Honda’s NSX gets hybrid power and 550bhp
Without doubt, this year is going to be a busy one for Honda, what with the Civic Type R, a face-lifted Jazz and a revised HR-V. But the model that is sure to grab all the headlines will be this – the NSX.
The NSX will come equipped with a twin-turbocharged V6 engine mounted amidships. But that isn’t all, because there are also three electric motors. One of the electric motors is located between the engine and the gearbox. This supports the acceleration, braking and transmission shifting performance. The other two, smaller electric motors are mounted on the NSX’s front axle. Each motor provides power to an individual wheel.
As a result, the petrol-electric hybrid powertrain drives all four wheels. Power is transferred by a 9-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox. There will be four switchable modes for the chassis: ‘Quiet’, ‘Sport’, ‘Sport+’ and ‘Track’.
Honda hasn’t yet officially released any performance or efficiency figures for the NSX. However, a company insider has suggested that the new-generation NSX will be capable of producing around 550bhp. As we reported on 17 December, Honda say that in performance terms, they will be looking for the NSX to compete with the Ferrari 458 Italia but with a significant price advantage, pitching it more towards the Audi R8. Assuming this still to be the case, this would suggest a price in the range of £93,735 to £126,835.
The car is both longer and wider than the original concept car. The body has been fashioned from aluminium composite and steel. In profile it cuts a striking design with a low roofline. Along its sides it has gaping side vents which help give it an aggressive look. At the rear, the LED lights sit above a race-inspired diffuser and four centrally-mounted exhaust ports. The body has been shaped by extensive wind tunnel testing at Honda’s development centre in Ohio. Every element of the exterior design has been sculpted for high-speed stability, meaning that elements such as the bonnet vents, side air intakes and boot spoiler have gone through several iterations.
Weight reduction and balance has been a major focus of the car’s design and has been optimised to concentrate the weight low and towards the middle of the car. As a result, Honda says the new-generation NSX has the lowest centre of gravity in its class.
Underpinning the NSX will be a fully independent all-aluminium front and rear suspension set-up. Attached to each end are a set of carbon ceramic brakes, hidden by 19-inch alloy wheels at the front and 20-inchers at the rear.
Inside, the driver and passenger are separated by a high centre console that boasts a large screen above heating and climate controls. The instrument cluster features an adaptable TFT display. The show car has been trimmed in bright red leather. The engine start button is nestled within the ‘Integrated Dynamics System’ dial control where the driver is able to select the four settings previously referred to. As such, it takes centre stage.
The US will be the first to open their order books with deliveries expected to start towards the end of this year. However, right-hand drive models destined for the UK market won’t be available until the end of the year.
In addition to the coupé version, Honda insiders have suggested that the NSX will be available with a variety of body styles, including a convertible version. In addition, there could be a higher powered version – although Honda itself haven’t confirmed this.
The most likely competitor to the NSX is the excellent and talented BMW i8. This has a combined power output of 357bhp. This suggests that BMW’s top brass in Munich could be feeling rather worried that its i8 could be threatened by Honda’s new upstart, especially if the company is able to deliver on its 550bhp output with a price-tag in-line with the R8. Things are about to get very interesting.
This article was prepared by our car news team First4Auto
Associate Member of the Guild of Motoring Writers