Racer on the quiet
Sneak-preview track time in Honda’s long-awaited supercar is a buzz
AS far as first drives go, this one’s pretty short — just two laps of a 4.2km test track — but any chance to get behind the wheel of the long-awaited Honda NSX is better than none.
Honda gave media a sneak preview drive of the new NSX in advance of the Tokyo motor show.
Honda’s next generation supercar is due on sale in Australia late next year with an expected sticker of $200,000plus.
It has been almost a decade in the making. The company was about to launch a V10 version of the NSX in 2009 but scrapped plans when the global financial crisis hit.
Fast-forward to 2012, the world economy was back on its feet and Honda had the confidence to splash out on a supercar.
But the world had changed and technology had moved on. A V10 was no longer going to cut it.
So Honda developed a hybrid — accompanying the twin-turbo 3.5-litre V6 are three electric motors.
Two motors are mounted near the centre of the front axles, like a mechanical differential, driving each front wheel. In the rear, the third motor directly drives the engine’s crankshaft, a world first.
The result is a combined outputs of 427kW/646Nm, which are enough, Honda says, to make it “faster than its main competitors”, which we interpret to mean about 4.0 seconds for the 0-100km/h sprint. Rivals include the Porsche 911, Mercedes AMG GT and Ferrari 488.
The NSX I’m piloting is lefthand-drive and badged as an Acura, from Honda’s US luxury division.
Before we settle into the cockpit, there is a quick demonstration of the driving modes operated by a big dial in the middle of the dash.
In “quiet” mode, electric power gets priority, “sport” mode is for normal driving and “Sport Plus” makes the exhaust