Honda debuts pioneering hybrid NSX in Detroit

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The second-generation production Honda NSX has finally been revealed, 26 years after the original, Ayrton Senna-developed ‘NS-X’ was unveiled at the Chicago Autoshow.

The original supercar offered a finely balanced package of performance, handling and value unrivaled at the time – and its successor, uncovered today at the North American International Auto Show, promises to be no different.

“Our commitment was to create an all-new NSX that is true to the heritage of NSX—a supercar that delivers a new driving experience, one where every part of the vehicle is respectful of the smartest part of the car, the driver”, explained Mike Accavitti, senior vice president and general manager of Honda’s North American Acura division.

Like the first-generation car, the new NSX – branded as an Acura for its North American debut – is built around a mid-mounted V6 engine mated to a lightweight aluminium chassis.

However, for its second outing, the supercar features many of the latest developments in sports car technology.

Crucially, the V6 is now boosted both by twin turbochargers and three electric motors, in line with its hybrid-powered competition.

The original car’s famed six-speed manual transmission is but a distant memory, with the cutting-edge twin-turbo V6 powering the rear wheels through a nine-speed DCT transmission. One electric motor complements the V6 and helps drive the rear axle, while an additional electric motor powers each front wheel.

As a result, the new NSX will offer intelligent four-wheel drive for all-weather capability and rapid standing starts, as well as independent, brake-based torque vectoring for exceptional handling dynamics.

Although Honda have confirmed that the NSX will offer a peak power output of ‘over 550bhp’, they are reluctant to discuss the NSX’s raw performance figures. However, their crosshairs are set squarely on its entry-level supercar rivals: the Porsche 911 Turbo, Ferrari 458 Italia, Audi R8, and more – two of which are slated for release as hybrids as well.

The NSX also draws inevitable comparisons to BMW’s similarly-priced i8 model – another avant-garde, mid-engined, turbocharged hybrid and arguably the poster child of sustainable sports car manufacturing. Its current tenure as the official Formula E safety car highlights its status as the benchmark sporty hybrid – only time will reveal how the NSX compares.

Despite Honda’s tightlippedness on its performance statistics, most of the NSX’s expected initial production run has already sold out, with the Japanese manufacturer having closed its pre-order books in many countries across the globe.

While the exact pricing of the NSX is unknown, it expected to cost upwards of $150,000 (£99,000), with first customer deliveries beginning towards the end of the year.

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Image credit: Honda / Acura

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