It seems like an eternity since the NSX was shelved in 2005. Since that time, there has been a definite decline in aggressive automotive design at Honda/Acura that has hardly been filled by the likes of the S2000. So it is easy to get excited about news that the NEW NSX is being put through testing at the Nurburgring in Germany in preparation of a tentative 2011 release. With so much success in its past, and so many changes planned for the future, the biggest question may be how much “NSX-ness” is left?
The biggest, if mostly irrelevant question that plagued the old NSX was power. In its 15 years of production horsepower lingered around the mid to upper 200 range. Of course the fact that it was a rear-engine and lightweight aluminum vehicle meant it was still capable of Ferrarri-esqe performance. But if a lack of power was ever an issue, it appears to be a non-issue in the new NSX. If you believe the rumors, the new vehicle will have close to 550 horses and still be relatively lightweight in comparison to its self-chosen competition; the Nissan GT-R.
Gone from the new NSX is the rear-configured V6 engine. Added to the all-wheel-drive sports car is a front-loaded V10 with cylinder deactivation to shut down half of the engine in mild driving conditions for increased fuel efficiency and controlled by an eight-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters. The new NSX also appears to be a 2+2 four-seater with the usual amount of unusability in the back seat.
The targeting of the GT-R as a benchmark is the result of a report that Honda CEO Takeo Fukui demanded that the Acura must be faster around the Nurburgring than the Nissan GT-R and future Lexus LF-A; a goal that the Acura is unofficially very close to achieving.
Though heavily camoflauged it appears that the general layout of Acura’s Advanced Sports Car Concept has survived although with minor changes that have been made to increase the level of aggressive styling for the NSX; a criticism of the concept. The production NSX retains the concept’s dual stacked exhaust set-up, but the rest of the rear bumper is completely different, with reconfigured air ducts now stretching all the way across the back that gives the car an athletic stance. The prototype’s fastback rear deck also shows significant changes from the concept. The rear hatch now kicks up between the tail-lights, which gives the prototype a stout look to match the Nissan GT-R.
Whether it truly matches the GT-R’s performance is yet to be determined. But even if it does, with all of the hype and press the GT-R is getting, the NSX may still get lost in the Nissan’s celebrity shadow.