Review of the Honda NSX Coupe
The new Honda NSX Coupe is a sensation. It’s been in the offing for years and was revealed as a concept as far back as 2012. Six years on – and much, much salivating from enthusiasts later – it’s finally here. And it flies like a missile.
It’s a show pony capable of unearthly speeds, but it’s also eco-friendly. Honda hope it’s going to shape the future with its clever tech and not one, not two but THREE electric motors. It can be used for the commute to work, and it’s also fit for the track. But is this monstrous hybrid worth all the hype?
Read more about how Honda went from building motorcycles to cars in our brief history of the manufacturer.
OSV takes a closer look at what it’s all about with our 2018 Honda NSX Coupe review.
Overview of the Honda NSX Coupe
On the Road
The NSX is turbocharged. But while that usually wipes the smile off the faces of enthusiasts everywhere, that needn’t be the case this time around. It’s turbocharged but its 3 electric motors get up to speed in an instant. This means that power at low engine speeds is ridiculous.
Honda haven’t actually announced a 0-62 time yet – boo! – but we expect it to come in at around the 3.0-second mark. The car comes with launch control, and it’s definitely quick out of the traps.
Max speed is pegged at 191mph which makes it competitive with rivals like the Audi R8.
The real issue here, then, is nothing to do with speed. Instead, the NSX Coupe doesn’t make as much of a roar as we’d want it to. It lacks sonic drama and – yes – you can blame the turbochargers for that.
That said, some sound does find its way into the cabin – just not enough.
The engine is mated to a 9-speed twin-clutch automatic ‘box that comes with steering wheel-mounted paddles. Grip is excellent, and if you like you can let the transmission do its thing without any intervention from yourself.
The NSX offers various driving modes, and these are Quiet, Sport, Sport+ and Track. Quiet is ideal for when you just want to chill or commute to work like a “normal” person, and it can survive at speeds of up to 40mph on just electric power.
This isn’t a regular commuter car, of course. Honda themselves describe it thus: “An aggressive daily driver.”
Four-wheel-drive is standard, the car is composed in corners, and it’s nowhere near as intimidating to drive as, say, a Ferrari. However, it’s a heavy car that weighs 170kg more than the Audi R8.
Honda NSX Coupe Interior, Design and Build
Honda have tried to merge two worlds together here – the fearsome sports car world and the luxurious world of the refined, upmarket saloon. It was a daring idea, and they’ve kinda pulled it off.
There’s lots of high-quality metal trim and leather for you to enjoy, while the high centre console cocoons you in the driver’s seat like all good sports cars should do.
The supportive seats manage to be both comfortable and firm, and buyers can choose from four interior colours.
A TFT digital screen sits in the dashboard, and this dispenses with any need for traditional dials. Drivers can configure the screen in any number of ways, and the steering wheel comes with various buttons.
Is the Honda NSX Coupe practical? Honda used a trick when they made sure their seats are easy to access. Front visibility is good thanks to the presence of two very thin windscreen pillars, but rear visibility is a lot more limited and harms the car’s appeal as a “daily driver.”
In terms of how roomy the car is, it isn’t great. Storage spaces include a small glove box and some small door pockets, but a lack of cup holders will frustrate some buyers.
The boot, meanwhile, measures just 125-litres and – unlike the Audi R8 – there is no front boot here.
Is Honda reliable? Read our honest and unbiased assessment of the manufacturer to find out more.
Equipment and Safety of the Honda NSX Coupe
Standard kit is excellent and includes Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, sat-nav, Bluetooth, leather and alcantara trim, ambient lighting, electric windows, twin-zone climate control, keyless entry and start, rear parking sensors, cruise control and LED lights.
In terms of how safe the car is, Euro NCAP haven’t yet put it through its crash test paces and probably won’t at all because cars like this don’t shift in high enough numbers. It looks and feels safe to us, though, and comes with huge, strong brakes that stop the car almost in an instant, and it also offers lots of grip.
Meanwhile, its standard safety kit includes Vehicle Stability Assist with traction control, tyre pressure monitors, a brake assist system and a rollover sensor.
Costs of the Honda NSX Coupe
Prices for the new car start out from £144,765. For more information on our leasing deals, you can check out our page here.
In terms of its running costs, the NSX naturally won’t be cheap to run but its numbers are average for this class. That said, the NSX can be driven around on electric power only, which makes Honda’s official economy figures of 25mpg a tad disappointing.
On the other hand, it’s really hard to argue with those numbers too much when you consider how much power is on offer here and the electric motors do as much for the car’s acceleration as they do for its economy.
Moreover, because of the Honda’s hybrid drivetrain, it actually qualifies for a £130 a year road tax bill. Then again, the fact that it costs more than £40,000 to buy means there’s a £310 surcharge slapped on top of that. Apples and oranges.
Pros and Cons of the Honda NSX Coupe
It scorches the earth with its 0-62 time of 3.0 seconds.
It glides through corners with the agility of a golden eagle and doesn’t feel as heavy as it is.
It works just as well on the commute to work as it does on the track.
Expensive optional extras
Adding any number of them will see the car’s price rocket.
Question marks over safety
The likes of adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and autonomous emergency braking are unavailable.
Honda NSX Coupe vs Audi R8 vs Porsche 911 Turbo
Let’s see how the car fares against its rivals in the comparison section of our 2018 Honda NSX Coupe review.
Honda NSX Coupe vs Audi R8
The new two-door, mid-engined Audi R8 is a stunning supercar that’s powered by an insatiable V10 engine.
One thing the R8 has that the NSX Coupe doesn’t is a thrilling, dramatic soundtrack. The roar of its colossal engine is enough to shake the tarmac under its wheels, while a 0-62 time of 3.2 seconds is enough to burn the tarmac.
0-62 in 3.2 seconds is as fast as this can go, and you’ll have to select the 602bhp variant of the 5.2-litre V10 engine that comes with the four-wheel-drive Plus model to get those numbers.
The standard and RWS models, meanwhile, have to settle for a 533bhp variant of the same engine, and an aching 0-62 time of 3.7 seconds.
All models come paired up with a 7-speed twin-clutch automatic transmission. Like the Honda, you can use the steering wheel-mounted paddles to shift the gears yourself. Leave it to its own devices and the changes are instant.
At low speeds, the R8 is fine but turns into a monster when you put your foot down. Like the Honda, it’s also a car that’s easy to live when you just need to cruise or even get to the office.
Running costs? These were never going to be pretty but the good news is that the new 5.2-litre engine is actually more frugal than the outgoing 4.2-litre unit. Pick the standard two-wheel-drive model and you can return as much as 24.8mpg on a good day. The Plus model adds a bigger engine and four-wheel-drive and returns 23mpg at best.
Of course, these official figures must be taken with a pinch of salt.
Inside, the Audi is well-built and comes with a wraparound dash and sports seats. It’s very driver-focused, while touches of class include brushed aluminium and carbon fibre inserts.
The Virtual Cockpit is the minimalist dashboard’s standout feature and it comes with a 12.3” screen.
Is the Audi R8 practical? It seems like a silly question to ask of a supercar that motors its way from rest to 62mph in 3.2 seconds. Its boot – which is located at the front – measures a paltry 112-litres, which makes it smaller than the Honda. It’s a deep boot, though, but an awkward shape and narrow opening aren’t welcome.
Other than that, you might want to spend £250 extra on the Storage Pack to give the car a bit more substance. This pack comes with some nets and a shelf.
Honda – £144,765
Audi – £112,450 – £141,130
Honda NSX Coupe vs Porsche 911 Turbo
The new Porsche 911 Turbo is one of a handful of cars that can keep up with the Honda, but it’s got one massive advantage over the NSX – it’s a Porsche 911.
It’s also very, very fast.
The Turbo is actually the second fastest model in the 911 range. It develops a fearsome 572bhp and has a 0-62 time of 2.9 seconds. Grip is exceptional but despite these astonishing numbers, the car is nowhere near as intimidating to drive as you might imagine. The noise it makes is a bit special and the steering offers plenty of communication.
The Turbo model benefits from a few extras that the less powerful 911 models don’t get. These include a Sport Chrono Pack, active roll bars, Porsche Dynamic Control and ceramic brakes.
Running costs? The 911 Turbo can return as much as 31mpg on a “good day”, and emits 212g/km of CO2. These are fairly respectable numbers that are helped by a PDK gearbox that comes as standard. However, it will cost you £450 a year to tax.
Inside, the car is more comfortable than its predecessor. It’s also refined and smooth.
As ever, it sports a typical 5-dial layout that comprises a big, centrally mounted rev counter. On the whole, this is a cabin that looks modern, slick and upmarket. Build quality is also excellent, while the low driving position is more comfortable than you’d imagine.
Standard kit, meanwhile, includes sports seats, LED rear lights, sports seats, two-zone climate control, a digital radio, leather upholstery, split-folding rear seats, and a CD player.
Is the Porsche 911 Turbo practical? Compared to the Honda, it is. Naturally, you don’t buy cars like this with practicality at the forefront of your mind, but the fact that the standard 911 has a 145-litre boot feels like a bit of a bonus. That said, this Turbo model comes with four-wheel-drive, which causes the boot to shrink to 125-litres – the same as the Honda.
Its glovebox is a decent size, the car comes with a pair of cup holders (unlike the Honda), but the door bins are too narrow.
Other than that, the car’s wheelbase has been stretched so that there’s now more interior space available than before. However, the rear seats are still only suitable for either kids or more luggage.
Porsche – £77,891 – £207,506
Verdict of our 2018 Honda NSX Coupe Review
The hybrid powertrain means the NSX stands out from its rivals, while its concept-car looks are a feast for the eyes. There’s no doubt that the Honda NSX Coupe is a finely crafted car; the million dollar question is whether or not you think it’s better than a Porsche.
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