Honda NSX – What’s Really Interesting About It

Autocar have had a chance to review the new Honda NSX. This is a long awaited car. The most exciting thing about it has been oddly overlooked.

2015 Honda NSX:
2015 Honda NSX:

That’s the suspension. Yes, the engine arrangement is novel enough for a supercar. It has a 3.5 litre engine and three supplementary electric motors and this yields a less than stellar 17-20 MPG, very nearly down to Jensen levels of dipsomania. Autocar quickly mentions that the suspension is magnetorheological. Apparently this is not worth dwelling on although the suspension is a key element of the car’s character. I agree the system (dampers) has been deployed on a rake of GM cars (Buick Lucerne, lots of Cadillacs) the Audi TT and Acura. I would have thought Autocar might have addressed the handling character derived from this a little more.

I am surprised that magnetorheological dampers are that widely used. If GM can manage it, then why not Citroen?  Don’t answer that. It’s a rhetorical question.

Autocar provided these details:

Location California, US; On sale Spring 2016; Price £120,000 (est); Engine V6, 3493cc, twin-turbo, petrol, plus 3 electric motors; Power 500bhp at 7500rpm (petrol); Torque 406lb ft at 2000rpm (petrol); Combined system output 573bhp; 0-60mph 2.9sec; Top speed191mph; Kerb weight 1725kg; Gearbox 9-spd dual-clutch automatic; Economy 17-20mpg (est); CO2/tax band na

Author: richard herriott

I like anchovies. I dislike post-war town planning.

8 thoughts on “Honda NSX – What’s Really Interesting About It”

  1. The two tests of this car I have read thus far have been light on actual driving impressions. It makes one wonder the nature of the opportunity the journalists had to drive the car.

    Somehow, the launch of this new NSX has failed to excite or capture my imagination. And yet the engineering is very interesting, if not – apparently – that effective at balancing economy and performance. The original car had quite a distinctive look, but this is very derivative and could be an R8 or McLaren – maybe that was the aim?

  2. Linda Jackson Writes : Rhetoric? Ha, no time for that Richie – Far too DULLLSVILLE!!! So why don’t we use magnetorheological dampers at Citroen? Simples! The punters can’t pronounce the word.

  3. Once again the magazines have been highly disingenuous with their coverage. Their “reviews” have clearly been garnered from a Honda choreographed single day event using prototype vehicles. As such their coverage should have been billed as a First Look or Preview.

    That aside, Car and Driver’s “First Drive Review” goes into much greater depth than others. Whilst they make no mention of the active suspension, they do pay great attention to the effect of the various driving modes and tyre choices. Their most salient point:

    “Rather than offer a series of escalating modes that increase the driver’s freedom, as, say, on the Corvette Z06, the NSX staircase is designed for outcomes—or to make the car go ever faster.”

    An interesting distinction and one that points to the seasoned thoughtfulness of their critiques.

    1. A very well written review from C&D. I see why Honda don’t want the NSX to be just another Ferrari, but trying to convince that a quiet supercar is ‘cool’ is a bit naive. As a London dweller, I get no pleasure from hearing a 488 or similar being flogged in first gear in traffic. The car is not in its correct environment, so neither is the sound. However, owners seem to disagree. On the other hand, this new Honda doesn’t seem to have the oxymoronic image of ‘the practical supercar’ that the original NSX had. Unlike the Senna improved original, I guess that, for a whole variety of reasons, Honda wouldn’t have been soliciting Alonso or Button to tune the handling of this car.

  4. McLaren and Honda are now partners in F1, yet rivals on the road. The new NSX has had such a long gestation that it is actually going on sale a little after the new 570S – also recently reviewed, and to unanimous praise as far as I can tell. To my mind, the new McLaren is a much more appealing car – much lighter, faster, prettier, with a more exotic name and provenance.

    Recently, CAR magazine scooped a potential joint project between McLaren and BMW, where McLaren would build a rebodied, re-engined supercar for the German company. Have Honda missed a trick here? Could they have developed a power train for McLaren and twinned development of the new NSX with them?

    1. Though,where things are at present, I imagine McLaren are more comfortable with Ricardo taking care of their road engines.

  5. The Motor Trend review of the new NSX is quite savage. Easily retrievable via Google if you wish to be disappointed further by such things as poor tyres fitted as standard, terminal understeer if you don’t place it in track mode and so on. Readers then speculate on who will actually fork over the cash to have one, because in pussyfoot mode it is entirely unspecial, when the typical buyer with excess cash expects a bit o’ flash for the huge outlay. You get 1750 kgs of road-crushing weight and a dashboard less attractive than the new Civic. A hit out of the park I’m sure, as the Americans drily observe.

    Magnetorheological dampers are hardly active suspension in the traditional sense – surely McLaren’s hydraulics meet that criterion. But MHD dampers certainly are an improvement on the afterthoughts regular cars come equipped with.

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