NSX The Legend: Part 2
"The technology in it makes you feel a very good driver"
So to the ‘new’ Honda NSX, and new it is in every sense.
With it Honda studied history first and wanted to guarantee a contemporary New Sporting Experience (that’s what NSX stands for). So the new car needed to be comfortable (it is), have good all round vision (it does), be easy to drive (it is), and deliver the said experience – it does that too. It also needed to be fully usable as an all-purpose day-to-day car; it is that too, other than the relatively tiny boot compared to the humongous rear end luggage holder of the old car.
It also looks drop dead gorgeous.
On a technical level the new NSX is amazing. With an electric engine powering the front wheels and a 3.0 litre twin turbo charged at the rear, one of the biggest challenges for this consequently four-wheel drive GT car was to get sufficient air running through the body to achieve adequate cooling as well as maximise aerodynamic efficiency. The variety of vents you can see running from the front spoiler, wings and bonnet were designed to direct air intake from the front of the car, channelling it to assist engine cooling at the rear.
Bodywork is multi-material combining lightness with efficiency and most importantly achieving class leading structural rigidity – some 300% higher than competitors.
A new dimension
On the power/performance side we are talking of the 0-62 mph sprint in under three seconds and a top speed of 191 mph. A combination of three electric motors and the combustion rear engine achieve some 573 bhp. That’s all delivered through a nine speed gearbox, although Honda like to think of it as seven intermediate gears with an additional first gear for achieving instant acceleration (from rest), and an ultimate ninth gear for refined long distance cruising.
Add to that four different driving modes; Quiet (prioritising electric driving only at low speed), Sport (for a sharper throttle and more direct response), Sport Plus (prioritising maximum drive train response) and Track mode (fully tuned for circuit driving).
With its dash layout functional and user friendly, cleverly masking the advanced technology, the new NSX passively adapts to any change in driving style or road conditions, and is just as friendly and obedient to the novice driver as it is to the highly skilled. Even more so than its predecessor, ‘new’ NSX is absolutely driver focused.
In an age of feeling-less electronic steering systems this one is beautifully weighted providing just the right amount of surface feedback allowing the driver to feel ‘at one’ with the car. It is of course quiet and unfussed in Quiet mode with nothing other than an acceptable level of road noise to contend with. The default driving mode is Sport which, believe me, proved adequate enough for pretty swift A, B and motorway driving, yet we oscillated between Sport Plus and Track most of the time, but only because we craved (rather than needed) more – and the NSX delivered.
The new car ticks all the basic boxes, and the technology in it makes you feel a very good driver; you may well be, but if you’re not the NSX’s capabilities will compensate for your shortfalls, and thankfully without taking away the enjoyment of the driving experience.
Gone of course is the need to change gear unless you flick the steering paddle shift, we have to reluctantly accept that this kind of transmission is the future. On the plus side it forces you to concentrate on the road ahead with both hands on the wheel – something you’ll need to do…because this car can go.
With this new second generation Honda NSX you have a combination of comfort, speed, panoramic vision, ease of use, style, presence, and reasonable economy. It’s just one helluva car. Ten years ago this is exactly how I would have described the first generation car; the new one is the same – just ten giant steps forward in technology. If environmentally friendly supercars are to be like this, we car buffs have no need to worry.
Related Articles: NSX: The Legend: Part 1