By on December 20, 2007

acura-advanced-sports-car-10.jpgAccording to Jalopnik, Honda has confirmed that it's "un-delaying" (i.e. building) a replacement for its NSX supercar (1990 – 2005). In theory, it's an exciting development. Aside from the new U.S. Accord, Honda has always followed the Colin Chapman's "add lightness" paradigm. And no vehicle fits that mantra better than a high-performance sports car. That's why the original all-aluminum (body and chassis) NSX remains a totemic vehicle amongst those car nuts who can afford changing high performance tires every 58 miles. Ye Olde NSX offered all the handling of a Ferrari, and then some, on a regular basis (i.e. everyday usability). Like the Chevy Corvette– only with two less cylinders– the Japanese-built supercar was something a working class hero. Unfortunately, Honda is now following Lexus (LF-A) into The Kingdom of Stupid. The next NSX will have a 500-horse V10 in its nose. Pardon me for armchair CEO-ing, but this is five kinds of wrong. The next NSX should be a turbocharged, six-cylinder, mid-engined, Super-Handling AWD terror. When Honda blindly follows in opposition to their principles, not even their engineering expertise makes it worthwhile (see Chuck Norris' Ridgeline). Oh, and the concept car is way ugly.

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28 Comments on “Honda’s New NSX Loses The Plot...”


  • avatar
    AKM

    I’m afraid Honda lost its magic, in their quest to follow Toyota. Although I haven’t driven it, the new Accord seems really, really big, and most reviewers find it pretty sedate. Not to mention you can’t get it with a stick!
    Even the Civic is on the plump, wallowy side (unless they finally bring the Tie fighter look-a-like and handle-a-like Euro civic).

  • avatar

    It is more sad than not, especially invoking Chapman and the hope for something more like a higher hp Lotus Elise than a bloated supercar. And if they are going to benchmark anything similar, it had better beat the GT-R around the ‘Ring if it costs even $1 more.

  • avatar
    mgrabo

    AKM
    Point of clarification. The 08 Accord is available with a 5-speed manual and either four-cylinder engine they offer. Honda doesn’t offer a manual transmission with the V6 in the four door sedan body style, but they do offer a 6-speed manual with the V6 in the coupe.

    I for one have always preferred Honda’s 4-cylinder mills and reckon that most V6 accord sedan buyers are looking for highway cruising capability rather than backroad carver. Given that the New Civic is the size of the late 80s Accords I grew up driving, I think the Civic SI sedan makes for a good enthusiasts’ offering for one seeking a quintessential sporty Honda.

  • avatar
    B-Rad

    If they go with this engine layout (and # of cylinders) this “NSX” should be given a new name.

  • avatar
    Geotpf

    Wait wait wait WAIT.

    Honda has refused to build a V8, for enviromental reasons or out of sheer stubbornness, in vehicles that really should have had one, for marketing reasons at the very least. (One of the reasons that Acura is considered only near-luxury and not a “real” luxury brand is the lack of a V8 in any of their products.)

    And now they are going to build a V10 supercar? What the hell?

    Now, actually reading the article, all that is actually confirmed is that a 2010 NSX will exist-but the V10 isn’t cofirmed. I seriously doubt it will actually have one.

  • avatar
    Cicero

    Honda needs to get that V-10 and put it in a big Acura sedan. With a rocket-powered luxo-barge on its menu, Acura would finally have a chance to get some credibility in the U.S. luxury car market.

  • avatar
    danms6

    Here’s my armchair vision for what the next NSX should be:

    NA V8 putting out at least 350 hp
    MR layout, no AWD
    Not shaped like that stupid wedge concept
    3200 lbs or less
    Priced around Corvette, less than Z06 for sure

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    If I were Honda, I would consider going the other way altogether.

    Build a supercar with a 6 cylinder that blows away all the bigger engine cars in real performance. Give up the quarter mile and top end, but make it fastest around the track.

    Build some branding around that engine and it’s technology so that no one remembers the word “hemi”. Then sell more high end Acura’s than ever with the new engine, retuned for a sedan or coupe.

    Use a 4 cylinder version of same engine in a Honda roadster and hot civic.

    Few will care that the car is really winning the races because it is lighter and better handling and running at 8000 rpm on full boost all the time.

  • avatar
    William C Montgomery

    Oh, and the concept car is way ugly.

    Amen, brother.

  • avatar
    guyincognito

    I don’t know, that body kit doesn’t look too good on that Corvette. I’d love to see a new, lightweight, midengined NSX with a NA 450 hp V8 with a 10,000 rpm redline.

  • avatar
    quasimondo

    The next NSX should be a turbocharged, six-cylinder, mid-engined, Super-Handling AWD terror

    Right on, except for the part about turbocharging (which Honda avoids like it’s cooties), and adding a SH-AWD system that conflicts with adding lightness.

  • avatar
    NICKNICK

    they should do what they’re good at: 4 bangers.
    make a flat plane crank V8 out of two 2.0L 4cyls, make it run to 10,000 rpm, give us 450 hp, and stick it in the middle of an AWD chassis.

    V10s up front are for Vipers.

  • avatar
    CarShark

    @Geotpf

    That’s exactly what I was thinking. I still think it’s going to use a mid-mounted version of Honda’s 3.5L V-6 (or maybe a larger version of it), or a new V-8 that will trickle down through the Acuras as they get changed over.

  • avatar
    Virtual Insanity

    MR, lightweight, high rev V6 or V8, priced below Zed Oh Six.

  • avatar
    casper00

    If Honda wants to go all out with the new NSX. I say ditch the V10 and use the concept engine developed by Mugen: 4000cc V8 with 590 horsepower at 9500rpm and 383 pounds of torque at 7500. And about the body and looks, the concept look ugly the first concept that they had out was much better. It would be nice if Honda stick with the all aluminum body chassis.

  • avatar
    dancote

    I refrain from posting here frequently because I find myself disagreeing with a TTAC story or the replies and I don’t want to be banned.

    On this issue I wholeheartedly agree with the sentiments expressed. Why oh why did Honda ever stop developing and manufacturing the original NSX.

    If I ever hit the lottery, I’ll buy one of the originals in a heartbeat.

  • avatar
    ghillie

    Aside from the new U.S. Accord, Honda has always followed the Colin Chapman’s “add lightness” paradigm. And no vehicle fits that mantra better than a high-performance sports car.

    Um well no actually… the best fit for that description is Honda’s low performance sports car – the Insight. 1870lbs, 70 mpg and lots of fun at road legal speeds.

    Piston heads hate ‘em of course.

  • avatar
    ihatetrees

    Aside from the new U.S. Accord, Honda has always followed the Colin Chapman’s “add lightness” paradigm.

    I couldn’t agree more. Honda/Acura should define themselves as lighter, better driving regular/luxo brand.

    (Although I suspect there’s market research showing such a niche is unprofitable in the NA market. It may even be true.)

    As someone wrote above, they really need a V8 that spins to 8000 rpm for Acura sedans. Tune one for the a new, light (10K rpm) NSX, and they’ve got a winner. A V10? Please. Those are for Vipers and F250′s…

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    I liked Honda products when the company was run by engineers, not bean counters. The engineers almost always won the value vs profit debate.

    It came apart with the previous generation Civic. Honda substituted a compact McPherson strut front suspension for the Honda-typical double-wishbones resulting in a squishy suspension.

  • avatar
    carlisimo

    The Civic suspension decision wasn’t a financial one… it was done for engineering reasons, just that we disagree with the priorities they had.

    Those priorities were packaging and mileage – packaging is Honda’s current focus and it makes a lot of people happy (just look at how far forward the engine is in the Civic, RSX, TSX…). Funny how they have the same level of engineering focus as BMW but take diametrically opposite paths, in that way.

    Anyway, McPhersons take up less width, which allowed the engine to move up. They’re higher too, which resulted in the abandonment of Honda’s lovely low-cowl designs, but the market was moving towards taller cars. The change also cleared up some room for the stupid electrical steering system, which Honda brochures bragged would improve fuel mileage by 2% or something like that.

    The new Civics actually handle better than the old ones, stock. But the old double wishbones were easier to play with… you could lower the car all the way to the ground and handling would still be getting better as you got lower. (With struts, handling improves if you go a little lower, but gets worse after a certain point… suspension travel is also a major consideration and the old Civics had a lot of it).

  • avatar
    carlisimo

    As for the NSX… the problem is that it’s being designed as an Acura.

    What is Acura? It’s techy, innovative, a compromise between sport and luxury… the AASC concept fits the brand perfectly. A mid-engined light sports car doesn’t.

    Personally, I want a Honda NSX. I think everyone who’s posted their dislike of the AASC does too. But ask yourselves, if Acura were designing a supercar, wouldn’t it be more like this one?

  • avatar
    CarShark

    @carlisimo

    What about the Euro Civic Type-R? It used to have an IRS, but now has a torsion bar. Some of the reviews for it (especially Clarkson’s) haven’t been too complimentary. Basically, they keep saying the old one was better.

    BTW, what’s wrong with the Lexus LF-A? Please don’t tell that it’s the same old tired, “(insert brand here) isn’t supposed to make (insert good car here). It’s not part of their (insert highly objective intangible concept). Something with a little more teeth would be nice.

  • avatar

    Agree completely with Landcrusher (about 12 posts above) on what the NSX should be.

  • avatar
    Jason

    Again, like I’ve said before, its Honda realizing its engineering-performance centric philosophy may be exciting to practical-minded pistonheads who favor lightweight sportiness, but Honda wants to not miss the money train either, so they start following Toyota. Its sad, but car making is about making money, and once a company becomes mainstream, well, we all know what happens then. Just look at Toyota before it was mainstream: Supra and RWD. Mainstream: Camry and FWD. Toyota history already tells us the sad, sad path the mighty H is headed down. If the new Accord (USDM) isn’t an indicator, I don’t know what is. But like I’ve also said before, once an automaker goes mainstream, it cannot afford to stay pure to what gave it cachet in the first place, but only make whatever the masses will buy in droves to support the large overhead costs associated with running a juggernaut of a company.

    As for the LF-A, I do think its Toyota’s last, I mean, LAST CHANCE at showing the world they can still build a sports car. They’ve spent 10 year proving that they are the anti-sport brand, and there’s no problem in convincing the aveage pistonhead that. The IS-F is such a joke-a classic example of using a 5-pound hammer to force the square block through the circular hole of a Fisher-Price kiddie toy. The IS 350 has plenty of power, so just bring the handling and braking up to near BMW feel and balance (Think Acura TSX here, a modest car that still manages to push all the right feel-good buttons). But instead they give it more power (V8 power) but the suspension is the same old cush-cush job, and 8-speed automatic transmission!? Com’on people, are you that desperate to avoid shifting gears that you’ll rather have an 8-sp auto rather than 6-sp manual? Lexus seems to be for handicapped drivers, the ones who flunked driver’s ed 3 times for bad car control.

    However, for this new NSX, I will believe it when I see it, then if I see it, then I will judge.

  • avatar
    kjc117

    Oh, I thought they were switching to the F1 based V-8 instead of the F1 based V-10? Guess not.

    Maybe the F1 based V-8 will go into the next Acrua RL?

    I know Honda is behind on development but at least the NSX will return someday.

    I am not crazy about the current “angle” design theme at Acura.
    Looks like they are trying to follow Cadillac’s design theme of only angles. Acura’s current grilles on their CUV’s look like Transformer’s logo.

  • avatar
    casper00

    I have another thought in mind. Think about this. Toyota stop it’s production of the toyota supra in the US in 1998, they also stop the production of the MR2 in 1996. Can you guys see that during those years these cars were not produce the camry and other toyota vehicles dominated the market. And know that toyota got a firm grip of the market beating out the big 2.8, they are now concentrating on developing super cars to take on the higher exotics. With Honda same thing, the civic and accord are doing good, now they can tweek their expertise around and play big with the highly exotics.

  • avatar
    MgoBLUE

    Amen, Landcrusher. Amen.

    I want to see a Japanese F430 with all the performance, supplied by a high-tech V6 pushing around a lighter chassis.

    I’m not giving up that hope.

    That’s a good question though: DOES Acura have to produce something with more than 6 cylinders to grow in the luxury game? Or are they happy with the niche that they have…unwilling to part with their brand of ‘smaller engines doing just as much work’. The guys I know who drive RL’s and LS’s aren’t goosing the gas off the line. But they both have plenty of power on demand whenever they need it — usually on the highway or around town. So wouldn’t RF say: Don’t screw with the brand! Just continue to enhance your V6′s! And maybe tinker with a turbo…

  • avatar
    whatdoiknow1

    Both Honda and Toyota are first and foremost mainstream automakers, they both understand this and take it to heart. That is why these companies are so successful. Both companies have proven time and time again that they can suceed in racing and produce some excellent sportscars. The reason they do not make it a core compenent of their business to build sportscarrs is simply because that is NOT where the money is at!

    On the other hand you have a company like GM that is willing to spend (waste) billions of dollars on R&D on the Corvette while the majority of their products langish at the bottom of each respect class of vehicles. GM is on the brink of disaster not because the Corvette is so good but because the products that they need to bring in the profits SUCK!

    As good as the Corvette is, it does serve as a glaring example of how badly GM is being managed. Great at building expensive toys with limited appeal but sucks at do what the company is supposed to do, build cars for the masses.

    Today the new ZR1 Corvette is analogous to the German Me 262 fighter of WW2, a wonderful piece of engineering that can truly offer up little to nothing to help win the war! Not with the thousands of P-51 Mustangs (Hondas & Toyotas) ruling the sky.

    Needless to say both Honda and Toyota have been straddling the fence on “green-lighting” production of another resource intensive, low volume supercar. The truth of the matter is neither company actually needs these cars to succeed in the future so why build them? They can easily look to GM to see that having a high-performance halo cars does nothing to improve the bottom line but does consume much valuble resources.

    Today, Nissan is the company that is doing it correctly, build your sportcars off of an existing platform using existing engines and suspension parts. The 350z has its compromises but it is still a rather fun car to drive. It is also a relative bargin and does not cost Nissan an arm and leg to produce.


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