Don’t go looking for one of these super sports cars in Hong Kong or North America, where the moniker of choice was the Acura NSX. But everywhere else an enquiry for a Honda NSX will be met by the sharp intake of breath that acknowledges that something rather special has been mentioned.
This mid-engined, rear-wheel drive coupe had supercar looks and performance to match, propelled by Honda’s aluminium V6 engine — initially a 3 litre and subsequently a 3.2 version (from 1997). Anyone looking at the low, wide NSX would assume that it was styled in Italy . . . and would be right. The ubiquitous Pininfarina studio designed the HP-X prototype that became the NSX.
The NSX reflected Honda’s all-conquering presence on the world’s Grand Prix circuits. This beautifully styled, low-slung performance car was the first all-aluminium production car and was renowned for excellent manners, with great ride quality, precise handling, rugged reliability and meticulous build quality… not to mention an A+ in the street cred stakes. Honda had produced an everyday supercar that could justifiably claim to be the equal of the rival Ferrari 348 — no mean feat.
But while Ferrari moved on to the 355, 360 and 430 models, Honda merely produced evolutionary versions of the NSX — beyond the point where it was a technological marvel of the 1990s and became a reminder of past glories in the 21st century. That’s not to say that versions like the NSX-R track racer, NSX-T targa top, NSX-S performance special or NSX-R GT were in any way inferior — far from it, especially as the NSX received a major facelift in 1997 and further tweaking in 2002. But by the time it was discontinued in 2005 only a few hundred NSXs were being sold annually. Its time was up.
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
1990 (until 2005)
2,977 cc or 3,179 cc DOHC V6
With 3.2 I engine — top speed of 170 mph (274 km/h); 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 5.7 secs
YOU SHOULD KNOW:
The Honda NSX’s passenger compartment was finalized after studying the American F-16 jet fighter’s cockpit. Pre-production models were extensively tested by Formula 1 drivers Ayrton Senna and Satoru Nakajima and subsequently modified to reflect their recommendations.