The Honda NSX is set to return in mid-2015 as a four-wheel drive V6 petrol-electric hybrid supercar. And Honda has already begun working on prototypes of the new NSX, as shown at the IndyCar Series race in Ohio, United States, where the car was used as a pace car.
The Honda NSX will be powered by a mid-mounted, direct-injection V6 petrol engine. The NSX gets a pair of electric motors driving its front axle, which can be used for torque vectoring to sharpen handling. This will also form part of Honda's Sport Hybrid SH-AWD (Super Handling All-Wheel Drive) system that's fitted as standard to the NSX.
The rear axle is driven by the V6 petrol engine, but this is boosted by a third electric motor built into its newly developed dual-clutch gearbox. Honda is aiming for a power output of at least 400bhp, with some insiders suggesting it is likely to be even more.
Ted Klaus, head of the NSX project, confirmed that the power train is being developed in Japan, while the chassis development is being completed in Ohio, USA, where the car will be built in a brand new factory. Honda will also use its new tie-up with McLaren - which will see the Japanese firm provide engines for McLaren's F1 cars from 2015 - to take advice on the NSX and future sports car projects.
Auto Express asked Klaus asked whether the model’s multi-material platform could be expanded to make a bigger BMW i8 rival. “Probably not a 2+2,” he told us. “The platform is a strict two-seater. But if you look at what we did with the original NSX, with the two versions we made, that’s more the direction we’ll take."
As well as the standard model, which spawned a host of special editions, the original NSX was boosted by a track-focused Type R, and the NSX-T, which featured a removable roof panel.
A one-off convertible concept version of the new NSX has already debuted on the silver screen. This specially built car with Honda’s US-market Acura badge appeared in a cameo in the 2012 Avengers movie, and a production version is likely.
Klaus described working with McLaren as a huge opportunity that “takes Honda into an exciting era.” Unfortunately, due to McLaren's existing contract with Mercedes, things aren't getting away as fast as Klaus would perhaps like. But, the delay could bode well for a McLaren-tuned Type R. The original was added two years after the original supercar debuted – a timeframe that would let Klaus tap into McLaren’s resources.
The Honda NSX is likely to debut as a production model at the 2015 Detroit Motor Show, before going on sale in the UK the summer of that year. Prices are likely to be set at just over £100,000, pitching the car directly at the Porsche 911 and Audi R8.
The car will be built at Honda's new factory in Ohio, which the car manufacturer refers to as its Performance Manufacturing Centre. Measuring in at 184,000 square feet, it costs USD$70 million.
The choice of Ohio is because Klaus predicts that over 50 per cent of NSX models will be sold in North America, with production volumes similar to the Audi R8 – around five per day – planned.
“This new plant will be as unique as the vehicle we will build here,” said Clement D’Souza associate chief engineer at Honda of America. “In creating the plan for this plant, we looked closely at each process and determined the perfect blend of associate craftsmanship and technology to adopt a new approach to manufacturing.”
The NSX will use a “multi-material” approach that will include aluminium, unique high-grade steel and composites. Although Klaus wouldn’t divulge the car’s weight target, he did confirm that the car will feature some world-first lightweight tech, particularly with the development of its super-thin, super-strong A-pillars. This will filter down into lesser Hondas over time, too.