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Why the Honda NSX-R is one of the most significant cars of the last 25 years

To mark our 25th anniversary we name some of the most significant driver's cars to be launched in the last 25 years. Jethro Bovingdon presents his case for the Honda NSX-R

Nominating the Honda NSX‑R was the most natural thing in the world. It speaks to me – and this magazine – on so many levels. It’s rare-groove and obsessively stripped-back, it uses lightweight materials in all the areas that count, and it’s intensely focused on pure driving enjoyment. Not performance numbers or lateral g, but purity of response, feedback and providing the driver with all the tools to exploit everything it has to give.

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The combination of this strict brief, brilliant engineering and a fundamentally superb platform on which to build creates a unique and unforgettable driving experience. There’s no slack at all in the blueprinted engine and gearbox. Imagine the freakish speed and connection of a GT3 flat-six and PDK ’box, but you’re actually hitting those perfect shifts… that’s the NSX‑R. 

> Porsche Cayman GT4 RS v Huracán STO v 458 Speciale v Honda NSX‑R

The steering is heavy and more deliberate than the super-pointy feel we’ve become used to, but it matches a chassis of such calm. It’s an odd juxtaposition. The noise is fantastically urgent, you can slice through ’changes literally as fast as you can coordinate your inputs, and everything is happening at an elevated pace, but the car is unflustered, eager for ever more commitment. Throw more energy at the NSX‑R and it just gets better and better. To me, that’s the very definition of a great driver’s car.  

This story was first featured in the 25th anniversary edition of evo. Jethro also voted for the Ferrari 458 Speciale, Mitsubishi Evo, Nissan GT-R and Porsche 911 GT3 RS 4.0 to round out his five most significant cars of the last 25 years.

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