2018 Honda NSX review - has Honda cracked the hybrid supercar? - Engine and gearbox

The NSX melds technology and tactility to impressive effect, but still lacks the ultimate emotional appeal of the best supercars

Evo rating
Price
from £132,715
  • Beautifully integrated drivetrain and surprisingly engaging dynamics
  • It lacks the ultimate focus and character of established supercar elite

Providing the bulk of the power is that twin-turbo V6, which puts out 500bhp between 6500 and 7500rpm and 406lb ft of torque between 2000 and 6000rpm. In addition to this is a direct drive electric motor situated between the engine and the nine-speed dual clutch transmission.

The electric motor generates an additional 47bhp at 3000rpm and 109lb ft between 500 and 2000rpm. Finally there is also a Twin Motor Unit on the front axle, each of these motors puts out 36bhp at 4000rpm and 54lb ft between 0 and 2000rpm. The maximum outputs (obviously not arrived at simply by adding up all the individual maximums) are 573bhp and 476lb ft. As with almost all hybrid systems the Honda can run on electricity or petrol alone, or a combination of the two, something it does to impressive effect at low speeds, the motors adding extra muscle to the internal combustion engine. Where the NSX gets really clever is in its use of forward pair of motors for torque vectoring duty.

Subscribe to evo magazine

Subscribe today to have every issue of evo delivered straight to you. You'll SAVE 39% on the shop price, and get evo for its original cover price for a whole year!

Let’s begin with Quiet mode, which you can either view as a boring very un-supercar sort of mode or quite a cool stealthy ninja method of slipping along unnoticed. Like the Porsche’s 918, the Honda can slide silently off a driveway early in the morning without waking the household. The engine will kick into life, but, as you’d expect, only quietly.

Sport is next up and feels like a rather redundant mode. It’s a sort of everyday driving mode, but with an engine that sounds really quite unpleasant. Not loud, just lacking in any musicality. Better, to jump straight to Sport+ if you want a bit more urgency.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

The engine is much more vocal, with more sounds of turbocharging but needs to be above 4000rpm to achieve a soundtrack worthy of a sportscar. Once up there it sounds really rather good though, with the hollow induction bark being channeled into the cockpit via some piping behind you.

The nine-speed DCT ‘box is impressive when left to its own devices. When you take control via the paddles, it is quite easy to run into the rev-limiter at 7500rpm and I found that you frequently had to make one last extra downchange on the way into corners to ensure you were in a low enough gear. Most automatics and double-clutch transmissions aren’t calibrated to change down sufficiently before a corner, or hold onto gears for long enough when driving enthusiastically or on track. The NSX, however, responds exactly how you would want it to, always being in the gear you’d naturally select anyway.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Most Popular

Visit/best-cars/15095/best-cars-to-buy-for-ps10000-evo-garage
Best cars

Best cars to buy for £10,000 – evo garage

The evo team picks their favourite used performance cars
1 Jul 2020
Visit/dodge/challenger/202845/2021-dodge-challenger-srt-super-stock-revealed
Dodge Challenger

2021 Dodge Challenger SRT Super Stock revealed

The ancient Dodge Challenger lives on in new 807bhp widebody form – makes a Shelby GT500 look like a pedal car
3 Jul 2020
Visit/bmw/m3-saloon/20529/2020-bmw-m3-tech-specs-revealed-choice-is-the-word-for-bmws-sports-saloon
BMW M3 saloon

2020 BMW M3 tech specs revealed – choice is the word for BMW’s sports saloon

BMW’s next M3 to be available in manual or auto; with and without all-wheel drive
1 Jul 2020
Visit/audi/audi-e-tron/202840/new-496bhp-audi-e-tron-s-revealed-audis-first-high-performance-ev
Audi e-tron

New 496bhp Audi e-tron S revealed – Audi’s first high-performance EV

The Audi e-tron S has picked up an extra electric motor for a total of three in new EV flagship
1 Jul 2020