More icons are being reborn in Detroit – now’s the turn of the Honda NSX, resplendent in red just like the original was when it made its debut at the Chicago Auto Show over 25 years ago.

The second generation of Honda’s “everyday supercar” appears to have received relatively few changes from the prior concepts from Detroit 2012 and 2013, despite growing slightly larger on its way onto the production line. The front end has been subtly rejigged with a new front splitter, tweaked “jewel eye” headlights, reshaped bonnet air outlets and new vents aft of the front wheel arches.

Along the sides, the wing mirrors and the air intakes are now slightly larger, while the proportions have been shifted to be more cab-forward. Finishing off at the rear, there’s a reprofiled rear spoiler and centre-exit tailpipes. That’s about it. Oh, and more conventional Y-spoke aluminium alloy wheels measuring 19 inches at the front and 20 inches at the rear, as opposed to the odd turbine items of the second concept.


If the exterior is an exercise in faithfulness to the previous concepts, the interior has been completely revised, losing the high-set centre console, dominating large central display and lack of buttons. Despite this, Honda still claims the NSX features a cabin with an “uncompromising focus on the driver.”

Ahead of the driver sits a TFT LCD display that serves as a digital instrument cluster, changing the graphics and information displayed according to the driving mode selected on the Integrated Dynamics System. Honda has clearly spent a lot of effort in ensuring the new NSX retains the excellent forward visibility praised on the original, with thin, yet super strong A-pillars and a low-set dashboard.

Motivation comes from the Sport Hybrid Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) power unit, combining a mid-mounted twin-turbo V6 (fitted with dry sump lubrication for a lower centre of gravity) with three electric motors. One motor powers the rear wheels and assists in acceleration, braking, and gear shifts, while another two move the front wheels, providing dynamic torque vectoring.


Altogether, the system makes a combined output of over 550 hp, managed by a nine-speed dual-clutch transmission. The Integrated Dynamics System features five modes – Quiet enables electric-only propulsion at low speeds for short periods, and the car gets more responsive and capable as you go up to Sport, Sport+ and Track modes.

Peering under the skin, you’ll find a multi-material space frame comprising of aluminium and ultra-high-strength steel, bolted to a rigid carbon fibre floor. Cladding the whole structure are aluminium and sheet moulding composite (SMC) body panels. The lightweight construction, along with the optimised powertrain packaging, is claimed to give the NSX the lowest centre of gravity in its class.

Honda NSX returns – 550 hp twin-turbo V6 AWD hybrid

The new NSX is sprung on all-around fully-independent aluminium suspension, connected to carbon-ceramic brakes. Handling is enhanced through the Agile Handling Assist (AHA) that applies braking to improve yaw response and dynamic stability.

Production of the new Honda NSX will be kept solely to the new Performance Manufacturing Centre (PMC) in Marysville, Ohio. The order books, closed earlier in 2014 due to high demand, are set to reopen in the summer, with the first cars set to be handed over near the end of the year. So, is this a worthy successor to the 1989 original?