|
|Fuel Consumption:||claimed combined 28.2 mpg-10.0 l/km
WintonsWorld road test- 29.0/9.7
|Boot capacity:||110 litres|
|Competition:||Ferrari 488GTB, McLaren 650S, Lamborghini Aventador, Aston Martin DB11, Noble M600, Porsche 911 Turbo, Audi R8, Mercedes ANG c63, Jaguar F-type R, BMWi8|
|For:||supercar perfection, even for golfers|
|Against:||bigger names tempting|