Twenty-five years after the debut of the original, paradigm-shifting NSX supercar, the production version of its highly anticipated successor makes its European debut at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show.
European customer deliveries of the new mid-engine sports hybrid NSX supercar are due to begin in early 2016. Specifically created to bring a "New Sports eXperience" to the supercar segment, the NSX challenges prevailing beliefs about supercars as much as the first generation did a quarter of a century ago.
The 2015 Honda NSX is powered by an all-new power unit – a twin-turbocharged 75-degree DOHC V6 engine coupled to a nine-speed dual clutch transmission (DCT) and three electric motors. This Sport Hybrid technology is housed within an ultra-rigid and lightweight multi-material chassis that features world-first material applications and manufacturing processes. As a ‘human-centred supercar’ that puts the driver first in every aspect of its design, the next-generation NSX will deliver exceptionally intuitive and immediate response to driver inputs thanks to its state-of-the-art hybrid supercar power unit, body and chassis.
As the ultimate representation of Honda performance and prestige, the NSX was developed under the theme of ‘Precision Crafted Performance’. The development of the 2015 Honda NSX started from a clean-sheet and involved nearly three years of intensive development effort by a global design and engineering team led by engineers at Honda’s development centre in Raymond, Ohio.
The exterior of the new Honda NSX represents superlative attention to balancing exotic sports car form and supercar function. The development team refer to the result as ‘Interwoven Dynamic’ design.
The body features classic low and wide proportions, sharply contoured surfaces, an aggressive front design, and tail lights that pay homage to the original NSX.
The signature side intake and floating C-pillar collects air to feed the mid-mounted engine and directs airflow over the rear deck to increase downforce. To accommodate the new longitudinally mounted engine and transmission the production vehicle was lengthened by 79 mm and widened by 25 mm compared with the NSX Concept first shown in 2013, resulting in a slightly more cab-forward package
Every element of the exterior body design has been carefully fashioned for total airflow management, both for stability-enhancing downforce and vehicle systems cooling. The NSX has undergone extensive testing at the company’s state-of-the-art wind tunnel in Raymond, Ohio, leading to a number of significant changes from concept to final body design. These include modified bonnet vents, new front wing vents, modified side air intakes, and an optimised rear spoiler.
Consistent with the ‘human-centred supercar’ development concept, the NSX was designed from the inside out with an uncompromising focus on the driver. Staying true to the legendary original NSX, the newcomer’s ‘Human Support Cockpit’ provides exceptional driver control, visibility and packaging. While the principal endures from the original NSX, the technologies and techniques employed to achieve the objective in the all-new model have advanced immeasurably in order to meet the extreme performance expectations of a modern supercar.
The NSX interior boasts exceptional forward visibility, simple and intuitive controls, and class-leading ergonomics. For example, the front seats feature top-class holding performance with outstanding comfort and easy access for the driver and passenger.
The NSX’s instrument cluster features a dynamic TFT screen that displays various categories of vehicle data and settings according to the selection made by the driver via the Integrated Dynamics System dial control on the centre console. As it controls this powerful driver information hub, it seems entirely appropriate that the Power button that readies the sport hybrid powertrain is located in the centre of the dial.
Interwoven under the handcrafted leather dash panel is the exposed mid-frame – a functioning chassis structural member that reflects the design aesthetic of a naked sport bike. An ultra-thin, yet super strong A-pillar design and low-mounted instrument panel minimise obstructions to the driver’s view of the road.
In keeping with the single overriding philosophy of the original NSX, the next-generation NSX is designed to provide a new sports car experience that maximises the capabilities of the driver, delivering exceptionally intuitive and confidence-inspiring response.
Honda engineers have taken advantage of the company’s expertise across several advanced drivetrain and chassis dynamic technologies to create the most sophisticated, technologically advanced and intelligent powertrain in the supercar segment. Specifically, the development team drew on its advanced engineering capabilities with high-performance engines and hybrid electric-drive technologies, as well as two decades of experience with industry-leading dynamic torque-vectoring technologies, including Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD).
At the heart of the NSX’s performance capabilities is an all-new mid-mounted, 75-degree, DOHC V6 engine with twin turbochargers mated to a specially-developed nine-speed DCT.
The V6 engine employs a race-inspired compact valve train and dry sump lubrication system to help lower the centre of gravity. The all-new nine-speed DCT delivers synapse-quick gear changes and rev-matching downshifts.
The rear direct-drive electric motor, housed between the engine and transmission, supports acceleration, braking and transmission shifting performance. The NSX’s front wheels are driven by twin independent high-output electric motors which deliver instantaneous torque response and dynamic left-to-right torque distribution.
The NSX uses its front electric motors for dynamic torque vectoring in addition to enhancing acceleration and braking performance. The result is instantaneous launch performance and handling response that seems to anticipate the driver’s desire. The NSX has undergone extensive testing at some of the world’s most challenging race circuits, including the famed Nürburgring Nordschleife.
Also in keeping with the legacy of the original NSX – the world’s first all-aluminium supercar – the new NSX features an innovative new multi-material body design with world-first material applications and construction processes.
The NSX body utilises a space-frame design – an internal frame constructed of aluminium, ultra-high strength steel and other advanced materials. Anchored by a carbon fibre floor, torsional and bending forces are taken up entirely by this ultra-rigid structure which also utilises advanced joining technologies
The NSX features world-first casting technology that combines the design and manufacturing flexibility of a casting process with the strength and elongation properties of a forged material, enabling significant weight reduction. The body panels are composed of a combination of aluminium and sheet moulding composite (SMC).
The NSX features an ’Advanced Sports Package’ with placement of major powertrain components – the mid-mounted engine, twin front motors and Sport Hybrid battery pack and power control unit – optimised to concentrate vehicle mass low and toward the centre of the vehicle, to further enhance balance and dynamic response. The combination of this packaging concept and the lightweight body gives the NSX the lowest centre of gravity in its class.
The NSX utilises a fully independent, all-aluminium front and rear suspension and its considerable power hits the tarmac through ContiSportContact™ high-performance tyres – 245/35Z R19 at the front and 295/30Z R20 at the rear – mounted on 19 x 8.5 inch front and 20 x 11 inch rear aluminium alloy wheels.
Powerful, natural and confident braking performance is provided by six-piston front and four-piston rear monoblock calipers squeezing ultra-high performance carbon-ceramic brake discs.
Handling is greatly enhanced by Honda-engineered Sport Hybrid Super-Handling All Wheel Drive (Sport Hybrid SH-AWD), enabling lightning-quick response to all driver inputs – steering, braking and throttle – along with the stability, control and launch performance of all-wheel drive. Agile Handling Assist (AHA) uses the subtle application of brake torque to further enhance and dynamic stability.
The NSX’s dial-operated Integrated Dynamic System features Quiet, Sport, Sport+ and Track modes. The system adjusts engine, motor, transmission and chassis response, as well as the engine sound level, based on the needs of the driver and driving environment. Quiet mode enables electric-only driving at lower speeds for short durations. Dynamic vehicle responses become increasingly sharp as the driver moves from Sport to Sport+ mode and, finally, to Track mode, where the NSX reveals the full spectrum of its performance capabilities.
The NSX also features a ‘launch’ function to achieve the ultimate acceleration from standstill, aided by both the engine and the three electric motors.
The NSX will be manufactured exclusively at the Performance Manufacturing Centre (PMC) in Marysville, Ohio, where approximately 100 highly-skilled low-volume production specialists will conduct full body construction, paint, and final assembly.
The PMC and its processes have been developed to perfectly blend craftsmanship and technology in a new approach to manufacturing. By undertaking the body construction in-house, Honda maintains complete control over total body quality, including critical strength, suspension accuracy, and fit and finish, from initial construction all the way to final assembly.
PMC’s production team will employ innovative techniques to deliver next-generation craftsmanship and world-class quality in the realm of specialised, supercar vehicle production.