By on September 15, 2011

If the New York Times motto is “all the news that’s fit to print”, then the automotive blogosphere has dined out on the notion of “all the conjecture, baseless rumors and unverified whisperings that’s fit to re-purpose” since Al Gore invented the internet.

Rumors of a new Acura NSX have been one of the staples of online automotive “news”, with the first rumblings shortly after the NSX was euthanized in 2005. Normally I refrain from commenting on these sorts of matters, since they tend to lead to hypertension, foul language and apoplectic tirades, but I have a personal interest in this one.

My father worked for Honda for most of my childhood, and the Kreindler household was graced with two NSX’s. One of my earliest memories is of my mother leading me across the lawn on a sunny evening. There was a lineup of people outside my house, and beyond them, a Formula Red NSX with my father in the driver’s seat. Nobody had ever seen anything like it, and certainly not in my driveway, which constantly had some kind of Accord Wagon for my father and a white Civic sedan for my mother. A year later, my “birthday present” was a Berlina Black NSX, a company car that my father managed to finagle from head office. In true Jerry Kreindler fashion, he took me for numerous blasts around Toronto, with his Arthea Franklin tapes on the stereo, something that today’s youth would not define as “swag”, but makes perfect sense if you’ve met the man.

I was convinced that the NSX was the best car in the world as a child, and some of my grade school friends teased me when I opted for it every time when playing with die-cast cars. Why not choose the Lamborghini Diablo or Ferrari 355? I was convinced that Honda, as a company, was infallible, and the period from 1988-1996 was truly their golden age. My grandmother purchased a 2000 Civic LX sedan, at the end of the car’s life cycle, and the introduction of the McPherson strut Civic seemed to spark the company’s slow decline into mediocrity.

When my father left Honda, I was as devastated as any other child would be if their parents told them they were getting a divorce. Honda was my everything. On weekends, my father would take me to Honda Canada’s head office, where I’d get yet another brochure (according to my parents, I learned to read at age 3 thanks to my obsession with collecting car brochures) and as a working man, I can’t imagine how excrutiating it must be to have to go into the office on a Saturday morning for any reason.

Honda is both ruthlessly practical and convinced that whatever they are doing is the only correct way of doing things, a combination that can lead to brilliance or despair depending on who’s in charge. Not making another NSX is probably the right thing to do – Toyota can eat the losses of the LFA by using it as a rolling R&D lab for carbon fiber technology, but Honda would be bleeding like a teenager at a Dashboard Confessional concert if they had to carry the burden of developing a highly advanced supercar for nearly a decade.

But in the best Japanese fashion, they can’t bear to lose face now that the LFA and Nissan GT-R are on the market. The first NSX was designed to annihilate the Ferrari 348 and Porsche 911, and while it had none of the prestige, it proved to be a serious motivating force behind the development of the Ferrari 355, subsequent P-Cars and even the McLaren F1. I can’t help but think that Honda would miss their mark with a new version of the NSX, based on the utter adequacy (and nothing more) of their current lineup. I haven’t driven the NSX for the same reason – some things exist better in your mind, and with 270 horsepower and 20 years of wear and tear, I can’t help but feel that I’d walk away disappointed.

Before I was jaded, I attended journalism school, and in September, 2009, I got a chance to drive the S2000, the last journalist in Canada to do so before Honda retired their press loaner. The day I was due to pick it up was the first day of senior year. I was due to meet with my internship co-ordinator, who would help me find a work placement that would determine a large part of my grade, but instead I made the easy choice to skip it and go get the S2000, painted New Formula Red. Driving it back to campus through the sweeping curves of the Don Valley Parkway was one of those rare moments of unadultered joy, and as I exited the Bayview Avenue ramp into a brief underpass, the VTEC system engaged at 6000rpm and the sound blared through the tunnel as I up-shifted into 4th.

No Honda product since has made me spontaneously erupt in gleeful laughter like I did at that moment, but maybe in a few years, I’ll get an invite to Honda’s Tochigi test track to drive the next NSX, just like my father did in 1992 when he took an NSX around the high-speed test course while touring the facility. Or, maybe there will be no new NSX, and I’ll have the funds to buy a Berlina Black 1992 example. For all I preach about avoiding the pitfall of romanticizing the automobile, the NSX will always have a peculiar claim on my heart, even if the world is a much more dangerous, polluted and volatile place than it was when I was 4 years old, barely able to see over the door panel and oblivious to the beauty of aluminum space frames or titanium connecting rods.

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82 Comments on “New NSX: Get It Right, Or Don’t Bother...”


  • avatar
    Britspeak

    Nice article… You clearly ‘get’ the emotional connection around cars, even though, wow, you are obviously still pretty young (just wait until you get some more mileage, girlfriends, and road trips under your belt)!

    Car-types love to go on about why the NSX never did sell very well, and I can’t imagine adding anything to the discussion that hasn’t been said a million times before. Honda even had a great F1 pedigree back then; it’s kinda remarkable that it didn’t turn out different for them.

  • avatar
    B.C.

    Wasn’t the NSX actually around until ’05?

    I’ve stopped caring about Honda a long time ago. I even laughed when they brought out the “new” Si with the integrated exhaust manifold and no exhaust-side VTEC. Stop trying already, Honda. It’s just pathetic now.

  • avatar
    wsn

    Super cars are all about fashion. Honda is way too practical. A Ferrari could easily use 3 extra seconds to reach quarter miles, break down 50 times as often, and still manage to sell at triple the price.

    There is just no way a new NSX could make Honda any money. If they want to go for it anyway, try to buy a dead European name plate (Maybach, Bentley, etc.) and plate the car in real gold.

    • 0 avatar
      jhott997

      Bentley MOST CERTAINLY IS NOT DEAD.
      Cadillac is more dead than Bentley is.

      • 0 avatar
        PintoFan

        Oh, but Bentley is quite dead. The brand’s ownership under VAG has seen a steady destruction of both brand values and what used to make Bentleys unique and desirable cars. The Brooklands is probably the last real Bentley, but it can’t stem the tide of incredibly tasteless nouveau-riche Continental variations pouring forth, all of them VAG parts-bin specials. Cadillac has a far more cohesive brand strategy and a much brighter future as far as I’m concerned.

      • 0 avatar
        tonyola

        PintoFan:

        A little history for you. Bentley had been a “parts bin” car since it was bought by Rolls Royce in the early 1930s. By the late 1960s, Bentleys were nothing more than Rolls Royces with different grilles and badges. So few were built in the ’70s that RR considered dropping the make altogether. It wasn’t until the 1992 Continental that Bentley had its own model again.

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        In what parallel universe are Cadillac and Bentley mentioned in the same breath? Cadillac is an also-ran medium-price brand that is regularly whipped by the class leaders. Bentley is a true luxury car.

      • 0 avatar
        wsn

        jhott997, you misunderstood me.

        I am not saying Bentley is dead under VAG. I meant that Bentley was essentially dead before VAG bought it — thus drawing the parallel that Honda could buy a “dead” European brand (that’s not already bought by another auto giant).

      • 0 avatar
        Robert Schwartz

        “In what parallel universe are Cadillac and Bentley mentioned in the same breath? Cadillac is an also-ran medium-price brand that is regularly whipped by the class leaders. Bentley is a true luxury car.”

        They are mentioned in the same breath, because once upon a time, maybe the 1950s, Cadillac was so far ahead that Rolls Royce copied the Cadillac V8 and Hydramatic transmission.

        But that was long ago, and in another country, and besides, the wench is dead.

    • 0 avatar
      hifi

      Neither Bentley or Cadillac are dead. Conversely, they were dying and are now thriving. So what if “new money” buys them. The reality is that people with money are buying them today, and they weren’t buying them before.

      And at the risk of sounding like a total downer, the NSX was a terrible car. It felt like I was sitting on top of a skateboard. The lack of power steering made maneuvering impossible at slow speeds. And the blind spots were dangerous. Not to mention, the ridiculous styling was all hat and no cattle.

  • avatar
    marc

    enjoyable article but….. Al Gore never said he invented the internet. http://www.snopes.com/quotes/internet.asp

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      snopes: telling lies to rehabilitate liberals since 1995.

    • 0 avatar
      jacob_coulter

      Actually Al Gore did say it, here he is on film:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BnFJ8cHAlco

      too bad we don’t have the “massage” incident on tape

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        OUCH! There it is. Incontrovertible proof that snopes is NOT the final arbiter of truth at 50 seconds in. The funny thing is that I didn’t figure it out until they lied about something I personally witnessed. Too bad there are still 300,000 imbeciles gargling their bags every vapid day.

      • 0 avatar
        philadlj

        That video was tampered with! Video can’t be used as incontrovertible proof in this age of CGI! Ever seen Avatar? 99.9% of the stuff in that film is fake!
        (Just kidding. Touché!)

      • 0 avatar
        ClutchCarGo

        So it all comes down to the interpretation of the the phrase “I took the initiative in creating the Internet”. If you bother to read the Snopes post in the link above you would see a reasonable discussion of the phrase and its meaning. However, if you want to demonize Gore as a grandiose liar (in much the same way that GWB was demonized as a simpleton tool of Cheney) because he left out the words “to drive legislation critical to” in his statement, that’s your prerogative. But if you bother to read past the Status line of the post to the Origins portion, I find that the Snopes analysis of the “Gore claimed that he invented the Internet” meme to be spot on.

      • 0 avatar
        jacob_coulter

        It was an incredibly arrogant way for him to take credit for the internet. It would be like a politician saying they single handedly won a war because they voted for a military spending bill.

        To make matters worse, Gore wasn’t even correct about taking credit for a bill that led to the creation of the internet, development had been going on through DARPA since the early 1960’s (Al Gore’s dad was the segregationist Senator at the time the internet was being developed, not Gore Jr)

      • 0 avatar
        ClutchCarGo

        Yes, almost as arrogant as landing on an aircraft carrier in a flight suit to declare victory in Iraq. Arrogance is a given in anyone who thinks that they can lead the free world, and ALL politicians will try to take credit for their involvement in anything positive, and try to deflect blame for their involvement in anything negative. But the question wasn’t whether Gore was arrogant, or hypocritical, or gullible. The question was whether the meme that Gore actually claimed to have invented the Internet is true. I believe that the only way to interpret his remarks to Blitzer as actually attempting to claim invention is to willfully misinterpret his words.

      • 0 avatar

        What he said, verbatim, was “created”. The word invented was never uttered. And in most interpretations of what that statement could possibly mean when being spoken by a Congressman is absolutely true and factual.

        Bob Khan and Vint Cerf say as much here – http://amsterdam.nettime.org/Lists-Archives/nettime-l-0009/msg00311.html

        Excerpted – As far back as the 1970s Congressman Gore promoted the idea of high-speed telecommunications as an engine for both economic growth and the improvement of our educational system. He was the first elected official to grasp the potential of computer communications to have a broader impact than just improving the conduct of science and scholarship […] the Internet, as we know it today, was not deployed until 1983. When the Internet was still in the early stages of its deployment, Congressman Gore provided intellectual leadership by helping create the vision of the potential benefits of high speed computing and communication. As an example, he sponsored hearings on how advanced technologies might be put to use in areas like coordinating the response of government agencies to natural disasters and other crises.

        I mean, do we not give Eisenhower credit for the Interstate Highway System? It IS named for him after all. Because he he didn’t “invent” it, did he? But take the initiative to create it? Different meaning altogether.

        Politics. Blaah. My dream, once the kids are grown, is to get a late-model NSX, restore it, and drive it every damn day. Relatively low horsepower figures be damned. The NSX is as close to perfect as a driver’s car could have ever been.

      • 0 avatar

        what he said is exactly what snopes quotes in his transcript. when gore says that he “created” the internet, if you listen to it in context he clearly means that he created the legislation that funded it’s development.

        p.s. i’d love to have an nsx with all its mid engined awesomeness.

    • 0 avatar
      Les

      “Now if you look to your left, and this is a rare treat, you will see the wild Joke in it’s natural habitat… oh… darn, you just missed it.”

  • avatar
    word is bond

    Great Read. I’ve always felt that we enjoy a relationship with cars that we don’t with any other possession.
    Thats why the greatest cars aren’t the ones without flaws, but the ones you love despite their faults.

  • avatar
    vww12

    I don’t know what world you live in, but if you live in Europe or the U.S., your world is incredibly pristine when compared to 1970, 1890, 1910, 1880 and in the particular case of London, 1560.

    What in name of all that is holy do they teach in schools regarding pollution nowadays, anyway?

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      Scary, innit?

    • 0 avatar

      People don’t realize that before fossil fuels, half of arable land was used to feed draft animals and the cities’ and towns’ streets were filled with horse manure and urine. Epidemics of cholera and other diseases were not unknown. Life before the modern age was typically, as Hobbes put it, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.

      And no, the Native Americans (or, if you prefer, Siberian Americans) did not live in harmony with nature. They exploited their environment as far as their technology allowed. As soon as they were introduced to modern technologies, they embraced them.

    • 0 avatar
      WheelMcCoy

      @vww12 – you are unfairly criticizing the author.

      From the article:
      >>>
      even if the world is a much more dangerous, polluted and volatile place than it was when I was 4 years old
      <<<

      He was comparing today to the time when he was 4 years old… which by my guess is around 1992. 1992 was a fairly prosperous and peaceful time for America. 2011? Well, I think we all agree things are not so good.

  • avatar
    stuntmonkey

    Sad but probably for the best, the NSX as it was is best left untouched. It was the right car for it’s time, but the market moves on, and the performance car is moving in a direction that is at odds with Honda’s core principal of building practical economical cars that are environmentally friendly. The NSX as it was (does anybody still remember that “NSX” was the original concept car’s acronym for “New Sportscar ‘X\'”?) showed Ferrari how to build a better 348… and that has since morphed into the 458. The 911 as it was is now no longer a sports car but a ‘super-car’. However, that’s not what the NSX was about, it wasn’t about stuffing in as much power and speed as possible, it was very Japanese in it’s execution… balance, harmony, judiciousness.

    We have an NSX for our times. It’s the GT-R… that’s the car that is showing Ferrari and Porsche how to build an everyday supercar from a Japanese point of view, and it’s brilliant at it. Honda doesn’t do 550bhp supercars, and to be quite frank, they never did. We all talk about how a company has changed over time, but even if they stayed the same, the market moves on.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      The GT-R is an NSX for our insipid times? That really isn’t fair to the NSX. The GT-R is precedented. Previous GT-Rs were more impressive in their times. The biggest flaw of the NSX was its sufficiency. It was exactly as powerful as it had to be to compete with the 964 and 348. Everything else was otherworldly better, but the performance was just in the ball park. The GT-R makes good numbers but is an obscene piece of obama by any other measure.

    • 0 avatar
      wsn

      NSX is more inline with today’s LF-A.

  • avatar
    James2

    Near where I work there’s a pristine red NSX. The car doesn’t look like it’s approaching 20 years old.

    Should Honda do another… forget it. Given the incompetence of its designers they would probably festoon it with the Acura beak.

  • avatar
    Detroit-Iron

    Before I was jaded, I attended journalism school, and in September, 2009, I got a chance to drive the S2000, the last journalist in Canada to do so before Honda retired their press loaner. The day I was due to pick it up was the first day of senior year.

    You graduated in 2010 and you are already “jaded”? Life’s gonna be rough kid.

  • avatar
    TEXN3

    Cool perspective! 2 out of 3 of my favorite vehicles owned have been Hondas: 90 Integra, 98 3.2TL.

    My next vehicles will continue to be from Subaru. But a nice S2000 would be enjoyable.

  • avatar
    jhott997

    Honda should skip it. I was never a fan of the original. Ironically, I always felt it was kind of a poseur car; a wannabe if you will. The silent arrogance of a person who is not quit comfortable with himself that he can drive a 911. It screamed: “I am “wiser” and more practical than you because I bought this NSX instead of 911 but I secretly really want the 911.”.
    As good as it may have been it still ran second or third to the best Weissach or Maranello offered.
    These days the memories of Honda in F1 are ancient history and Honda is now not known for performance, rather practical value in a reliable package. This is proven in the fact that they stretch to make a statement with exterior design.
    Honda, with its limited resources (remember that Honda is one of the last truly independent car makers and capital is a premium for them) is better served shoring up the Civic and Fit franchise for a future, more frugal car buyer.
    Yes, the GT-R is the modern NSX and there is probably only room for one.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      This is one of the worst posts I’ve ever seen. The NSX is great.

      • 0 avatar
        jhott997

        hahaha. very nice. thanks.
        Your post is one of the worst posts I have ever seen. Now we are even.
        I was simply expressing my opinion that the Honda NSX, in my opinion and ironically, was a poseur car.
        As far as a new NSX goes. Do you disagree that Honda lacks the brand equity and the resources/capital to develop a new generation NSX?
        I submit they should skip it and worry about the Fit and Civic franchise.

    • 0 avatar
      wsn

      Judging by how they are driven by real owners on real roads, the 911 is the poser here. Many of them really should have bought a Camry XLE instead.

    • 0 avatar
      WheelMcCoy

      I never thought of the NSX as a poseur car. I always wanted to drive one because I had an ’87 Integra and was thrilled with it. The NSX would be so much more awesome… at least that was what my heart said. My head (and wallet) said NYC is no place for the NSX, or the 911, or any supercar for that matter. But the Integra managed this environment extremely well and I was proud it was related to the NSX.

      Should Honda / Acura work on the NSX? Yes, they need to make car owners proud on the inside. But with Honda’s missteps, they need to approach the new NSX gradually. While the Civic is popular, it is uninspiring. The Civic Si, however, is actually good. The CR-Z hasn’t lived up to expectations, but it’s an interesting car and Honda can learn from the experiment.

      Honda should first introduce a medium priced sports car along the lines of the Mazda RX-8 or Toyota’s upcoming FT-86. Only after Honda has proven itself again, should it attempt a new NSX.

  • avatar
    bud777

    How hard is it to check Wikipedia to see when the NSX run ended? They were made through 2005. Get it right or don’t bother

  • avatar
    cvarrick

    I was convinced that Honda, as a company, was infallible, and the period from 1988-1996 was truly their golden age – or at least the nadir.

    nadir |ˈnādər; ˈnādi(ə)r|
    noun [in sing. ]
    the lowest point in the fortunes of a person or organization : they had reached the nadir of their sufferings.

    Maybe you meant zenith?

  • avatar

    Great article, but I just wanted to say

    ARETHA? yES SWAG

  • avatar
    Sothy

    I’m sorry, but isn’t the Honda HSV-010 GT based on a ‘cancelled’ next-gen NSX? If so, it’s good a potent V8, lots of power, and passes the ‘looks cool’, test, right? What’s the concern here?

  • avatar
    PintoFan

    Honda doesn’t care about any of the values that made the NSX special anymore. All they care about is aping Toyota, which in turn is aping GM circa 1975. It’s about using brand equity to push mediocre or bad products on a supposedly loyal public.

    • 0 avatar
      stuntmonkey

      No, it’s about surviving a troubling world economy and the unfavorable turn of the yen. The market dynamics don’t always favor ‘exceptional products’. It’s a flat to contracting auto market, you’ve got to put bread on the table first.

      Honda and BMW are the last independent automakers of any note. Even BMW (historically, the 2nd highest margins in the industry after Porsche) has had to dilute it’s ‘core’ mission to maintain it’s foot hold.

  • avatar
    seanx37

    “I was convinced that Honda, as a company, was infallible, and the period from 1988-1996 was truly their golden age ”

    You were correct. At that time, they were infallible.

    I have driven an NSX, twice. It felt like any other Honda. Just much faster. It was simple to drive. Simple to operate. Not really much shit inside. Rather simple really. Fast, nimble. It was…great.

    If Honda does it, they need to remember that. It needs to be light, and simple. And pretty. Like all Hondas should be. It doesn’t need to be hyper fast. Or expensive.

  • avatar
    Adub

    The media has been talking about a new NSX or a new engine for an NSX since the mid 90s. I don’t think Honda has it in them to design a new car that is innovative or reliable. They’d probably use the transmission out of an Accord…

    :P

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    Honda has lost it. They shouldn’t bother.

  • avatar
    Crosley

    The NSX was a great car, it really made all of the super cars step up their game. I don’t know how to quantify it, but millions of teenagers lusting after a car your company sells has got to make you money eventually. I know I gave Dodge a second look because of the Viper (it’s a cliche, but it’s true) Honda is REALLY stale right now, it needs an NSX.

    The biggest fault of the car was it just wasn’t “6 figure fast”, a Camaro Z28 would run with it. I know there’s more to a car than straight line acceleration, but it’s a big component of sports cars (especially in the US). Imagine the accolades the car would have gotten had it come from the factory with say 350hp instead of the paltry 270?

    Honda should have put a turbo from the factory on it, problem solved.

    • 0 avatar
      hgrunt

      On paper, the NSX was still competitive. In it’s final iteration, the NSX did 0-60 in 4.7 seconds (IIRC, an 05 Z28 does it in around 5.5) and one NSX variant ran a 7:56.73, recorded by Best Motoring on the Nurburgring. Both are great figures for something that makes less than 300hp. Even compared to it’s competition in 2005-06, like the Porsche Turbo or 360 Modena, the NSX was still competitive.

      However, when you’re looking for a six figure sports car, you want the latest, greatest, and most powerful, preferably before anyone else does, and unfortunately, a 15 year old Acura with only 290hp doesn’t tick those boxes.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    Had the economy not cratered, the HSV-010 GT would have reached production. Honda’s biggest mistake was not seeing that corruption would keep growing the entitled classes under left wing regimes.

    • 0 avatar
      PintoFan

      But aren’t cars like this mostly bought by oligarchs anyway? The ranks of the ultra-wealthy have never stopped growing, but don’t allow that to derail your incredibly narrow view of the world. While Honda stalled on this car, Zonda, Ferrari, and plenty of other niche manufacturers continued to successfully churn out hypercars and make money. What kept the HSV-10 off the market was not a lack of buyers; it was a lack of creative vision on Honda’s part and possibly a lack of engineering talent.

      • 0 avatar
        stuntmonkey

        Fundamentally the NSX suffers from the same issue that Acura suffers from… in the U.S., there isn’t that big a market for ‘smart luxury’. In product terms, luxury is either conspicuous consumption, conspicuous reputation, or conspicuous precision. The NSX hits that last one preciously, but most people shopping for a hot car have more money than brains and are more concerned about conspicuous consumption.

  • avatar
    red60r

    I drove a NSX when they first came out, thanks to an eager salesman who really thought I might trade in my Volvo Turbo. The Acura was very responsive, much more so than the numb Subaru SVX I tried on the same weekend. The Acura guy claimed it was suitable as an everyday driver — no mention of its appetite for those special tires. I did worry about the fate of the aluminum bodywork on the NSX, as well as parking it at the local supermarket and collecting dings in the many coats of hand-rubbed enamel. Some years later, I also tried out a Ferrari 355 F1 Berlinetta. Same “how can I use this every day” worries, plus those $1700 oil changes… but it was a real blast to drive. If you have to wonder how to justify any supercar, don’t bother. Reality bites.

  • avatar
    a cat named scruffy

    I don’t think the LFA matters to 90% of Lexus/Toyota buyers and I don’t think the NSX will matter to most current Honda/Acura buyers.

    If Honda can’t afford to lose buckets of money on this then they should just make a new and better Prelude that they can actually turn a buck on.

    Worry about a new NSX when the economy has recovered and they CAN afford to throw away some money on a prestige car.

  • avatar
    Zykotec

    I have always loved the NSX, but I have never tried one, or even touched one, so it’s kinda hard to really judge it, but it seems that it may have pitched in the wrong direction. Not to mention the fact that Honda didn’t (at least at the time) understand why people buy supercars, or who buys supercars. A bit like VW did with their Phaeton(only a hell of a lot better looking). It was a great car with no market, even if it has gained a large enthusiast following later. It may have done better if it was pitched against Porsche 944’s Mazda RX-7’s and Nissan 300ZX’s instead of going all out on a supercar hunt. The least they could have done was to upgrade the Prelude to take up to a level where it could fill the huge void between the family hatchbacks and the NSX. Honda in many ways act like a small manufacturer trying to survive amongst the big ones, like Studebaker and Rambler in the 60’s.I think they should take more chances from time to time, and not let every cool car they make just die after one model…
    (ps, You know who makes the Indycar V8’s, but has never built a v8 powered passenger car, or SUV or truck or any other car for that matter)

  • avatar

    bleeding like a teenager at a Dashboard Confessional concert

  • avatar
    200k-min

    I have always been a NSX fan. As my father would say, it’s the supercar for the person who doesn’t like to ride around with his mechanic. While not the fastest, especially by today’s standards, it’s handling is superb and the lines are timeless. I wouldn’t buy a NSX to race or test top speeds. No, I want an NSX for a nice cruise on a twisty road with hills and valleys.

    Personally I think the NSX was a failure because it tried to compete with supercars. Rather Honda should have promoted it as competition to the Corvette. The Corvette by comparison is crude, still is today IMO. While I see the Corvette as primarily a “mid-life-crisis” car for aging middle management types that can’t afford an Italian supercar, that is a big segment of car buyers. Much larger than the CEO crowd that actually buys the Ferrari. A new NSX could hit that sweet spot, but please Honda, make it mid-engine.

  • avatar
    Marko

    I always liked the NSX. Truly a timeless car. Honda/Acura needs to bring it back to restore the public’s faith in the capabilities of their engineers after all the recent questionable products.

    They need to prove that they can once again be a leader, not simply a follower.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      The NSX would do nothing to restore the public’s faith in Honda, which really hasn’t eroded all that much in actuality. Honda’s problems could be solved more readily by a) figuring out what they want to do with Acura and sticking to it, and b) ensuring that the Civic, Accord, CR-V and Pilot are as reliable and just as food as the competition.

      It has among bloggers and auto-enthusiasts netizens, but we don’t really count: even if the NSX did some back we’d whinge about heritage or Nurburgring times or suchlike. But honestly, the NSX existence has next to no influence on most buyers, and the money would be better-spent on excising the grey plastic from the Civic.

      • 0 avatar
        PintoFan

        I would have to disagree with that. I think that the NSX sold a lot of Civic Si’s and Integra Type R’s that wouldn’t been purchased have otherwise. It was the NSX that really cemented the idea of Honda as having a “sporty” image rather than just building econoboxes. Americans could care less about things like F1; a halo car is a much more effective marketing tool.

      • 0 avatar
        DC Bruce

        Given the generally tepid reaction to the latest version of the Civic and to Honda’s hybrid efforts (WTF is the point of the CRZ anyway?) I have to agree with you totally. I was glad that I bought — at a modest discount — a new ’08 Pilot, rather than waiting a few months for the “improved” version, which, IMHO wasn’t an improvement in the aspects that I believe needed improving with the Pilot. (Hint: I don’t think the Pilot needed to be even bigger . . . a little smaller would do; and the sense that its engine labors to get it up to speed is not attractive, either.) I do get a sense of a general slippage of Honda’s brand equity. Other than the Fit which is good at being what it is, the improved versions of their classics (Accord, Civic, Pilot) struggle to make the case for improvement. And their hybrid efforts have ranged from tepid (Civic hybrid) to dismal (Insight; When your hybrid gets panned by CR you’re definitely in “dismal” territory) to absolute failure (Accord hybrid).

        I guess the Odyssey is still pretty nice . . . but minivans are, at best, a static market.

      • 0 avatar
        tech98

        Honda really missed the boat with the CRZ. Here was their chance to resusitate the CRX and the sporty brand image from their 80s/90s heyday with a light and athletic vehicle with a sprightly, high-revving conventional gas engine. They wasted it chasing Toyota’s hybrids with an also-ran powertrain.

  • avatar
    brettc

    Valerie Malone (aka Tiffani-Amber Thiessen) used to drive an NSX on the old 90210. I thought that was pretty awesome at the time. Hot girl with a nice car.

    I don’t think Honda should try again based on their recent history of offering failure piles in a mediocrity bowl. (apologies to Patton Oswalt)

  • avatar
    philadlj

    All I know is Acura is in dire need of some excitement, and Honda is in dire need of some innovation.

    Great article. Keep it up!

  • avatar
    Flipper35

    I thought the Miata was the new NSX. Daily drivable with good balance and enough hoursepower, although the Miata doesn’t have the mid-engine supercar look to it. Yes, I know it is an Elan from Mazda really but I was thinking conceptually.)

  • avatar
    John R

    All Honda needs to do (but won’t/shouldn’t) is NOT benchmark the GT-R or LFA.

    Mid-engined; force-fed 6; 300-400bhp; 0-60 between 4-5 seconds; nimble handling; and $65-75k MSRP. THE END.

  • avatar

    The new NSX is going to have to be *exceptional*

    I’m afraid our expectations are going to be set unreasonably high for the car, mine as well. I’m sure the car will be good, but there’s going to be so much criticism from us NSX enthusiasts that I’m afraid it’s going to be next to impossible for them to get this right.

  • avatar
    Zykotec

    Stuff an Indycar V8 under the rear seats of a CR-V carbon body, beef up the suspension,lower it slightly and put two huuuge gullwing doors on it. Claim (thruthfully) that you’ve made a car literally for everyone. Sell it at development costs+shipping. Charge extra for sound insulation.

  • avatar
    Alexdi

    So far as I’m concerned, the NSX replacement already exists. It’s called the Audi R8. The NSX concept pictures are so dreadfully boring and derivative that my heart aches for the tarnish they cast on the original.

    In the spirit of John R above, here’s what I’d like to see:

    Mid-engined; 4.5L equivalent, NA or S/C; 500bhp; 3200 lbs or less; RWD; aluminum; 0-60 in 4 seconds; nimble handling; low window-sills and large windows; $100k MSRP; and nothing in common with the styling of current Acuras.

    Which is all to say, very similar to the original, but more powerful and with a somewhat lower inflation-adjusted MSRP. Something that a Lotus Evora buyer might step up to.

    • 0 avatar
      Zykotec

      You are completely correct. In every aspect the R8 is what the NSX was, except for the fact that germans understand that people want to individualize their cars, so you have options on it.

  • avatar
    cackalacka

    I would encourage Honda to remake the CR-X before re-attempting the NSX.

    And no, I do not consider the CR-Zero to be a worthy remake.

  • avatar
    Desertwind

    I owned an automatic NSX (great for city traffic conditions, but not anywhere as good as the manual version, so I am told). I also have the privilege of currently owning a S200 and FN2 Civic Type R (I live in the UAE). I sold my NSX because I had to, but now I pine for a replacement and may consider a late model manual NSX that has had the benefit of 15 years refinement.

    As for a new NSX, it seems exceedingly confusing as to what they may come up with. The stillborn V10 HSE was to have competed with the Z06 & GTR, but the plug was pulled at the last minute. This obviously caused tremendous ‘loss of face’, yet they canned it at the very last minute. However, the lessons learned along the way remain and would most likely be re-animated to accelerate any replacement NSX. I suppose this would result in a quicker to market replacement than many of us may think. I would therefore look out for the 2012 Tokyo Motor show in Early (January) 2012 for more solid details (specifications and price).

    But what can we expect? As mentioned above, the first NSX came about as result of a sub par product from Ferrari (the mid-engine 348). Into this mix we must recall that Honda was an active participant in Formula 1 and had access to the then greatest modern F1 driver, Ayrton Senna (whose influence on the development of the NSX is similar to what Ferrari had with Michael Shumacher at Ferrari).

    So, Honda felt it had the necessary engineering excellence (confidence) to attempt to come up with a superior product. However, as soon as the NSX was introduced, Ferrari upped the ante with the sublime F355, curing many of the 348’s problems. Sadly, Honda did not react choosing instead to slowly improve/refine the NSX at a far slower pace. The result of which was that the next Ferrari (mid-engined cars) was the superior 360 Modena leapt ahead again. Honda could/would not accept the challenge which, as result, meant that the NSX became irrelevant as a competitor at the very high end. Remember, at this time Lexus had only just started to compete with Mercedes/BMW and it would take a few years for people to accept that a Japanese product could be positioned at that higher selling price level. In my opinion, I feel that Honda got ‘cold feet’ from believing its products would be accepted as a true Ferrari alternative. Fast forward 2 decades, and the Nissan GTR has proved this to be wrong (mind you the GTR itself continued to be ‘invested’ in my Nissan over 5 generations-something that Honda did not do for the NSX).

    To conclude, for Honda to come up with something truly exceptional, they must exceed the GTR and that suggests a product with a price range from $120-150K. However, they may come in under the radar with a product that would sell between $70-100K. If it is the first, they will simply dust off where they left off with the cancelled V10 HSE and tweak it so that it may come to market quickly. If however, they decide to come in at the lower price target, this would be a new product. Ito-san has not made it easy by his statement claiming that the next NSX wouldn’t compete with Ferrari (in terms of Horsepower), however, there is a lot of room below that for anything.

    Time will tell.

  • avatar
    Desertwind

    Oh, I forgot to mention that Japanese cars at the time of the NSX were limited in horsepower by a Gentlemen’s Agreement (Nissan/Toyota/Honda) and the Japanese Government. THis also limited the further evolution of the NSX. Of course, now this does not apply as can be seen in the GTR.

  • avatar
    stottpie

    Could everyone please stop comparing the 2-ton GT-R to the NSX?

  • avatar
    Mpulsiv

    I agree. Get it right or don’t bother at all.

    I sold my ’69, 427 Corvette a number of years ago and ever since had considered a replacement for the adrenalin rush that it had provided. I looked at the various choices that were available. Corvette, Porsche, Viper, Lotus, BMW and even Ferrari. I was looking for something with performance, fun to drive, reliable and unique. Having owned an Acura Legend sedan and then a coupe I knew of the NSX but never really considered it until read up on the car. I test drove a number of cars but at the end I chose the 1997 NSX. Some of the other cars were quicker, higher top end speed and a bit more exotic but for a car with the overall package the NSX had it all. With the discontinuation of the NSX, and talk of a replacement, I hit all of the dealers in town and put my money down for what I thought would be a mid-engine, V-10 monster out of Honda. After waiting for a number of years I went back to the dealers and got my money back realizing that Honda would never build a mid-engine car like the NSX again, which is very unfortunate. Derek, if you are ever in town just give me a call and we’ll take a drive through the mountains of Colorado. You need to experience what I have enjoyed all of these years.


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