When you think of Japanese cars, the first words you might think of could be affordable, reliable, efficient. Not terms to typically describe vehicles like supercars which are known for their lavish performance and high price tag. However, back in the early 90’s, Honda was one of the first Japanese automakers to take that preconception and turn it upside down.
They introduced the NSX, a supercar that was reliable and efficient, yet had the performance ability to keep up with the big dogs.
Honda first unveiled a prototype at the 1989 Chicago Auto Show under the name NS-X, which represented, “New Sportscar eXperimental”. Honda would keep the name and begin production in August 1990 of the mid-engined rear wheel drive 2-seater with an all-aluminum body. It would be powered by a V6 engine featuring Honda’s VTEC system allowing it output substantial power when needed, but be fuel efficient when not.
Production of the NSX would continue on to 2004, with a minor face-lift model being introduced in 2002. The vehicle was originally developed to compete against the Ferrari 328, an Italian-bred supercar which was one of the highest performing cars at the time. When the NSX was introduced to the public, it had critical acclaim for its high performance and daily usability.
Not only was it engineered with the reliability and efficiency with the likes of the rest of the Honda lineup, it was easy to drive and use on a daily basis. One of the car’s characteristics was that the cockpit was designed after that of an F-16 fighter jet’s. Sit inside the driver’s seat of the NSX and you’d be surprised by how much you can see outside. The body may only be 1170 mm high with an even lower seating position, but with its vast front wield shield designed for maximum visibility, the driver can feel safe and confident when driving at the limit.
Now, over 15 years has passed since the introduction of Honda’s original supercar, which was the company’s apex in automotive development and design. 10 years since production has ended and Honda is preparing to release an all-new version of the NSX in 2016. The 2nd generation model is slated to feature a V6 engine mated to 3 electric motors powering all four wheels. Again, Honda has set its sights on the Ferrari 458 for outright performance. Time will tell how the new model will fare with the public.