Honda turns up the heat

Sunday Sun - - News - By Robin Roberts

THE in­sanely-hot Honda NSX has had a makeover and its han­dling is now bet­ter than ever.

Hy­brids are hot news at the mo­ment, but none come hot­ter than the Honda NSX.

Those en­ter­pris­ing en­gi­neers at Honda saw a role for hy­brid power to boost the power and econ­omy of their range top­ping two-seater coupe when they pre­pared for its re­launch three years ago.

Now it’s just been im­proved still fur­ther with han­dling, steer­ing, brak­ing and ride im­prove­ments which in­crease its day-to-day de­lights and tease out more smiles on track days.

The body is part alu­minium and plas­tic over a mixed-ma­te­rial space­frame with alu­minium sub­frames ei­ther end car­ry­ing the pow­er­train, sus­pen­sion and steer­ing.

The 2019 NSX is fit­ted with larger front and rear sta­biliser bars, rais­ing stiff­ness by 26% at the front and 19% at the rear, while the rear hubs and con­trol-arm toe link bush­ings are also harder to sharpen han­dling.

Be­yond the hard­ware up­grades, Honda has re­cal­i­brated soft­ware con­trol­ling its Sport Hy­brid SH-AWD power unit, elec­tric power steer­ing, Ve­hi­cle Sta­bil­ity As­sist sys­tem and the ac­tive mag­netic-fluid dampers.

The dampers now pro­vide a ride and re­sponse that is even more com­fort­able in the soft­est set­ting, while main­tain­ing the stiffer set-up for higher speeds and on-track driv­ing.

To max­imise the im­prove­ments po­ten­tial, Honda has fit­ted the lat­est Con­ti­nen­tal Sport­con­tact 6 tyres de­vel­oped for their coupe’s chas­sis and sus­pen­sion. But that’s not all.

Pow­er­train changes have im­proved fuel in­jec­tion and tur­bocharger per­for­mance while keep­ing ex­haust emis­sions within new lim­its.

The 2019 NSX also gets cos­metic changes out­side and in, and new colours, Ther­mal Or­ange Pearles­cent paint or Indigo Blue as well as new full red leather up­hol­stery.

The in­te­rior changes have not in­creased the roomi­ness, and the NSX re­mains a tight fit for any­one over about 5ft 10in or 1.8m.

The seats are com­fort­able if you have a medium-sized frame, and their mod­est ad­just­ment room is off­set but the way the bol­sters lo­cate you.

If you can fit into the seats, the ma­jor con­trols im­me­di­ately fall to hand and foot and the sec­ondary stalks and but­tons are close as well.

In­stru­ments are in front of the driver, big and very clear. In­fo­tain­ment con­sole is cen­tral, clear and the cabin tem­per­a­ture con­trol is straight­for­ward and works well ir­re­spec­tive of cho­sen out­put.

Od­dments room is very lim­ited and it’s not much bet­ter in the lug­gage space.

The all-wheel-drive grip keeps it planted on the road with­out be­ing heavy handed thanks to the steer­ing changes and you never seem to ap­proach its lim­its at or­di­nary speed.

On open coun­try roads you can move to sharper sus­pen­sion and re­sponses and you still have the ul­ti­mate track tuned set up if you have the op­por­tu­nity.

On track vis­i­bil­ity is rarely a prob­lem but the sleek low lines of the NSX mean you have to be care­ful when park­ing or ne­go­ti­at­ing traf­fic on trunk roads. Lights and wipers are very good.

The 2019 Honda NSX is a modern su­per­car which utilises the lat­est pow­er­train tech­nol­ogy to de­liver a rare, re­fined and en­joy­able drive.

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