NSX STICKS WITH ORIGINAL BRIEF
and it powers out and away at any speed.
The electronic package includes the usual driving modes. In Quiet, it runs at first only on electric power then, through Sport, Sport+ and Track, the changes obviously tweak the engine and gearbox, but also tune the magneticallycontrolled dampers for the road surface and speed, and even lift the cabin noise — piped in from the engine bay right behind — by up to 25dB.
Outward vision is great, the sports seats hug me, the steering wheel is beautifully crafted and shaped for driving, the aircon is Honda cool and everything seems great. Then I touch the nasty, cheap, plastic paddle-shifters and wonder how they got through the net. There are also some big reflections from the top of the dashboard but I love the slimline windscreen pillars — an example of impressive technology, these show how other brands could get the bulk out of their cars and improve their safety.
ON THE ROAD
The extraordinary comfort is far more surprising than the performance, which is really just a question of talented engineers with the right focus and budget, and is reflected in the aircon, the suspension and the steering wheel — which is flat on top and bottom but could do with some shift lights.
The body control in the car is nothing short of brilliant and it rides like a limousine on the worst Portuguese roads, while still allowing me to have fun and attack the corners without worrying about running wide or bouncing off a pothole. It even betters my previous benchmark for supercar suspension, the McLaren 650.
The car is heavy at 1776kg but it never feels remotely porky on the road. It stops superbly with just a faint groan as the front wheels harvest energy for the electric motors.
The sound is terrific inside and out and the nine-speed transmission works brilliantly in all conditions. I still hate the paddles but I realise after an hour that I haven’t touched them once.
That’s a tribute to the driving modes and yaw control and carbon-ceramic brakes, a combination that means the car can do a better job than me on gear selection, so Honda could easily rip them out.
I’m also massively underwhelmed by the horn, which is well short of the trumpet I expect, but otherwise have little to complain about. The boot, only one, is behind the engine because the whole nose is loaded with electric and cooling gear. It seems small at first but will handle golf clubs in true Japanese style and also carry-on bags for two.
The NSX is an epic car and when the first cars arrive here in November, owners will have something to celebrate.
But it’s still only a Honda and that will be — with the $420,000 price tag — the biggest hurdle. Ferrari does not make a $14,990 Jazz and some people will instantly dismiss the NSX, even though it’s little short of a LaFerrari or McLaren P1 or Porsche 918 — each of them hybridised for maximum performance.
It’s less than half the price, and with a right-side steering wheel that means it can be driven on the road in Australia.