These days, it’s easy to dismiss supercars. Sure – I loved ‘em as a kid. But as I’ve gotten older/busier… I’ve realized that filling my head with supercar statistics is more-or-less a waste of my time & brain space. They’re out of my league. They’re usually pretty unusable. Forget about self-maintenance. And there’s the owner stigma. Take it all into account, and supercars/exotics are un-relatable to most of us. And as such, I’ve become more genuinely amused with the excitement of the automotive aftermarket: big turbos on small cars, and/or the old romantic analog stuff.
But look – we all have stereotypes deep-rooted in our heads. Preconceived notions. Blanket statements we throw around… especially in a social media-driven world. But usually – the solution to start dissolving all these things… is EXPERIENCE & PERSPECTIVE. I’ve now had experience in the NSX, and it’s changed my perspective. I’m not going to compare the NSX to other supercars. Because frankly, I don’t have experience in other supercars. But what I am gonna compare the NSX to… is Honda itself.
Throughout Honda’s early history, they were the underdog when compared to the Euro & American brands in motorsports. Brushed aside. Sent back to the kid’s table. The Cool Runnings syndrome. And because of that – it created a brand with a lot to prove. A lot of heart & fight. Honda employs some of the best innovators, engineers, and creative minds in the world – whether they’re building robots, or Type-Rs, or airplanes. Amongst the automotive aficionados, Honda has historically been undervalued. Yet historically – they come out of top from endurance, performance, and reliability standpoints. How is that? Well the answer, again I assume, is engineering, innovation, and creative minds. Honda doesn’t necessarily follow the format… they kind of rebel against it. And a lot of times, they rewrite it. Today in 2019, every time you get in your car & drive to the store, you see 25-year-old Hondas all around you… I guarantee it. Where are all the 25-year old Audis?
Still – the guys who pose next to their European supercars dismiss the Honda/Acura emblems, for lack of heritage and/or pedigree. But the background I’ve just described above… is the very definition of heritage & pedigree. Over the past 3-4 decades, Honda played a MAJOR role in creating an entire new generation of hot-rodder & racer. They’ve had SUCH an impact on shaping who a lot of us are as car enthusiasts… hell… in shaping our lifestyles. That’s heritage. And Ayerton Senna clinching F1 championships in a Honda-powered car… that’s pedigree.
So here’s how I see the NSX. The NSX was conceived from some of the best & most synchronized minds in the automotive universe… and born from a company that’s had to fight for every ounce of credit they’re ever gotten. That may or may not resonate with the posh supercar fraternity clubs… but it damn sure resonates with me. And I love the fact that, even at a supercar level, people still see the NSX as ‘just a Honda.’ lol. When will it ever stop… I honesty hope never.
Here’s the specs on the 2nd gen NSX. You have a transverse-mounted, twin-turbo 3.5 V6 gas engine behind the seats.
Then) – you have a straight-drive electric engine that comes in immediately upon throttle to seamlessly fill in the gap of boost lag.
Then) – you have two motors under the front hood… driving each front wheel.
For a total of 580hp to all 4 wheels. And please understand, that this is not the same 580hp that’s in your buddy’s blown Mustang. This is real race car stuff. Fluid, controlled, and structured. It’s a scalpel. The gearbox is a 9-speed twin-clutch that is insanely deliberate & precise. The NSX engineer featured on Leno’s Garage broke it down as essentially a 7-speed gearbox, but with a launch gear (1st), and an overdrive/cruising gear (9th).
Carbon ceramic brakes diced up the mountain roads effortlessly. Literally… effortlessly.
And I’m not qualified to speak on the airflow & aerodynamics of this car, because I’m 5 and these people are NASA scientists lol. But again – I reference you to the Leno’s Garage video on Youtube, where Leno spoke with a lead engineer & designer for the NSX. Basically, the NSX was designed to have air run through it… and not just around it. When Honda/Acura made the decision to turbocharge the car from the original V10 N/A concept, the original design was completely reworked & widened to account for more airflow, large intercoolers, and heat dissipation. Air is collected & routed out of inconspicuous vents above the taillights… and that creates a virtual platform/table for air coming over the roof & decklid to press on for downforce.
If you’re anything like me, you get a little weird about diving other people’s cars. But listen – if you ever get the chance to drive the NSX, do it! Don’t pass it up! So many of us drive cars that handle mountain roads really well. Some exceptionally well. But a Golf R, Focus RS, STI, Evo, etc… these are all tweaked-out, strengthened versions of their more economical/basic counterparts: Meaning the Golf R is based on a normal Golf, the RS is based on a Focus, the STI is based on an Impreza, and so on. Now as car guys, we take these tweaked versions, and tweak them out even more in the aftermarket, with more power, better suspension parts, stickier tires, stronger brakes, more efficient cooling, etc. And they’re killer! But they were never designed… from conception… to be this! The NSX was made for one thing. It has one purpose. And it is the pinnacle of that purpose.
Critics might mention that the interior on the new NSX is not very special. And that’s it’s too similar to a TLX/RDX/MDX. To that, I say in my best Peter Griffin voice, “Oh my God, who the hell cares!” I’m not sure what other journalists are driving on the regular… but the interior of the NSX is just damn fine. Does it share design references with the rest of the Honda/Acura family? Yeah… but so what?? I view the NSX interior & textures as more of a nod to the quality/longevity in other Acura models… rather than a knock on the NSX itself.
The NSX has great visibility front & rear. It’s got great sensory support through the seating position & steering wheel. Yet, it’s easy to get in & out of… easy to run errands in. If it wasn’t for the child-seat situation (and the ‘budget’ situation), I could 100% throw a bike rack on this thing & daily it without much of a care in the world. And to that point – we averaged 18 miles per gallon with a heavy foot. *We never drove the NSX in Quiet Mode. It took about 100-feet to realize Quiet Mode was stupid, and flipping to Sport+ then-on became part of the starting sequence. Therefore all our feelings about this car are based on Sport+ and Track Mode.