A Careful Analysis of Honda NSX

DESIGN AND ENGINEERING

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Don’t go searching for active aero; a fixed carbonfibre rear spoiler provides negative lift at the rear and contrasts nicely with white bodywork

Honda maintains that the NSX is a globally developed car – using teams in Japan and the US – but it’s no secret that the primary market for it is North America, where it’ll be badged as an Acura and has to act as a halo model for that marque.

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Good job the car is distinctive, because there’s not a great deal of NSX badging – just discreet, on the rear quaterlight windows and the brake calipers

As a result, its appearance is intended to suit the US, so the NSX wears shiny black plastic and some chrome with no apology. It’s also low and wide, with a 1940mm-wide body (wider than a 570S), and an overall width of 2217mm, which is wider than most things on the road.

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The NSX’s body panels are painted by robots. Curiously, though, black plastic parts, such as this grille surround, are painted by human hand

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Beneath its shapely body, which is part aluminium and part plastic, lies a mixed-material spaceframe. In its make-up, it’s not unlike the aluminium spaceframe that lies beneath an Audi R8, but there are a few different materials used here and there: steel for the A-pillars, for example, so they can be narrower, and a carbonfibre floor.

Hung from both ends are aluminium subframes that hold the suspension and powertrain, which itself is rather more complicated than the first NSX of all those years ago. There are magnetorheological dampers on the double wishbone suspension, while the power goes to all four wheels, of a fashion. Behind the cabin is a low-slung 3-5-litre V6 petrol engine, with turbochargers sitting outside the vee in order to keep the centre of gravity lower. The engine revs to 7500rpm and produces peaks of500bhp and 406lb ft.

Fixed to the V6 is a 47bhp electric motor, and behind that a nine-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox, all of which drive the rear wheels.

At the front, meanwhile, sit two 36bhp electric motors, one driving each front wheel and giving the NSX a vast array of torque-vectoring properties (and also meaning that, along with a few of the NSX’s 10 radiators, there’s no luggage space under the bonnet).

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Bonnet vents are among the myriad openings that are essential for cooling the 10 radiators necessitated by having an engine and three electric motors

The NSX is a hybrid, then, but you can’t plug it in, and don’t expect to go very far on electric power alone; the motors are there to boost performance and offer a marginal fuel economy increase. An eco supercar this isn’t. Carbon-ceramic brakes are available as an option and were fitted to our test car.

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Exhaust note is provided by four tailpipes (two per cylinder bank), while lift will be reduced to a small degree by the diffuser

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