Racer on the quiet

Sneak-pre­view track time in Honda’s long-awaited su­per­car is a buzz

Herald Sun - Motoring - - PRESTIGE - JOSHUA DOWL­ING NA­TIONAL MO­TOR­ING EDITOR joshua.dowl­ing@news.com.au

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

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