News: Countdown to the new Honda NSX begins before Detroit motor show

Would Ayrton Senna approve?

Honda NSX 2015

THE ORIGINAL Honda NSX, launched in 1989, may have been a high performance supercar that forced Ferrari to rethink how it designed, engineered and maintained its cars but it proved a slow burner in the UK, selling like ice creams at the North Pole.

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Its reputation as the ’90s performance car for true enthusiasts is well known, though, and its influence may help to explain why its successor – due to be shown at the Detroit motor show in January – has sold out already.

These are the first teaser pictures of the final iteration of Honda’s upcoming supercar. It was first unveiled at the Geneva motor show in 2013 and a pre-production car was paraded at this summer’s Goodwood Festival of Speed. However, the NSX due to be revealed in Detroit has undergone some minor cosmetic changes, including a new lower front grille and aggressive air intakes on the bonnet.

The company says order books, which opened at the Festival of Speed, are now closed and the UK’s allocation of 100 cars has sold out, with each NSX expected to cost around £75,000 when it launches in 2016.

Honda NSX 2015 rear view

Aside from the NSX legacy, the new Honda supercar could be viewed as a faster, more powerful version of the acclaimed BMW i8. Like the BMW, it is combines a petrol engine and electrically powered motor to give it hybrid propulsion.

However, the NSX’s 3.5-litre V8 and electric motor are expected to produce around 500bhp, compared with the 357bhp produced by the BMW’s 1.5-litre three-cylinder, turbocharged petrol engine and electric motor drivetrain. The Japanese manufacturer refers to its system as Sport Hybrid SH-AWD (Super Handling All Wheel Drive).

Honda has remained tight-lipped about official performance figures and pricing but Ted Klaus, the NSX’s chief engineer, has previously stated that the car has been designed to take on the likes of the Ferrari 458 yet cost around the same as a Porsche 911, Audi R8 or Nissan GT-R.

The original NSX may not have sold particularly well in the UK, but over time the 3-litre V6 model (later 3.2) earned a reputation for being as easy to live with as it was thrilling to drive. Ayrton Senna was consulted during its development, which, conveniently enough, gives Driving an excuse to dig out this period video…