I am going to start this article by saying that I have nothing against the Audi R8 in any way, shape or form. In many aspects the R8 is a very nice car. Well designed, well engineered and very well respected in its own right. However, and this is a purely personal opinion mind you, as something to stir the soul, the R8 is quite flat.
If I may liken the supercar world to the female gender in general, the R8, to my eyes is that girl who on paper has everything, pretty, smart, funny, nice to chat with… But lacking a certain joie de vivre. In every sense of the word there is nothing wrong with her, but you couldn’t get yourself to ask her out. She seems to have everything, but not that undefinable something which you are looking for. The R8 is the same. Design is great, powertrain is wonderful, cabin is second to none, and yet I don’t want one. However, this is where the new NSX comes in.
The NSX, when it eventually arrives in a couple of years time, will hit the same sort of market as the R8, that of an everyday supercar. I can tell you from the offset that the NSX will be built as well as, if not better than the Audi, because Japanese cars are bulletproof by their very nature. Its powertrain, judging by what I have read obviously, will be more high tech than the Audi, although in fairness to the Audi, a new R8 is on the horizon. Then there is the NSX’s design. My oh my. It certainly looks futuristic. Its got hints of other European cars, like the rear lights, which have a whiff of One-77, and certain details remind me of the R8,yet these details are more angular, more… Japanese. I don’t usually like Japanese, but this one, just looks cool. It makes the eight year old inside me scream and shout like its Christmas morning. Then there is the interior. It seems to be inspired by the Lexus LF-A, very driver focused but in the NSX, it looks more simplified, which is what you want from a supercar really. Supercars do not need radar guided cupholders and infrared headlamp washers. Sure you want aircon, satnav, and electric windows, but thats it. Keep the weight down. Supercars are all about the driving, and the wow-factor when its seen on the roads.
The last thing I like about the NSX is the name. NSX. Yes that 90s supercar which Rowan Atkinson owns or owned… I am not entirely sure if he still has it. The 90s NSX was a bit of a sales flop, for reasons that are still unknown to me. Maybe it was the badge? The original NSX had all the elements to be a huge success, great engineering, well built and usable. It wasn’t exactly cheap, it was cheap by supercar standards. I even liked the design. It was different. Maybe that’s what ruined it. It was too different. Typically Japanese cars are strong on the engineering front but a little weak in the design department (I am looking at you Subaru Imprezas, Mitsubishi Evos and Nissan Skylines). They were boys racers going for function over form, with huge wings on the back, fins everywhere and huge swollen bumpers. No real style. They were designed for people to go fast and thats it. The NSX promised more back then than its Japanese siblings. It promised an everyday supercar. A car to challenge the 911 on a track and a car to take your children to school in. It wasn’t designed to look or go like a Ferrari or an Aston. It was designed with an almost fetish-like obsession to simplicity. The NSX was its own design, nothing else looked like it. Unashamedly Japanese, and all the better for it. It is because of this, why I always looked at it with a certain admiration.
The same goes for the new boy here. I doubt Honda are aiming the new car at such a high bar as that of the 911. The 911 is too accomplished. Those who want a 911, will not want an NSX. It will be more like our afformentioned friend, the Audi R8. The brands halo car. A culmination of what the brand can do, given a pen, paper and heaps of cash. In other words, an engineer’s unashamed ideas put together into one harmonious whole. In a way this idea carries over from the original NSX. Maybe that is why I like it. When engineers come together to create something that they are passionate about, the results can be truly amazing.
(Image Source: www.acura.com)