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New Honda NSX teaser pictures emerge, set for Detroit auto show
Everything we currently know about the new 2015 Honda NSX, including its price, release date, specs and a motor show video
Honda has confirmed that the production version of its new NSX (badged Acura NSX in the United States), will make its debut at the 2015 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
The long-awaited successor to the original Honda NSX sports car will appear at the show on January 12, with production and sales due to start during 2015. Its gestation has been long and tortuous, with frequent redesigns and cancellations, but the car's production debut seems to indicate the project is now on the home stretch.
Acura's teaser images show the profile of a car that has changed little from the concepts shown at previous motor shows, so the production car's angular styling and compact proportions will remain.
What is it?
Honda has finally decided to replace its much-missed NSX sports car, though environmental demands and performance expectations have resulted in a specification sheet conforming to a much more modern template - all-wheel drive and a hybrid powertrain replace the old car's naturally-aspirated V6.
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.
The original Honda NSX made its debut back in 1990. Contemporary reports were lukewarm on the Honda's styling and its relatively understated interior design, but immediately praised its sonorous 270bhp, 3-litre V6 and a chassis that shocked the supercar industry out of its 1980s complacency.
So well engineered was the NSX that Gordon Murray cites it as a major inspiration for the McLaren F1, and the Honda's all-aluminium construction later became an industry standard for high-performance sports cars and supercars, before carbonfibre began to pervade.
Capacity was later upped to 3.2 litres and power grew to 290bhp, while a 2002 refresh saw the car gain faired-in headlights, revised suspension and larger alloy wheels. Production eventually ceased in 2005, with fewer than 19,000 sold worldwide since 1990.
Rumours of a front-engined, V10 NSX emerged in 2007, a project later canned amid the economic downturn towards the end of the decade. The rumour mill once again whirred into life in 2011, previewing the car that we now know to be the next-generation NSX.
A V6, mid-engined layout remains, but this time as part of a hybrid drivetrain. 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. A combined power output of over 400bhp is anticipated, and could be as high as 500bhp - significantly greater than that of its closest modern equivalent, the BMW i8. In reality, Honda is said to be targeting the Ferrari 458 Italia in terms of performance.
Design and engineering
2015's NSX will be very different from its predecessor, but maintains central Honda tenets of efficiency and high-quality engineering.
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.
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.
Honda opened the order books for the NSX in the UK in early 2014, 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.
Amazingly, pre-orders have already been filled, despite no customer having yet seen the finished article, let alone driven it.
Considering the concept car has been doing the rounds for what seems like an eternity, there’s still a fair amount we don’t know about the new NSX. What we do know, however – three electric motors, a twin-turbo V6 engine and a target weight of 1400kg – might just make this one of the most exciting cars of the next few years.
It may be taking a slightly different approach, but considering how spectacular the original was, we wouldn’t put it past Honda to knock this one out of the park.