Honda aims to reassert itself as a manufacturer of genuine supercars with the next-generation NSX. It's been a long time coming; the original NSX went on sale in 1990 and continued little altered until its demise in 2005. Honda's not taking any chances with its successor: this prototype packs a V10 engine and everything Honda knows about engineering excellence.
Our latest spy photos and exclusive video were shot during recent tests at the Nurburgring in Germany where engineers are conducting high-speed testing while they fettle the aero and chassis. Those Offenbach registration plates betraying Honda's European engineering base are one sign this is the NSX – and Honda officials now openly admit this is indeed the new NSX .
Honda NSX: what we can expect
Detail remains scant on the NSX project. Honda showed the Acura Advanced Sports Car
concept styled by its US design wing at the 2007 Detroit auto show, but that car's GT pretensions and styling received a lukewarm reception.
Word is that Honda sent the project back to the drawing board. This prototype is the best indication yet of how the new NSX will be positioned and it does look significantly evolved from the ASC show car.
Don't forget a car company will typically let all its global design studios have input into a project of this scale, so it's only natural the design will chop and change. The ASC was just one vision of what the 21st century NSX could be.
Why the new NSX will have a V10
Honda's new supercar will be front-engined and Honda CEO and president Takeo Fukui is on record as saying the car will be powered by a V10.
'This car will feature advanced technology and match my passion for performance,’ he said. ‘This will include an all-new V10 engine, Acura’s most powerful ever.’ That points to a dizzy power output of somewhere between 400 and 500bhp – and you can hear it in furious action in our spy video below.
An Acura? That's interesting...
Only to badge snobs. The 2007 concept was badged as an Acura, unsurprisingly since the NSX sold in greatest numbers in the US. We wouldn't be surprised if the next Honda supercar was badged as a Honda and Acura depending on market (there are no plans to introduce Honda's upscale Acura brand in Europe). That's what Honda did last time round.Use the embedded video player below to watch spy footage of the Honda NSX testing at the Nurburgring
We should point out that we don't know at this stage if this car will even be badged NSX. But it will certainly continue where the NSX finished off: a cutting-edge sports car without any of the irritable manners of an Italian thoroughbred.
Click 'Next' to read more about the engineering of the next Honda NSX
Why has Honda ditched the NSX's mid-engined layout?
We can only imagine it was for packaging reasons. And Honda might be keen to cement the links between the new NSX and the rest of its road car range (none of which is mid-engined).
Another potential break from NSX tradition is the drivetrain. Rumours from Honda suits suggest that the new car will pack a four-wheel drive system based on the principles of the company's Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive, as seen on the Legend
. It uses a clever electro-mechancial diff to apportion more torque rearwards and to the outside wheel for a more rear-drive, slippy-slidey driving experience. Think S2000
, not Jazz
The original NSX was resolutely rear-wheel drive. We're sure the late Ayrton Senna – who had a hand in its development – wouldn't have had it any other way.
What else do we know about the new NSX?
Not a huge amount. Close scrutiny of the high-resolution original spy photos reveals that the car will have LED-type rear lights and what looks like a pop-up rear spoiler to keep the tail planted at high speeds. Use the embedded video player below to watch spy footage of the Honda NSX testing at the Nurburgring
There are also what can only be described as absolutely epic brake discs (possibly ceramic) front and rear. It's unclear if the multi-storey exhaust pipes will survive into production; there's currently a bit of a trend for double-decker pipes, à la Lexus IS-F and Ferrari California.
But there's one thing that strikes us more than anything about these latest spy photos. The car looks remarkably production-ready under that heavy disguise. From the sparkly headlamp jewellery to the glimpse of a remarkably finished cabin – we don't think this NSX is far off a motor show debut.
We'd bet we'll see something in the next 12 months. Watch this space...
Can Honda pull off another NSX coup? Click 'Add your comment' and tell us if the new NSX will be as special as the 1990 original
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