Honda is putting the final touches to its new petrol-electric NSX supercar and promising that it will offer “the excitement of a (Ferrari) 458 at the price of a (Porsche) 911.”
The production coupe has been spied testing at the Nurburgring circuit in Germany ahead of its likely first public appearance at either the Los Angeles motor show in November or Detroit in January. It will go into production next year.
The all-wheel-drive hybrid looks similar to last year’s prototype except for a couple of touches here and there, including a separate lower grille at the front and air vents in the bonnet. The 2013 example was itself a revision of the concept shown at Detroit in 2012.
The new NSX will be built at Honda’s Performance Manufacturing Centre in Ohio, where it has already been seen on the test circuit. As well as the Ferrari and Porsche, other cars it has been reportedly benchmarked against include the Nissan GT-R, Audi R8 and McLaren 12C.
The second-generation NSX is likely to produce total power of upwards of 300kW from a mid-mounted V6 engine mated to three electric motors, two driving the front wheels and one built into the seven-speed duel-clutch transmission and helping to drive the rear wheels. Honda says the transmission has been built to handle higher torque loads.
Honda calls the drivetrain Sport Hybrid Super Handling All-wheel-drive, or SH-AWD, and claims it will provide “instant delivery of negative or positive torque to the front wheels during cornering to achieve a new level of driving performance unparalled by current all-wheel-drive systems.”
In other words it’s a torque vectoring system that uses the two electric motors up front to vary power to each front wheel through the twisty bits. Cornering at speed, it applies moderate brake pressure to the inside front wheel and transfers power to the outside front wheel for improved handling dynamics.
The NSX will be available as a coupe and convertible – the hardtop next year and the soft-top in 2017.