Honda NSX review

Find out more about the Honda NSX in the latest Motors.co.uk Review

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4
Out of 5

Pros

  • — Incredible performance
  • — Futuristic powertrain
  • — Feels like a bargain

Cons

  • — Divisive looks
  • — Problematic to service
  • — Long waiting list
  • MPG

    28 - 28

  • CO2

    228 - 228 g/km

Model Review

 

As for as performance cars go, the Honda NSX is up there with the most iconic of them.

Originally conceived in 1990, the sports car was designed to challenge the Ferrari 348 at a lower cost and from a brand known for its reliability. It proved effective too, gaining a cult status from the get-go — partly in thanks to a hand in its development from the legendary Ayrton Senna — and went on to become one of the defining cars of Japan’s ‘bubble era’.

A facelift version followed in 2002 and was received positively but slow sales and ever-stricter emissions regulations saw production end in 2005. Rumours of a replacement were heard for years, and finally Honda confirmed production in 2012. Delays followed, but at last, 2016 saw the production second-generation NSX come to light, in the form of a seriously high-tech sports machine

Latest model

 

It took a while, but the new Honda NSX arrived with a bang. While the original car was something of a back-to-basics, hardcore machine, the new one is all about technology. It remains one only a handful of cars in its segment to boast a clever hybrid system.

A very mild refresh of the machine is due early next year, bringing with it a new Thermal Orange Pearlescent paint option, a colour-matching front grille piece, gloss black mesh on the bumpers and the choice of a full red leather interior, or blue trimmings as part of an Alcantara and leather black choice.

There’s some chassis upgrades too, boasting improved stabiliser bars, while the all-wheel-drive system has been tweaked for a more responsive drive. Unfortunately, power hasn’t been boosted though.

Value for money

The Honda NSX has never been a particularly affordable car, although it does offer good value when compared with rivals. Prices start at £144,825 — which for a car that can rival the likes of the Ferrari 488 GTB and McLaren 720S, which are significantly more expensive, seems reasonable.

Equipment levels are pretty high too, with standard-fit items including LED head- and taillights, cruise control, keyless entry and start, dual-zone climate control, ambient lighting, and a plush leather and Alcantara interior. There’s also a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment display with support for both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, plus the option of all-round parking sensors.

Looks and image

 

While the original Honda NSX looked rather elegant, the latest version takes a different approach — looking rather more like a spaceship than a road car.

It’s certainly an acquired taste, but if standing out and looking the part is your thing, it could prove a solid option. There’s also a ton of prestige that comes with the badge, plus it remains a very rare thing on UK roads — so the odds on anyone else being in one at the next set of traffic lights is incredibly low.

The NSX is also bags of fun to drive, as you’d expect from such a car. The steering has a great weight to it when pressing on, and the chassis feels incredibly composed. Plus, the instant torque delivery from its hybrid system makes it feel ultra-quick but if you want to take things easier, you can use it to glide around in all-electric mode.

It’s a nice place to spend a good amount of time sat in, too. Its plush interior gives it a real premium feel, while a futuristic-looking TFT display in place of a traditional instrument cluster ensures you know you’re in something special whenever you’re behind the wheel.

Space and practicality

 

If you’re in the market for a high-end two-seat sports car, space and practicality are unlikely to be high on the priority list but that’s not to say the NSX doesn’t offer any of that.

The rear boot may be an unusual placement for a mid-engine car, but it’s perfectly sized to fit a set of golf clubs. There’s also a small glovebox inside the car but don’t expect to find any cupholders.

Euro NCAP hasn’t tested the Honda NSX, and likely won’t as a result of such low production numbers, but with big brakes and sticky tyres it’d likely score a high rating for its ability to stop quickly and safely.

Engines

 

Just one engine configuration is available for the Honda NSX. The hybrid powertrain consists of a 3.5-litre turbocharged V6 engine paired up to three electric motors, combining to produce a total of 573bhp and 645Nm of torque. Power is sent to all four wheels via a nine-speed dual-clutch gearbox.

A 0-60mph time hasn’t been officially stated, but expect it to be below three seconds, while top speed is claimed at 191mph. As for efficiency, Honda says 28.2mpg is possible on the combined cycle with CO2 emissions coming in at 228g/km — impressive for such a high-performance machine.

Running costs

 

With its 228g/km CO2 output, the Honda NSX falls into the second-highest category for alternatively-fuelled cars, but it’s also affected by the extra cost of a £40k+ vehicle.  That means a first-year rate of £1,750 with subsequent years coming in at £440 until the vehicle is five years old.

Fuel economy is impressive for a car in this class, with rivals often struggling to get even half the claimed figure. This considered, the more environmentally-conscious supercar owner may be interested in this.

An insurance group hasn’t been officially stated for the car, so expect premiums to be fairly high as with any truly exotic car, and also expect servicing to require some dedication — with just one Honda dealership in the UK approved for working with the NSX.

Things to look for

 

The Honda NSX is such a new and low-volume car, there’s very little to report on in terms of problems. The firm does have a reputation for building reliable and dependable machines — even when discussing its performance cars — so that should add extra peace of mind.

Earlier this year, a few examples were recalled in the US for faulty fuel tanks and high-mount brake lights so it’s worth keeping in mind that this could extend to UK cars. Acura, the American Honda sub-brand, is offering free repairs for affected examples.

Rivals

 

While the Honda NSX’s price may put it in the ballparks of the likes of the Audi R8 and Porsche 911 Turbo, it offers a level of performance to compete with more expensive offerings like the Ferrari 488 GTB and McLaren 720S too. While they may have a more exotic pull, the NSX doesn’t slack on quality or performance in comparison.

Depreciation

 

New examples of the Honda NSX hold value very well, likely due to their limited availability in the UK. Models from 2017 fetch around a price of £150k, with pre-registered 2018 examples boasting a higher than list price at closer to £180k.

The first generation is also seeing a surge in prices too, with good examples fetching anywhere from £45k upwards — with extremely desirable NSX-R models often listed as ‘POA’.

Which NSX to Pick

Cheapest to Buy When New

3.5 V6 Hybrid 2dr Auto

Most MPG

3.5 V6 Hybrid 2dr Auto

Fastest Model (0-60)

3.5 V6 Hybrid 2dr Auto

Summary

  1. Rare and well-valued performance machine
  2. Generous equipment levels
  3. Can fit a set of golf clubs easily
  4. Bags of power
  5. Divisive looks
  6. Holds value
  7. Respectable efficiency
  8. Impressive interior
  9. Ability to use as a full EV
  10. Tons of technology under the skin

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