Honda NSX

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Honda NSX
Honda NSX reg 1991 2977 cc.JPG
Manufacturer Honda
Also called Acura NSX
Production August 1990 – November 2005
Body and chassis
Class Sports car
Body style 2-door coupé

The Honda NSX, marketed as Acura NSX in North America, is a 2-seater, mid-engine sports car manufactured by Honda. The first-generation prototype debuted in 1989 at the Chicago Auto Show under the developmental code name NS-X, which represented "New", "Sportscar" and "eXperimental". The prototype's name was later adopted as the official name of the production model, with a slight change to NSX. The rear-wheel drive two-seater was the first car from Honda with an all-aluminium body. Powered by an all-aluminium V6 engine, it featured Honda's VTEC (Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control) system developed in the 1980s. The NSX was manufactured in Japan from 1990 to 2005 before being discontinued.

In December 2011, Honda officially announced the second-generation NSX concept, which was unveiled the following month at the 2012 North American International Auto Show. The first production version was shown three years later at the 2015 North American International Auto Show. The all-wheel drive NSX hybrid features a twin-turbo V6 engine and several different computer-controlled drive mode operations. Unlike the first generation, the new NSX is manufactured in the United States.

First generation (1990–2005)[edit]

First generation
Production August 1990 – November 2005
Assembly Takanezawa R&D Plant, Tochigi, Japan (1990–2004)
Suzuka R&D Plant, Suzuka, Japan (2004–2005)
Designer Ken Okuyama (1987)
Masato Nakano (1987)
Shigeru Uehara (1988)
Body and chassis
Layout Transversely mounted mid-engine, rear-wheel drive
Related Honda HSC

2,977 cc (181.7 cu in) C30A V6 270 bhp (201 kW; 274 PS), 210 lb·ft (280 N·m)

3,179 cc (194.0 cu in) C32B V6 290 bhp (216 kW; 294 PS), 224 lb·ft (304 N·m)[1]
Transmission 4-speed automatic
5-speed manual
6-speed manual[1]
Wheelbase 2,530 mm (99.6 in)
Length 4,405 mm (173.4 in) (1991–1993)
4,425 mm (174.2 in) (1994–2005)
Width 1,810 mm (71.3 in)
Height 1,170 mm (46.1 in)
Curb weight (91–92) 3,010 lb (1,370 kg)
(93–94) 3,020 lb (1,370 kg)
(95–96) 3,142 lb (1,425 kg)
(97-01) 3,164 lb (1,435 kg)
(02+) 3,153 lb (1,430 kg)
(02+ NSX-R) 2,809 lb (1,274 kg)


In 1984 Honda commissioned the Italian car designer Pininfarina to design the HP-X (Honda Pininfarina eXperimental),[2] which had a mid-mounted C20A 2.0 L V6 configuration. After Honda committed to the project, management informed the engineers that the new car would have to be as fast as anything coming from Italy and Germany .[3] The HP-X concept car evolved into a prototype called the NS-X, which stood for "New", "Sportscar" and "eXperimental".[4] The NS-X prototype and eventual production model were designed by a team led by Chief Designer Masahito Nakano and Executive Chief Engineer Shigeru Uehara, who subsequently were placed in charge of the S2000 project.

The original performance target for the NS-X was the Ferrari 328, which was revised to the 348 as the design neared completion. Honda intended the NS-X to meet or exceed the performance of the Ferrari, while offering targeted reliability and a lower price point. For this reason, the 2.0L V6 of the HP-X was abandoned and replaced with a more powerful 3.0L VTEC V6 engine.

The bodywork design had been specifically researched Uehara after studying the 360-degree visibility inside an F-16 fighter jet cockpit.[5] Thematically the F-16 came into play in the exterior design as well as establishing the conceptual goals of the NSX. In the F-16 and other high performance craft such as unlimited hydroplanes, open-wheel race cars, etc., the cockpit is located far forward on the body and in front of the power plant. This "cab-forward" layout was chosen early in the NSX's design to optimize visibility while the long tail design enhanced high speed directional stability.[6] The NS-X was designed to showcase several Honda automotive technologies, many derived from its F1 motor-sports program.

The NS-X was the first production car to feature an all-aluminium semi-monocoque unit body,[7] incorporating a revolutionary extruded aluminium alloy frame and suspension components. The use of aluminium saved nearly 200 kg in weight over the steel equivalent in the body alone, while the aluminium suspension arms saved an additional 20 kg (much of it unsprung weight); a suspension compliance pivot helped maintain wheel alignment changes at a near zero value throughout the suspension cycle.[8] Other notable features included an independent, 4-channel anti-lock brake system; titanium connecting rods in the engine to permit reliable high-rpm operation; an electric power steering system;[9] Honda's proprietary VTEC variable valve timing system and, in 1995, the first electronic throttle control fitted to a Honda.

With a robust motorsports division, Honda had significant development resources at its disposal and made extensive use of them. Respected Japanese Formula One driver Satoru Nakajima, for example, was involved with Honda in the NS-X's early on track development at Suzuka race circuit, where he performed many endurance distance duties related to chassis tuning. Brazilian Formula One World Champion Ayrton Senna, for whom Honda had powered all three of his world championship-winning Formula One race cars before his death in 1994, was considered Honda's main innovator in convincing the company to stiffen the NSX chassis further after initially testing the car at Honda's Suzuka GP circuit in Japan. Senna further helped refine the original NSX's suspension tuning and handling spending a whole day test driving prototypes and reporting his findings to Honda engineers after each of the day's five testing sessions.[10] Senna also tested the NSX at the Nurburgring and other tracks.[11] The suspension development program was far-ranging and took place at the Tochigi Proving Grounds, the Suzuka circuit, the 179-turn Nurburgring Course in Germany, HPCC, and Hondas newest test track in Takasu, Hokkaido.[12] Honda automobile dealer Bobby Rahal (two-time CART PPG Cup and 1986 Indianapolis 500 champion) also participated in the car's development.[13]

Official Launch and Production[edit]

The production car made its first public appearances as the NS-X at the Chicago Auto Show in February 1989, and at the Tokyo Motor Show in October 1989 to positive reviews. Honda revised the vehicle's name from NS-X to NSX before final production and sale. The NSX went on sale in Japan in 1990 at Honda Verno dealership sales channels, supplanting the Honda Prelude as the flagship model. The NSX was sold under Honda's flagship Acura luxury brand starting in November 1990 in North America and Hong Kong.

Japanese NSX Police Car (Tochigi Prefectural Police)

Upon its official release, the NSX design concept showcased Honda's technology, and measured only 1,170 mm (46 in) in height, making it only 141.3 mm (5.56 in) taller than the Ford GT40, an extreme GT racing car designed and funded solely to win at LeMans. The Japanese car maker's race track innovations and competitive history were further exemplified on the road by the NSX's ultra-rigid, ultra-light all aluminium monocoque chassis and front and rear double wishbone suspension, with forged control arms connected to forged alloy wheels. The car additionally boasted the world's first production car engine with titanium connecting rods, forged pistons, and ultra high-revving capabilities – the redline was at a lofty 8,000 rpm – all traits usually associated with track and race engineered motor cars. The NSX exterior had a dedicated 23-step paint process, including an aircraft type chromate coating designed for chemically protecting the aluminium bodywork and a waterborne paint for the base coat to achieve a clearer, more vivid top color and a smoother surface finish.

The car's chassis rigidity and cornering/handling capabilities were the results of Ayrton Senna's consulatation with NSX's chief engineers while testing the NSX prototype car at Honda's Suzuka Circuit during its final development.[13] The NSX was initially assembled at the purpose-built Takanezawa R&D Plant in Tochigi from 1989 to early 2004, when it was moved to Suzuka Plant for the remainder of its production life. The cars were assembled by approximately 200 of Honda's highest-skilled and most experienced personnel, a team of hand-picked staff with a minimum of ten years assembly experience employed from various other Honda facilities to run the NSX operation.[3] After studying their main competitors such as Ferrari, Lamborghini and Porsche, Honda engineers designed the NSX in search of the "perfect balance" between usable power and reliability and thus produced a powerful naturally aspirated VTEC engine suitable for the extreme demands of both road and track.

A Honda NSX engine bay.

Production of the first generation NSX ended on November 30, 2005. Sales in the United States and Canada ended in 2000 and 2005, respectively.

As of the end of June 2005, the NSX achieved total worldwide sales of more than 18,000 units over 15 years.[14]

1992 NSX-R (Japanese Domestic Market)[edit]

NSX Type R

While the NSX always was intended to be a world-class sports car, engineers had made some compromises in order to strike a suitable balance between raw performance and daily driveability. For those NSX customers seeking a no-compromise racing experience, Honda decided in 1992 to produce a version of the NSX specifically modified for superior on-track performance at the expense of customary creature comforts. Thus, the NSX Type R (or NSX-R) was born. Honda chose to use its moniker of Type R to designate the NSX-R's race-oriented design.

Honda engineers started with a base NSX coupe and embarked on an aggressive program of weight reduction. Sound deadening, the audio system, spare tire, air conditioning system and traction control along with some of the electrical equipment was removed. The power leather seats were replaced with lightweight carbon-kevlar racing seats made by Recaro for Honda. However, electric windows and fore/aft electric seat adjusters were retained. The stock forged alloy wheels were replaced with lighter forged aluminium wheels produced by Enkei, which reduced the car's unsprung weight. The stock leather shift knob was replaced with a sculpted titanium piece. Overall, Honda managed to remove approximately 120 kg (265 lb) of weight, giving the NSX-R a final weight of 1,230 kg (2,712 lb).

Tuning the suspension, it was well known[by whom?] by 1992 that the NSX, due to its mid-engine layout and rear-end link travel, was susceptible to a sudden oversteer condition during certain cornering maneuvers. While this condition rarely occurred during spirited street driving, it was much more prevalent on race tracks where speeds were much higher. To address the problem and improve the NSX-R's cornering stability at the limit, Honda added one aluminum bracket under the front battery tray and added one aluminum bracket in front of the front radiator to add more chassis rigidity then replaced the entire suspension with stiffer front sway bar, stiffer suspension bushings, stiffer coil springs and stiffer dampers.

The stock NSX has a somewhat rearward bias in its spring and bar rates, where the rear is relatively quite stiff versus the front. This means that the lateral load transfer distribution, or the amount of load that is transferred across the front axle versus the rear while cornering, is rather rear biased. This can make the car quite lively and easy to rotate at low speed, but in higher speed corners this effect becomes more pronounced and can be a handful to manage. To reduce the tendency to oversteer, Honda fitted softer rear tires on the NSX. For the NSX-R, Honda reversed the spring bias, placing stiffer springs on the front suspension along with stiffer front sway bar. This shifts the load transfer stiffness balance farther forward, resulting in more rear grip at the expense of front grip; this has the effect of decreasing the oversteer tendency of the car, making it much more stable in high speed corners. Overall, the NSX-R uses much stiffer front sway bar along with stiffer springs than the stock NSX (21.0mm xt2.6mm front sway bar :F 3.0 kg/mm—R 4.0 kg/mm for the NSX versus F 8.0 kg/mm—R 5.7 kg/mm for the NSX-R).

Honda also increased the final drive ratio to a 4.235:1 ring and pinion gear in place of the 4.06:1 stock unit, which moved the NSX-R's shift point speeds closer together. This change improved acceleration at the expense of top speed, and a higher (percentage) locking limited-slip differential was installed. Also, the NSX-R 3.0 liter DOHC VTEC V-6 engine had a blueprinted and balanced crankshaft assembly which is exactly the same labour-intensive high precision process done for Honda racing car engines built by highly qualified engine technicians.

The lightest of all NSX variants at 1,230 kg (2,712 lb), the First-Gen NSX-R is capable of blistering track performance, though the ride can be jarring and noisy due to the stiff suspension bushings, stiff spring rates and lack of sound insulation.

Beginning in late November 1992, Honda produced a limited number of 483 NSX-R variants exclusively for the Japanese domestic market (JDM). Factory optional items as air conditioning, Bose stereo system, Carbon fiber trim center console with Carbon fiber door trim and starting in 1994 Championship White painted larger wheels (16" front wheels and 17" rear wheels) were available for a hefty premium. Production ended in September 1995.

1995 NSX-T[edit]

Beginning in 1995, the NSX-T with a removable targa top was introduced in Japan as a special order option and in North America in March 1995.[15] The NSX-T replaced the standard coupe entirely in North America as the only version available post 1994 and all NSXs thereafter were in targa form with the notable exceptions of the Zanardi Special Edition NSX in 1999 and a handful of special order post-1997/pre-2002 3.2-litre coupes. The European market continued to offer both body styles. The removable roof resulted in decreased chassis rigidity and Honda added about 100 pounds (45 kg) of structural reinforcements to compensate, including significantly thicker frame sidesill rocker panels (the body component which contributes most to the chassis's rigidity[16]), bulkheads, roof pillars and the addition of new front/rear bulkhead and floorpan crossmembers. The targa models, produced for the rest of the NSX's production run thru 2005, sacrificed weight and some of the original coupe's chassis rigidity in return for an open cockpit driving experience. In addition to this major change, all subsequent NSX-Ts (1995–2001) had smaller-diameter front sway bars, slightly stiffer front springs, softer rear springs and firmer shock-dampers[17] to improve ride comfort and tire wear while reducing the tendency towards oversteer common in mid-engined vehicles. All roofs post 1995 were now body-coloured instead of black, although in Japan, the two-tone black roof/body colour was still available as an optional feature. A lighter version of the variable ratio electric assisted power steering rack, previously found exclusively in the automatic transmission equipped NSXs, became standard on all models. Starting in 1995 the 5-speed transmission's second gear ratio was lowered by 4.2% to improve driveability and provide better response and automatic transmissions received an optional Formula One-inspired Sport Shift with a unique steering column mounted electronic shifter. Manual transmission cars received an improved Torque Reactive limited-slip differential – when combined with a new Throttle-By-Wire system, increased corner exit speeds by 10%. Other innovations beginning in 1995 included a new and lighter exhaust and muffler configuration for greater efficiency and lower emissions, an OBD-II onboard diagnostic system, improvements in the Traction Control System (TCS) and newly developed fuel injectors.

1997 performance upgrades[edit]

In 1997, Honda introduced the NSX's biggest performance upgrades for all its worldwide markets. Engine displacement increased from 3.0 L to 3.2 L[18] using a thinner fiber-reinforced metal (FRM) cylinder liner. The exhaust manifold was reconfigured and made of stainless steel header pipes rather than a cast-iron manifold for improved performance and lighter weight. The increased flow from this new configuration was a key contributor to the 20 additional horsepower drawn from the new engine. This revised 3.2 L C32B engine gave it slightly more rated power: from 274 PS (202 kW; 270 hp) to 294 PS (216 kW; 290 hp) while torque increased from 285 N·m (210 lb·ft) to 305 N·m (225 lb·ft) (manual transmission only).[1] The net result increased the horsepower to weight ratio of the NSX by 7%. The 4-speed automatic model retained its 3.0 L engine and 252 hp power output.[1] Another big change was the adoption of a 6-speed manual transmission with closer gear ratios and the addition of 3rd to 4th gear dual cone synchronizers. To handle the new engine's added torque and power the small diameter twin-disc clutch system of the 5-speed was replaced by a dual-mass low-inertia single disc clutch system. To offset the weight increase of the new 6-speed transmission and larger brake rotors, which were upped from 11.1 in (280 mm) to 11.732 inches (298 mm), key body parts were made with a new aluminum alloy that was up to 50% stronger allowing thinner lighter material to be used in the doors, fenders, and front and rear deck lids without any sacrifice of strength. Using this hi-strength alloy the net curb weight increase, despite adding many improvements, was only 22 lbs. Other notable changes included a keyless entry system and vehicle immobilizer system. The combination of slightly increased power and torque and a 6-speed gearbox, with ratios optimized to improve straight-line acceleration, produced better performance numbers over previous models than the modest increases would suggest. Motor Trend[19] and Road and Track (Feb 97) tests of 3.2L 6-speed equipped NSX-T (Targa) roofed cars produced 0–60 mph times of 4.8 and 5.0 seconds and quarter-mile times of 13.3s and 13.5s respectively.[20] 0–60 mph times dropped to as low as 4.5 seconds using a 3.2L hard top coupe model as recorded by Car and Driver in their August 1998 0–150–0 issue. That NSX proved to be the fastest ever tested in North America. When Car and Driver tested the 1999 Zanardi special edition coupe a year later it produced a 4.8s 0–60 and a 13.2s quarter-mile. Although magazine tests for the 02+ models were rare Honda apparently kept improving the engine as Sports and Exotic Car magazine did a farewell article on a 2005 NSX-T and recorded a 0–60 time of 4.7s and a 13.1s quarter-mile.

1997 NSX-S and S-Zero (JDM)[edit]

Along with the engine displacement increase in 1997, Japan exclusively received the NSX type S (NSX-S) and NSX type S Zero (NSX-S-Zero), weighing in at 1,320 kg (2,910 lb) and 1,280 kg (2,820 lb) respectively. Both had a stiffer suspension than the normal NSX. S-Zero was developed in a track day car that could be driven so that it had a 3.2L engine, rather than just 3.0L.

Unlike the standard Type S, the S-Zero does not offer Air Conditioning, navigation, and stereo system as an option. The suspension is stiffer than the standard Type S by using the NA1 Type R (1992 to 1995) suspension but retaining the Type S's larger rear sway bar. Changes were also made to the interior's manual transmission boot shifter, replacing the original material from leather to mesh.

1999 NSX "Alex Zanardi" edition (USA)[edit]

Produced exclusively for the United States, the Alex Zanardi Edition NSX was introduced in 1999 to commemorate Alex Zanardi's two back-to-back CART Champ Car championship wins for Honda / Acura in 1997 and 1998. Only fifty-one examples were built, and they were available only in New Formula Red to reflect the color of the Champ Car Zanardi drove for Chip Ganassi Racing.

The Zanardi Edition was similar to the Japanese market NSX Type S. Visible differences between the Zanardi Edition and the Type S were the Zanardi's left-hand drive, black leather and suede seats with red stitching, airbag-equipped Acura steering wheel, and a brushed-aluminium plaque with an engraved Acura logo, Zanardi's signature, and a serial number on the rear bulkhead. Total vehicle weight is reduced 149 pounds (68 kg) compared to the NSX-T, through the use of a fixed hard-top roof, lighter rear spoiler, single pane rear glass, lightweight BBS alloy wheels, a lighter battery, and a manual rack-and-pinion steering system in place of the electric power steering.

Zanardi Number 0 was a press car that also appeared in auto shows across the country. In a handling test in Road & Track's June 1999 issue, this Zanardi NSX placed second against the Dodge Viper GTS-R, Lotus Esprit, Porsche 911 Carrera 4, Ferrari F355 Spider, and Chevrolet Corvette C5 Coupe. The car was also featured in Car and Driver's July 1999 issue before being sold to a private individual.[citation needed]

Zanardi Number 1 belongs to Zanardi himself and was not given a North American VIN. The car is rumored to have been modified by Honda with hand-activated throttle, braking, and shifting mechanisms to accommodate Zanardi's loss of both legs resulting from his Lausitzring crash in 2001.[citation needed]

Zanardi numbers 2 through 50 were sold to the general public through dealers.

2002 NSX facelift[edit]

NSX after facelift

The original NSX body design received only minor modifications from Honda in the new millennium when in December 2001 the original pop-up headlamps were replaced with fixed xenon HID headlamp units, along with slightly wider rear tires to complement a revised suspension. Front spring rates were increased from 3.2 kg/m to 3.5 kg/m, rear spring rates were increased from 3.8 kg/m to 4.0 kg/m and the diameter of the rear stabilizer bar increased from 17.5 mm to 19.1 mm with a 2.3 mm wall thickness.

The fixed roof NSX was dropped in 2002 (North America). The NSX was now made available in a number of exterior colors with either a matching or black interior to provide a number of possible color combinations. A 4-speed automatic transmission with manual-type shift option also became available.

NSX-R (JDM) facelift[edit]

A second iteration of the NSX-R was released in 2002, again exclusively in Japan. As with the first NSX-R, weight reduction was the primary focus for performance enhancement. The chassis is based on the fixed-roof coupe, due to its lighter weight and more rigid construction. Carbon fiber was used to a large extent throughout the body components to reduce weight, including a larger, more aggressive rear spoiler, vented hood and deck lid. The vented hood was said to be the largest one-piece carbon-fiber hood in production cars. Additionally, the original NSX-R weight reduction techniques were repeated, including deletion of the audio system, sound insulation and air conditioning. Furthermore, the power steering was removed. A single-pane rear divider was again used, as were Recaro carbon-kevlar racing seats. Finally, larger yet lighter wheels resulted in a total weight reduction of almost 100 kg (220 lb) to 1,270 kg (2,800 lb).

The 3.2L DOHC V6 engine received special attention as well. Each NSX-R engine was hand assembled by a skilled technician using techniques normally reserved for racing programs. Components of the rotating assembly (pistons, rods and crank) were precision weighed and matched so that all components fell within a very small tolerance of weight differential. Then, the entire rotating assembly was balanced to a level of accuracy ten times that of a typical NSX engine. This balancing and blueprinting process significantly reduced parasitic loss of power due to inertial imbalance, resulting in a more powerful, free-revving powerplant with excellent throttle response. Officially, Honda maintains that the power output of the Second-Gen NSX-R engine is 290 bhp (220 kW), which is identical to the stock NSX. The automotive press, however, has long speculated that the true output of the engine is higher.

Creating the impression of increased power the accelerator was remapped, becoming much more sensitive to movement, particularly at the beginning of the pedal's new shorter stroke.[21] This, coupled with the harsh suspension, makes it very hard for the driver to drive smoothly at low speeds on streets with even slight bumps. The lack of power steering has also been noted by drivers as making the car tiring and hard to steer at low speed.[22]

The result of Honda's second NSX-R effort was a vehicle that could challenge the latest sports car models on the track, despite having a base design that was more than 15 years old. For example, noted Japanese race and test driver Motoharu Kurosawa piloted a 2002 NSX-R around the Nurburgring road course in 7:56, a time equal to a Ferrari F360 Challenge Stradale.[23] The NSX-R accomplished this feat despite being out-powered by the Ferrari by over 100 bhp (75 kW).

NSX-R GT (JDM)[edit]

After the release of the facelifted NSX-R, Honda developed a more agile, more responsive, and quicker limited edition NSX-R called the NSX-R GT. The NSX-R GT was created by Honda solely to comply with the Super GT production-based race car homologation requirements. As JGTC rules required at least five production cars for any race car version to compete, the NSX-R GT was limited to a production run of only five cars.

The differences between the Second-Gen NSX-R and the NSX-R GT are not fully known. One clear difference is the addition of a non-functional snorkel attached to the roof of the car. In the JGTC NSX race cars however, this snorkel is fully functional, feeding outside air to an individual throttle body intake plenum. The NSX-R GT also has a lowered suspension and widened body. More aggressive aerodynamic components such as an extended front spoiler lip and large rear diffuser are used as well. It also is speculated that the NSX-R GT incorporates more weight savings over the NSX-R. Honda never advertised what, if any, changes were made to the 3.2L DOHC V6 for the NSX-R GT.

NSX-S (JDM) facelift[edit]

The second iteration NSX-S, sold exclusively in Japan like other sports NSXs, continues with the face-lifted NSX keeping the weight at 1,320 kg (2,910 lb).

2008 NSX Mugen RR concept[edit]

At the 2008 Tokyo Auto Salon, Honda unveiled a Honda NSX Mugen RR concept vehicle, which included 255/35R18 and 335/30R18 tires, widened front, multi-grooved rear diffuser, adjustable rear wing.[24] The Mugen NSX RR concept is powered by a modified 3.2L V6, and has had its mounting changed from transverse to longitudinal. The change in mounting position, done in-house at Mugen's facility via custom mounts, subframe, transmission, and other key components, allows for better power transfer to the rear wheels, and for a better exhaust flow that goes straight out the rear of the car rather than under the engine and then out.


Safety Car[edit]

Since the beginning of the NSX's production, the car has been used as a safety car at the Suzuka Circuit, even for the Japanese Grand Prix in its early years of production, and is still used at the circuit. The car is also used for the same role at Twin Ring Motegi, the other circuit owned by Honda.

24 Hours of Le Mans[edit]

The 1995 class-winner "Team Kunimitsu" NSX-GT2

The NSX made three appearances at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, in 1994, 1995, and 1996.

Three Honda NSXs were entered in the 1994 24 Hours of Le Mans. Cars numbers 46, 47 and 48 were prepared and run by team Kremer Racing Honda, with Team Kunimitsu assisting and driving the number 47 car. All were in the GT2 class, and all completed the race, but placed 14th, 16th and 18th.[25]

Three Honda NSXs were entered in the 1995 24 Hours of Le Mans. Honda's factory team brought two turbocharged NSXs which were entered in the GT1 class numbered 46 and 47. Team Kunimitsu Honda prepared and entered a naturally aspirated NSX into the GT2 class numbered 84. Car 46 finished but was not classified for failing to complete 70% of the distance of the race winner. Car 47 did not finish due to clutch and gearbox failure. Car 84, driven by Keiichi Tsuchiya, Akira Iida, and Kunimitsu Takahashi, finished first in the GT2 class and 8th overall after completing 275 laps. This NSX was featured in the original Gran Turismo.[26]

For the 1996 24 Hours of Le Mans, only the Team Kunimitsu Honda NSX returned with the same drivers. It completed 305 laps to finish in the 16th position overall, and third in the GT2 class.[27]

Race modified NSX in the paddock of the Hockenheimring

Super GT[edit]

For use in the Super GT (formerly the JGTC), the NSX has been highly modified (as allowed by series technical regulations) with chassis development by Dome, engine development by Mugen, for Honda.

Externally the NSX shape has developed race by race, season to season to the demands of increasing aerodynamic downforce within the regulations. The most notable change is the position of the V6 engine, which is mounted longitudinally instead of transversely as per the roadcar. Similar to the setup used in modern Lamborghinis, the gearbox is located in the center tunnel under the cockpit and is connected to the rear differential by a driveshaft. Engines can either be turbocharged or naturally aspirated, depending on the class and on the rules.

Prior to rule changes beginning in the 2003 season, the Super GT/GT500 NSX was powered by a specially modified version of the C32B V6 engine. Using a stroker crankshaft from Toda Racing, the naturally aspirated engine displaced 3.5 liters and produced nearly 500 bhp. Beginning in 2003, Honda substituted a highly modified C30A, augmented by a turbocharger, which also produces up to 500 bhp.

The NSX continued to be used as the works Honda car in the GT500 class, even though it is no longer in production, until it was replaced in 2010 with the HSV-010. New 2014 regulations however will render the HSV-010 obsolete; Honda's 2014-spec GT500 car is to be based on the 2015 NSX, along with plans for a GTE version from 2015 onwards.

NSX competition vehicle during Super GT competition

Cars were entered by Raybrig and ARTA in the 2005 Super GT season, Castrol Mugen Motorsports in 2000, Loctite in 2001 and Epson in the 2007 Super GT season.

Honda NSX Super GT specifications[edit]

Year 2009 final specification

  • Chassis: Carbon fiber reinforced aluminium frame, steel Roll cage, JAF (Japan Automobile Federation) approval.
  • Engine: Custom-built Honda engine, water-cooled V6 Normally aspirated (Longitudial-mounted), 3.494 liters, DOHC, 4-valves per cylinder.
  • Speed: 191 mph (307 km/h)
  • Fuel: Unleaded 100 RON gasoline.
  • Lubrication: Mobil 1, BP, MOTUL, Elf.
  • Fuel delivery: Fuel injection.
  • Wheelbase: 2,530 mm.

World Challenge[edit]

The NSX was entered in the SCCA World Challenge prior to the redesign in 2002.

Second generation (2015–present)[edit]

Second generation
Detroit NAIAS 2015 2016 Acura NSX.JPG
2016 Acura NSX
Production 2015 – now
Model years 2015[28] – now
Assembly Performance Manufacturing Center,
Marysville, Ohio, United States
Designer Michelle Christensen
Body and chassis
Class Supercar
Body style 2-door coupe
Layout Longitudinal, Mid-engine, four-wheel drive
Engine Longitudinally mounted 3.5L Twin-Turbo V6, dual front electric motors, rear electric motor[29]
Transmission 9-speed dual clutch automatic[29]
Wheelbase 2,630 mm (104 in)
Length 4,470 mm (176 in)
Width 1,940 mm (76 in)
Height 1,215 mm (47.8 in)


In December 2007, American Honda CEO, Tetsuo Iwamura, confirmed a new supercar powered by a V10 engine would make its introduction to the market by 2010.[30] The new sports car would be based on the Acura ASCC (Advanced Sports Car Concept) introduced at the 2007 North American International Auto Show.[31] With Honda CEO Takeo Fukui challenging the developers to make the vehicle faster than its rivals,[32] prototypes of the vehicle were seen testing on the Nürburgring in June 2008.[33] On December 17, 2008, Fukui announced during a speech about Honda's revised financial forecast that, due to poor economic conditions, all plans for a next-generation NSX had been cancelled.[34] In March 2010, the Acura NSX project changed name to Honda HSV-010 GT and was entered in the Japanese SuperGT Championship. The HSV-010 GT is powered by a 3.4-liter V8 sending somewhere in excess of 500 hp (373 kW) through the sequential manual gearbox from Ricardo.[citation needed]

In April 2011, Automotive News reported that Honda is developing a new sports car to be a successor to the NSX.[35] It reports that Honda CEO Ito said the car would be exhilarating to drive but also environmentally friendly. It is expected the vehicle will incorporate an electric drivetrain to give the petrol engine a boost.[36] Back in late 2010, Motor Trend reported that Honda was looking into a mid-engine hybrid sports car to be an NSX successor.[37]

In December 2011, Acura announced that they would show the next generation NSX in concept form at the 2012 North American International Auto Show. On January 9, 2012, Acura unveiled the 2012 Acura NSX Concept.[38]

2012 Acura NSX Concept

The new concept retained a 2-door coupe, mid-engine layout but with all-wheel drive. The use of a high-tech platform made from lightweight materials permitted weight to be kept down. Power came from a V6 mounted behind the cockpit, sending its output to the rear wheels. Acura's SH-AWD incorporates one electric motor in a dual-clutch transmission to augment the thermal engine thus forming a hybrid setup. Additionally, two more electric motors able to instantly send negative or positive torque to the front wheels during cornering also formed part of the powertrain.

Acura claimed the resulting all-wheel drive system would provide better handling and Ferrari 458-matching acceleration while offering greater efficiency relative to the naturally aspirated 4.5-Litre V8 engine on the rival supercar.

Marketing and reception[edit]

In September 2011, during filming of The Avengers, Robert Downey, Jr. (playing the role of Iron Man) was spotted in an exotic sports car based on the new NSX, made specifically for the film,[39] rather than the Audi R8 he previously drove in Iron Man and Iron Man 2.[40][41] The car itself was built by Trans FX using an existing 1992 NSX.[42]

A Super Bowl advertisement for the vehicle began airing in early February 2012, featuring Jerry Seinfeld and Jay Leno.

In 2013, Acura launched an online configuration tool for the new NSX on Facebook.[43] Later that year, the car was featured in the video game Gran Turismo 6.[44]

Referring to the second generation NSX, noted automotive design critic Robert Cumberford said that its "very hard to mess up the styling of a mid-engine sports car... but Acura has managed it."[45]

Official Launch and Production[edit]

2016 Acura NSX

On December 27, 2014, Honda announced that its second-generation NSX would debut at the 2015 North American International Auto Show. The introduction of the 2015 Acura NSX on January 12, 2015 was broadcast live on YouTube.

At the same time, Honda announced the European debut for the NSX at the 85th Geneva Motor Show, alongside the fourth generation Civic Type R.[46]

Mechanically, the second generation NSX represents a significant departure from the first generation since it features a twin-turbocharged 75-degree DOHC 3.5L V6 engine producing 500 bhp (373 kW; 507 PS), mated to a three-electric motor Sport Hybrid SH-AWD system and a 9-speed dual-clutch transmission (DCT).[29] The total output is 573 bhp (427 kW; 581 PS). The 2015 NSX accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 2.9 seconds, and has a top speed of 307 km/h (191 mph).[47] Structurally, the body utilizes a space frame design, which is made from aluminum, ultra-high strength steel, and other rigid and lightweight materials, some of which are world's first applications.

Production of the second generation NSX commenced in 2015 at the Honda Performance Manufacturing Center in Marysville, Ohio, which is housed inside Honda's former North American Logistics facility and located in the midst of Honda's existing R&D and production engineering operations. The powertrain is separately assembled by Honda associates at its engine plant in Anna, Ohio.[48][49]

2015 Honda NSX Concept unveiled at 12th Auto Expo 2014 in New Delhi.

The table below indicates the change in dimensions, relative to the original second generation concept car presented in 2012:

Second-gen NSX 2012 NSX Concept Difference 2005 NSX Difference
Length 4,470 mm (176 in) 4,390 mm (173 in) +80 mm (3.1 in) 4,425 mm (174.2 in) +45 mm (1.8 in)
Width 1,940 mm (76 in) 1,915 mm (75.4 in) +25 mm (0.98 in) 1,810 mm (71 in) +130 mm (5.1 in)
Height 1,215 mm (47.8 in) 1,200 mm (47 in) +15 mm (0.59 in) 1,170 mm (46 in) +45 mm (1.8 in)
Wheelbase 2,630 mm (104 in) 2,610 mm (103 in) +20 mm (0.79 in) 2,530 mm (100 in) +100 mm (3.9 in)
Front track 1,655 mm (65.2 in) 1,510 mm (59 in) +145 mm (5.7 in)
Rear track 1,615 mm (63.6 in) 1,540 mm (61 in) +75 mm (3.0 in)



Honda NSX Concept-GT at the 2014 Suzuka 1000 km

The NSX Concept-GT, a race car based on the NSX concept, made for the GT500 class of the 2014 Super GT season, was unveiled in Round 5 of the 2013 Autobacs Super GT at Suzuka Circuit.[51][52] The NSX Concept-GT got its first pole by Keihin Real Racing at Fuji Speedway in August and the race was won by the Weider Dome Racing team.

Echoing the exploits of the first generation, Honda announced plans to develop a GTE racing version of the new NSX to compete at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, starting in 2015. Although it is unknown whether this will be a factory effort or as part of a customer program, Honda appears set to race in America, most likely in the United SportsCar Championship.[53] In an interview with Racer magazine in July 2015, HPD Vice President Steve Eriksen hinted that the changes in LMP2 regulations proposed for 2017 - which would rule out manufacturer-linked entries such as HPD's ARX-04b - could prompt them to use the NSX in the USCC or WEC.[54]



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  • Clarke, R.M., ed. (2000). Acura-Honda NSX Performance Portfolio 1989–1999. Road Test Portfolio Series. Cobham, Surrey, UK: Brooklands Books. ISBN 1855204282. 
  • Clarke, R.M., ed. (2010). Honda-Acura NSX Ultimate Portfolio 1989–2005. Road Test Portfolio Series. Cobham, Surrey, UK: Brooklands Books. ISBN 978-1855208872. 
  • Hosaka, Takefumi; Hamazaki, Minoru (1991). Development of the Variable Valve Timing and Life (VTEC) Engine for the Honda NSX. SAE series, no 910008. Warrendale, PA, USA: Society of Automotive Engineers. OCLC 51038054. 
  • Jackson, Terry (1992). Japanese Super Cars. London: Apple Press. pp. 6–23. ISBN 1850763658. 
  • Long, Brian (2006). Acura NSX: Honda's Supercar. Dorchester, Dorset, UK: Veloce Publishing. ISBN 1904788432. 

Workshop manual[edit]

  • Ancas, Mike (2004). Honda and Acura Performance Handbook. Motorbooks Workshop series (2nd ed.). St Paul, MN, USA: Motorbooks International. ISBN 0760317801. 

External links[edit]

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