Honda showed the NSX concept at the Frankfurt motor show towrds the end of last year, and although this is the same concept we've seen the last couple of years, Honda confirmed that it will be the last time this particular concept will be shown at a motor show in concept form. This means that we are likely to see a more production ready version of the NSX at one of next year's big motor shows ahead of the mid-2015 launch.
The latest incarnation of the road-going Honda NSX concept car also made its debut at the Mid-Ohio Raceway ahead of an Indycar race at the circuit. The latest concept previews the return of the NSX via a tech-heavy four-wheel-drive hybrid supercar, tackling the Nissan GT-R and Porsche 911 GT3, as well as the new BMW i8.
A power output of around 400bhp is anticipated from its mid-mounted V6 engine and hybrid electric motors. The engine, along with main electric motor will primarily drive the rear wheels, via a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox, with a couple of supplementary motors powering the front axle. Honda dubs the torque vectoring system SH-AWD, short for Super Handling All Wheel Drive.
We first got a peek inside the NSX at the 2013 Detroit motor show, and its mix of leather, carbon and what looks like Alcantara appears beautifully crafted. With shades of the Lexus LFA’s wondrous cabin, it looks simplistic, and the driver-focussed layout makes a Nissan GT-R look uncouthly cluttered.
Assuming the production model doesn’t grow significantly, the NSX will have a relatively small footprint, which will be smaller than the McLaren 12C and Ferrari 458 - and is a strict two-seater. Honda hasn’t yet released a weight figure, but it's thought that the focus on hybrid technology means it probably won’t be the delicate lightweight sportscar that the original was.
Global development of the car is being performed by Honda's Ohio R&D team, led by Ted Klaus, while the company has previously confirmed the new NSX will be built in a new Performance Manufacturing Centre in Ohio. The fact that the NSX primarily a US project means it is badged as an Acura, although the European and Japanese models will wear the Honda name.
Although the bulk of the development work is being done in the USA, the all-important design and engineering work on the engine and electric drivetrain is well underway in Honda's Japanese home. Due to the recent F1 engine deal between Honda and McLaren, there is also the possibility of input from the British manufacturer for a future Type-R model.
The new £46m (70m dollars) advanced production facility has been built in close proximity to Honda’s main Ohio plant, although much like the first NSX’s super high-tech Japanese factory (Takanezawa), is entirely self-contained. The company will pick 100 employees from current operations in Ohio to build the NSX.
Honda recently opened the order books for the NSX in the UK, ahead of a planned Summer 2015 launch, and although UK prices are still to be announced, they are expected to start at around £100,000 – securely in Audi R8 or Porsche 911 territory.
The company also recently released pictures and details of a new racing variant of the upcoming NSX, called the Concept-GT, which will compete in the GT500 class of the Japanese Super GT series. Like the production version, the racer features a petrol-electric hybrid drivetrain, although due to the regulations uses a smaller 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder powerplant.