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Carbon-clad warrior: Acura peels off top layer of NSX racer

12 July 2016


After a seven-year tease, Acura and Honda finally announced that they were to have car babies, and there was to be a newly improved NSX. Jump with joy I did, as the original changed the way exotic sports cars were scrutinized and developed for years, thanks to its inspiring simplicity and the reliability Hondas are known for. However, if you’ve seen the techno-filled behemoth that is the current model, you’ll know that it’s not even in the same league as the original. And, in my opinion, it doesn’t share the true character that the NSX was known for and the entire reason it was a huge success. The original NSX featured a naturally aspirated three-litre V6 engine with all sorts of great noises coming from VTEC, as opposed to a twin-motor unit (electric, up front), twin-turbocharged V6 engine, which can now put power down through all four wheels. 

The steering isn’t connected to the steering rack. The brake pedal isn’t connected to the calipers. It’s all electronic, which, to be quite honest, is terrifying. Acura have stated that the technology has added to the ultimate sports-car experience, but from what we’ve seen, you’re so disconnected from the experience you might as well be playing on your $300 Xbox steering wheel. I feel like all this technology was used to make it driveable at such a heavy weight, whereas if they’d kept things simple from the get-go, there’d be no need for the electronics that go so far as dulling the ride. Imagine if the new NSX was a good 400kg lighter, with a naturally aspirated high-revving V6 pulling 9000rpm with a VTEC kick similar to its older sibling. Now, that’s a modern supercar that would go against the rest. 

Another thing that is terrifying is the recently released carbon-fibre FIA GT3-spec NSX — however, this time it’s terrifying in a good way. 

The newly developed factory twin-turbo 573hp V6 is retained, however instead of running the nine-speed dual-clutch transmission like the road car, it will run a six-speed sequential gearbox to withstand the rigours of motorsport. Although the V6 is still used, Acura have binned the twin electric motors up front, so the car is purely rear-wheel drive only — woooo! An interesting move, begging me to question the reliability of the electric units under motorsport conditions — yes, I am looking at all you keen track-day enthusiasts. 

The GT3-spec NSX looks fantastic. The carbon-clad exterior with the yellow detailing on the headlights is menacing, however there’s no doubting it will be covered in sponsorship logos come race time, so enjoy it for now. 

It will be interesting to see if this NSX will have the same racing heritage that the original did during the JGTC (All Japan Grand Touring Car Championship) days, and if the NSX will retain the cult-like following it has managed to keep for so long. I fear the day-to-day enthusiasm of seeing one of these on the road will be similar to that of Nissan’s R35 — I see more than I do Nissan Pulsars most days! 

Let me know what you think about the new NSX below in the comments.