Ayrton Senna was a Honda engineers dream. ‘His brain could simulate all the operations on the track, such as rpm, gear position, braking point and steering, with an error of less than a hundredth of a second’ said Yoshitoshi Sakurai, head of Honda F1 in the 80’s. He bought this forward to the Honda NSX which is one of the most influential supercars of the past 25 years. It made fast cars more accessible which unsettled the likes of Ferrari, Porsche and the rest.
Supercars back then where renowned to be mechanically temperamental, awkward to operate and required Senna-like skills to master – and if it was unreliable, then that’s a whole load of voodoo mystery for anyone. Supercars where meant to be manhandled and the more difficult the challenge, the greater the perceived reward.
The NSX re-wrote the supercar book, it mixed Ferrari pace with prelude ease. It was seamlessly reliable; it had light easy steering, and a smooth clutch pedal that did not require Alberto Contador’s quads to engage. Another praise was the cars directness into corners; it had uddles of grip thanks to its aluminium body and suspensions. Ayrton Senna tested the old NSX and his feedback changed the whole feel of the NSX. Many people forget that Senna won his three world championships with a Honda powered engine. Young readers may be surprised that Honda a manufacturer known for low temporary car insurance quotes is mentioned in the same breath as Ferrari and McLaren. Recently, they have been seen as rivals to Toyota, not Maranello.
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Having looked down memory lane, Honda is finally back to its glory days with a new F1 season with McLaren in 2015, the new Civic Type R, new affordable sports cars are promised and the impressive new NSX is on its way.
Talking about the new NSX it will have a spaceframe chassis said Ted Klaus chief engineer. The car will be made from carbonfibre, aluminium and ultra-light steel to keep the car balanced and agile like a cheetah.
The NSX will have a hybrid V6 powertrain to stay true to its innovative ambitions and these electric engines will sharpen throttle response and produce instant torque while the furious direct injection VTEC V6 boosted by the twin turbochargers gives gutsy top end performance. As it has a hybrid engine fuel economy will be considerably better than its other supercar rivals.
The suspected 3.5 litre VTEC V6 will work in unison with the electric engine with a twin clutch transmission which is bound to be seven speeds. The main purpose of the electric engine is to compensate for any turbo lag created by the two big turbocharges, so that you don’t look like a foul at the lights when your car bogs down and you get overtaken by a Nissan Micra. However, if you feel like following Honda’s ‘Earth Dreams’ motto you can drive the NSX on electric only where you get a torque split, good luck explaining this to the car insurance company.
So we know what the new NSX will be made of, we already know how great the old one was, so will the new one offer the same driving experiences? Ted Klaus explains that the more you engage with the car, the more the car electronics disappear, it’s almost just you and the intentions you have for the road ahead, just like the old NSX. The car will be vividly responsive and rewarding to any human input, the sensations can be felt through your ass cheeks your fingertips all resulting in a total driver focussed car.
The old NSX was a simple numbers car; the new one will be much the same, expected to be around 550bhp and 0-60 around the 3 seconds mark. The old NSX was slightly lighter than the new NSX this is largely due to the hybrid batteries in the new NSX but thanks to lightweight bodywork you wouldn’t even notice the difference.
Main rivals are expected to be the Audi R8, Porsche 911, Ferrari 458’s and Nissan GTR’s with a price around £90,000 in the UK, far undercutting the rivals mentioned above. Honda says that a convertible is also in the pipeline.
Finally, Honda is getting car enthusiasts excited again and the new NSX will be every inch more exciting than its predecessor.
By Hiten Solanki