New Honda NSX vs old. Is the complexity worth the weight?

By Steve Sutcliffe
Dec 02 2016, 11:59 am
0

New Honda NSX vs old. Is the complexity worth the weight?

Shows how old I am but I went on the launch of the original Honda NSX in the 1980s. The late, great LJK Setright was there, as was half the board at Honda. And our playground for the day was none other than the Nurburgring, the proper old Nurburgring, which Honda had hired for the entire week to show off its new Ferrari rival.

Take the tech away and, well, you’d have something approaching what the original was like to drive…

At one point I managed to spin the new NSX on the track without hitting anything, which, as anyone who’s ever been to the ‘ring will attest to, is an unusual achievement.

I remember a car that sounded lovely, went like stink, had a beautiful gear change and steering that was heavy but precise. I also remember a car that was absolutely dead easy to drive – for a supercar – which was almost certainly the reason why I spun the thing; simply because it didn’t feel threatening or difficult or in any way dangerous near the limit. Unlike the Ferrari 348 from the same era.

The new NSX is nothing like its predecessor. It’s a complex car that’s festooned with technology – three electric motors, twin turbo 3.5-litre V6 engine, four-wheel drive – you name it, the latest NSX has it.

It’s still a lovely car to drive, mind, with the same surprising ease of use as the original. But at nearly 1800kg with a driver on board you can’t help but think that’s it’s too heavy. All that technical complexity has added weight but not necessarily brought excitement with it at the same time. Take the tech away and, well, you’d have something approaching what the original was like to drive. And maybe, after all this time, that’s the way Honda should have gone…

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