Honda has brought its new NSX to the Nurburgring as it finalises the development programme ahead of the hybrid supercar’s launch in 2015. The car will be sold as the Acura NSX in the US and the Honda NSX in Europe.
It’s not the first time we’ve seen the 2015 NSX on track; Honda also tested a prototype at the Mid-Ohio Sport Car Course in the US in July 2013. One year on, the new Honda NSX Mk2 is now pounding around the Nordschleife as part of its development programme.
It sounds like they’ll have their hands full; on the same day our spy photos were taken, a Honda NSX prototype caught fire at the Nurburgring. Not as uncommon as you may think in developing new cars – but a potential publicity nightmare for any battery-powered car, all the same.
Honda's response to the NSX fire
CAR asked Honda for a response about the fire. A spokeswoman told us: 'Honda can confirm that an NSX prototype experienced a fire today (July 24th) while testing at the Nurburgring.
'We make safety a top priority, and fortunately no injuries occurred. We are investigating the cause but as the vehicle is still under development, we're not in a position to share details. While an incident like this is unfortunate, the development of the NSX continues its progress toward its highly anticipated launch.'
Honda NSX (2015): the lowdown
The car spied testing at the Nurburgring has changed little from the Honda NSX concept car seen at many recent motor shows since its world debut at the 2012 Detroit motor show.
The front end of the Honda NSX keeps the slimline headlamps and shallow grille of the concept car, which give the hybrid a sinister, pointy nose. Cooling vents for the engine, batteries and brakes pepper the mid-engined NSX and two scoops on the bonnet are clearly visible on this test car at the Nurburgring. Note also the dramatically kinked air intake aft of the door, channeling air to the 3.0-litre V6 mounted amidships but also slipstream around the flying buttresses – you can see clear air on the other side, a bit like Ferrari’s unusual aero bridge on the flanks of the F12 Berlinetta.
Despite the disguise, we can see plenty of details on this Honda NSX. In profile, it’s not dissimilar to an Audi R8 in proportions. At the rear, the engine deck kicks up into an integrated spoiler. It appears to be a fixed rear wing mounted above the lamps, a bit like the wedgy addenda running the full width across a Porsche Boxster’s rump.
The number plate is mounted below the bumper in a U-shaped cut-out above the diffuser. Those C-shaped rear lamps look surprisingly like the lights on an Aston Martin, it has to be said, with the LED units wrapped around a slither of body-coloured metal.
Engine, specs of 2015 Honda NSX
The petrol 3.0-litre VTEC V6 is mounted in the middle – where else for a Honda NSX? – and is paired with front-mounted electric motors. Yes, the new NSX is four-wheel drive and the Super Handling All-Wheel Drive system allows for torque vectoring, just like on Porsche’s 918 Spyder.
All the drive is sent through a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox for whipcrack cog-swapping. It’s too early yet for any official performance claims, but indications are that Honda will claim a sub 4.0sec 0-60mph run with a top speed nudging the 200mph barrier.
However, in an era of easy performance, Honda is gunning for visceral acceleration and driving entertainment over outright v-max figures. Honda has form with hybrid power and will be keen to emphasise the NSX’s usability and parsimony, as much as its performance. Sounds a bit like BMW’s play on its i8 supercar...
When can I buy a new Honda NSX?
Expect to see the new NSX in production guise at a motor show in the second half of 2015. UK sales are slated to start late next year and an open-top NSX is expected around a year after launch.
We’d predict a US premiere again, perhaps at Pebble Beach or the Los Angeles motor show, since north America is bound to prove the NSX’s largest market. Honda is even building the NSX in the US this time – at Acura’s Performance Manufacturing Center in Marysville, Ohio.