Honda’s original NSX (sold as the Acura NSX in North America) was designed to be a practical supercar, one you could drive to work on Monday through Friday, yet fully enjoy on weekend track days.
Early models boasted a relatively modest 270 horsepower from Honda’s 3.0-liter V-6, while later models got a 3.2-liter V-6 good for 290 horsepower. The NSX, however, was never about outright power; instead the mid-engine, rear-drive coupe was all about balance and handling.
During the car’s production run from 1990 - 2005, it was associated with some legendary names in motorsport. Formula 1 great Ayrton Senna helped to develop the car’s chassis and suspension, and American open-wheel star Bobby Rahal also assisted with tuning.
Declining sales ultimately led to the NSX’s demise in 2005. Rumors of an NSX successor soon began circulating, but the global economic collapse of 2008 and 2009 shelved plans for a second Honda supercar. The prototype became the Honda HSV-010 racer, campaigned in Japan’s Super GT Series.
Honda has since redefined itself as a green automaker, so the next NSX (now officially announced) will be powered by a hybrid drivetrain. Since the car is still three years distant, Honda isn’t giving out many details.
We do know that the new NSX will retain the original’s mid-engine layout, but rumors have the new model benefiting from all-wheel drive. Rear wheels will allegedly be powered by a V-6 engine and electric motor, while front wheels will be driven by a pair of electric motors.
Judging from the reaction to Acura’s Super Bowl ad, the next NSX could prove to be even more successful than the original. From an enthusiast perspective, the new NSX may be the most eagerly anticipated hybrid since Porsche’s 918 Spyder.