Wondering how to drive your NSX like Arton Senna? Ride with him and find out!
Honda president Takashi Ito announced this week that development of the next generation NSX has been restarted. The all-new NSX was nearing completion in 2008 when it was cancelled due to the financial crisis. Prototypes were circling the Nurburgring, and several were seen on the street in full camouflage. Production was probably at least a year away, depending on internal schedules.
The NSX was known to be V-10 powered, but speculation of all-wheel drive was unconfirmed. The representation below is fairly accurate as many of the details had been seen clearly on spy photos, with the exception of the side rear windows.
Here’s the original press story, in Japanese: http://mainichi.jp/select/biz/news/20110205k0000m020074000c.html, and in English: http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/news/20110205p2a00m0na017000c.html. No details were given as to powerplant or timeframe, or if the all-new chassis that was developed specifically for the NSX will even be used.
A new S2000 was also somewhere in the early stages of development… there has been no word and no sightings of development mules or any indication of that project continuing. Honda’s current performance car lineup is in particularly sad shape, with a twist-beam equipped Civic SI hatch in Britain as the only current offering. A revised Civic SI for North America was shown at the 2011 NAIAS in concept form, and is said to be powered by an Acura TSX engine (producing 201 HP in the TSX). This low-rev variant of the famous K-series engine family isn’t particularly interesting: it doesn’t have independently variable cam timing or variable lift and Honda has not yet embraced direct injection – which would be just the right cure for the typical deficit of low-rpm torque. The engine was finally given a hot-wire mass air meter 6 years ago, when other manufacturers had started the rollout of that particular technology in the 80s. Honda, once known for it’s engine technology, has fallen seriously behind the curve. The NSX will bring a much-needed lift to that image.
Following are videos of the prototypes in action:
As you can see from this phenomenal video, the NSX was a phenomenal supercar and one of the greatest creations in the corporate history of Honda. This video, “inspired” by Ayrton Senna, features his voice at intervals.
This next video features a test drive by Senna of the then-new NSX. Note the take-no-prisoners exit from the pits!
We can only speculate what Senna would think of Honda in 2011, after the cancellation of the next-generation replacements for both the NSX and S2000. The NSX was so far along it’s development path that full production prototypes were being tested on the Nurburgring: http://www.drivingenthusiast.net/sec-blog/?p=2449.
This is not the Honda that Senna knew, and it’s certainly not the Honda that attracted so many of us to it’s products. It is a souless Honda, it is a Honda in decline, and it is Honda that has practically zero to attract a driving enthusiast.
Here’s an interesting spy video, showing the sectioned, widened, and lengthened S2000 platform that was used to built NSX engineering mules. Given the cancellation of the NSX (and S2000), we’ll never know what made this car tick. But we can see it perform…
Several news sources claimed this week that the new Honda NSX has been canceled due to worsening economic conditions. Reportedly Honda CEO Takeo Fukui also canceled the rollout of the Acura brand in Japan.
Truth or rumor? No official word from Honda…
If true, this is certainly bad news for NSX fans…and it may also have implications for any upcoming S2000 replacement. With nothing officially announced by Honda as to an S2000 replacement, all we can do is to wait…. look for spy pictures… and keep our fingers crossed.
A moment of silence for the NSX:
All the good stuff is tested at the Nurbugring. Today we have, thanks to InsideLine, images of the next NSX in its near-final form – hidden under camo of course. But nonetheless we can see that this will be a reasonably trim car, short but fairly wide. It’s rumored to be V-10 powered, and as you can see from the pics (and previous showcars and mules) it’s clearly front-engined and rear wheel drive (or, perhaps, AWD).
The dimensions could be verified by looking at the original test mule built on an S2000 - that mule clearly shows how much longer and wider the production car will be. The S2000 was lengthened and widened to make it into an NSX.
1) There may be side windows hidden under the camo. Note the unusual stacked exhaust – perhaps a dual-path muffler as is the Honda practice. Clearly the bodywork is finished, the prototype even wears obviously production LED taillamps. Note the nice aluminum control arms underneath, probably forged. Is that a glass window under the spoiler, aka CRX?
2) Clearly a very short car – as trim as possible. Note th every large brakes, with what are probably 6 piston front and 4 piston rear Brembos. Unlike the last NSX (and S2000), braking won’t be an issue here.
3) Fixed headlamps, and a very large cooling entry under the bumper (but apparently not above?). Doesn’t appear to be any vents on the hood or sides to exhaust hot air. Note the frameless side glass.
No inside pics yet, but you’ll note that this is a left-hand drive care with a rounded hood over the gauges.
Overall, a *very* handsome car - infinitely better than the last concept car that was shown. Stay tuned to the web and magazines – since the car is apparently being tested at the ‘ring, you should expect a number of additional pictures over the coming days.
According to Autocar in Europe: http://www.autocar.co.uk/News/NewsArticle.aspx?AR=232305, Honda is close to finishing up the styling of the next-gen NSX. The bad news is that it resembles the Corvette. Hmmm… the market demographics are certainly not the same…
But the far more interesting suggestion they also offer is that the next-gen S2000 chassis will also be shared by Acura, both for the NSX and for an SLK-type folding-hardtop roadster from it. And we already know that the next NSX will be front-engined.
So, if they are right, lets speculate just a bit further based on their supposition…
:SPECULATION MODE ON
This could mean that some sensible plans are coming together – both to solve the issue of the NSX’ cost and the issue of an S2000 follow-on. We’ve known for a long time that S2000 sales couldn’t be sustained, much less grow, from the high point of the first few years (see the monthly sales charts on my S2000 blog to study the sales right back to the beginning). The car is too specialized for a wider market and the hand-built chassis and engine combination price it too far above it’s competition from Mazda (Miata and to a lessor degree the RX-8) and GM (the Solstice/Sky twins from Pontiac and Saturn).
Enthusiast speculation seems to have centered on a “Miata-type” offering that would appeal to wider audiences and use a base K20 engine of around 200 HP for motivation. While this might be bad news for those of us used for the current F2xC (F20C/F22C) 240 HP jewel, it’s really not bad news. A less-peaky and far less expensive engine would appeal more to the masses, allow the car to sell in higher quantity, and would not preclude a more powerful optional 2nd engine. Note this last point!
Given worldwide emissions standards, that optional engine is not likely to be a descendant of the F2xC engine (although more advanced variable valve timing and lift is available, direct injection would make a nice addition to the torque, and a mass air meter would provide tuning precision). Instead, it might be a further evolution of the new Acura 2.3 liter turbocharged K engine. Think about it… the GM competition offers a 300 HP direct-injected turbocharged engine in the 2009 Solstice GXP coupe (the rest of the line apparently stays with 260 HP) and AutoWeek claims the Miata will offer their direct-injected turbocharged 2.3 MazdaSpeed engine in 2009 (or is it the new 2.5 liter version of the same engine… which would delay it until 2010). Both of these manufacturer’s turbocharged engines are state-of-the-art and offer high horsepower with matching torque. The Acura equivalent of this engine is currently only offered in port-injected 240HP/260 torque form… given the work they did internally to the engine and the special block it’s obviously capable of much more. And it’s not as expensive to build as an F2xC engine – it’s built on a regular assembly line. All it needs for an S2000 is north/south orientation, more agreesive tuning, and in my humble opinion direct injection.
Yes, all this would cost a few bucks… and result in an S2000 in the mid-thirty thousand dollar range. But we’re talking here about the high-end option, and the engine would be shared with Acura. There it could be teamed with an off-the-shelf Borg-Warner or Getrag dual-clutch transmission. With would be another advantage of having an Acura version – costs would be shared and even absorbed into the much higher list price Acura.
Now lets address that chassis-sharing speculation in the Autocar article. That’s where their speculation gets a bit fuzzy… whether it’s based on inside knowledge, leaks, or the fact that the NSX mule at Nurburgring last year was loosely based on an S2000 (severely widened and lengthened) is up for debate. There are certain design similarities between the current S2000 and NSX – look at their front suspensions side by side anmd you’ll be wondering like me if the NSX front brakes would be possible to swap to an S2000. Clearly the same design team did some of the work. The rear suspensions aren’t at all alike, although the layout of the control arms is not dissimilar and they both share the bane of too little travel. The rest of the NSX platform is 180 degrees apart – and of course has an all-aluminum architecture.
Since speculation mode is ON here, and since I’m assuming that Autocar heard something of value, we could take this a little further into the wild blue wonder before we fall back to the real world and crash. Lets say that Honda feels that the aluminum architecture of the NSX chassis is too expensive… and that the cost target should be lower (say, about where the entry GT-R is at ~$70K), and that the latest design techniques with new types of steels, alloys, and carbon fiber can keep the weight down wihtout resorting to an all-aluminum platform. Lets also say that the new V-10 engine is a narrow 60-degree design. Lets go further out on a limb and say that the shared chassis is designed to be offered in two lengths and widths (just as the worldwide Accord platform is designed, where it can be offered in wide, narrow, short and long forms to yield the American Accord, the European Accord, as well as the Acura TL). Lets say the NSX offers more use of aluminum and carbon-fiber bolt-on panels but that otherwise the platform is used for both the S2000, the NSX, and the Acura SLK-type offering. Lets go even further and say that since these are all front-engine rear-wheel drive 2-seat platforms, that transmission families could be shared. Lets say that Aisen provides a 6-speed for the S2000 base model (saving money, because like the current car it’s an off-the-shelf design), and that Getrag or Borg-Warner provides a dual-clutch automated manual for the Acura and the NSX. While the NSX would obviously need a stronger transmission for it’s 550-HP engine, the transmission would still be from the same general family and thus would fit into the same chassis.
Then add the obvious torque-vectoring rear differential to the equation. It’s already well-proven in the AWD RL, MDX, and RDX and it’s an option in the upcoming TL (and perhaps a future TSX). While none of these are rear-wheel cars, the technology does exist and could be scaled up. The benefits of torque-vectoring are well proven and are one of those nice technologies that make perfect sense for both the street and for the racetrack (as is a dual-clutch automated-manual transmission, where a fully-automatic mode can be used on the street and a specifically-tuned performance mode can be offered for the racetrack).
So all this makes sense for an NSX that would cost much less than the last one, and become a direct competitor of the GT-R. Where does it leave us for an S2000? Well, since I’ve already committed myself to going as far out on a limb as possible, here’s some more speculation. It may appear that I’ve taken some liberal measures, but this is my best prediction based on sharing certain parts across multiple models, competition with the Miata and GM, safety regulations that will be in effect at the time (dictating increased dimensions), manufacturing method (a single shared and highly automated assembly line to cut costs – after all, the GT-R is built on the same line as the Nissan Skyline/Infiniti G), and other cost and competitive comparisons.
Here’s a spreadsheet comparing the current S2000 to the new platform models.
|Model years||2008-2010||2008-2010||2011 -||2012 -||2012 -||2012 -|
|Manufacturing method||Hand-built||Hand-built||Shared assembly line||Shared assembly line||Shared assembly line||Shared assembly line|
|Base price (in @USD of the year)||33k||37k||70k||26k||35k||40k|
|Manufacturing method||Hand-built||Hand-built||Hand-built||Shared assembly line||Shared assembly line||Shared assembly line|
|Engine||2.2-liter DOHC||2.2-liter DOHC||4.5-liter DOHC||2.0-liter DOHC||2.3-liter DOHC||2.3-liter DOHC|
|Construction||aluminum block/head||aluminum block/head||enhanced aluminum block/head||aluminum block/head||enhanced aluminum block/head||enhanced aluminum block/head|
|Valvetrain||VTEC||VTEC||variable cam timing on intake and exhaust, with variable lift.||i-VTEC||variable cam timing on intake and exhaust, with variable lift.||variable cam timing on intake and exhaust, with variable lift.|
|Horsepower @ RPM||237 @ 7800||237 @ 7800||550 @ 7800||200 @6500||300 @ 7200||300 @ 7200|
|Torque (lbs- ft.) @ RPM||162 @ 6800||162 @ 6800||390 @ 7200||150 @ 5800||295 @ 2400-6500||295 @ 2400-6500|
|Fuel System||Port injection||Port injection||Direct Injection||Direct Injection||Direct Injection||Direct Injection|
|Exhuast – layout||Dual||Dual||Dual||Single||Dual||Dual|
|- type||Stock w/dual-path||Sports Muffler single-path||Sports Mufflers with electronically-actuated dual-path||Stock with single-path||Stock w/dual-path||Stock w/dual-path|
|Format||Front engine, rear-wheel drive||Front engine, rear-wheel drive||Front engine, rear-wheel drive||Front engine, rear-wheel drive||Front engine, rear-wheel drive||Front engine, rear-wheel drive|
|Transmission||6-Speed Manual||6-Speed Manual||6-speed Automated dual-clutch manual||6-Speed Manual; optional 6-speed Automated dual-clutch manual||6-speed Automated dual-clutch manual||6-speed Automated dual-clutch manual|
|Rear Differential||limited-slip||limited-slip||torque-vectoring, computer-control based on multi-axis accelerometers and selectable modes (3)||limited-slip||torque-vectoring, computer-control based on multi-axis accelerometers and selectable modes (3)||torque-vectoring, computer-control based on multi-axis accelerometers and selectable modes (2)|
|Weight-saving features||iron-alloy suspension arms, tubular rear suspension subframe||iron-alloy suspension arms, tubular rear suspension subframe||aluminum suspension arms and cross-members, forged aluminum front and rear subframes||aluminum suspension arms, stamped steel cross-members, hydro-formed tubular steel front and rear subframes||aluminum suspension arms, stamped steel cross-members, hydro-formed tubular steel front and rear subframes||aluminum suspension arms, stamped steel cross-members, hydro-formed tubular steel front and rear subframes|
|Type||Independent, multi-link||Independent, multi-link||Independent, multi-link||Independent, multi-link||Independent, multi-link||Independent, multi-link|
|(type)||Cast aluminum||Cast aluminum||Forged Aluminum||Cast aluminum||Forged Aluminum||Forged Aluminum|
|(Potenza RE050)||(Potenza RE070)||(Potenza RE070)||(Potenza RE050)||(Potenza RE011)||(Potenza RE760)|
|Calipers fr/rr||single piston/single-piston with integral parking brake||single piston/single-piston with integral parking brake||6-piston/4-piston with separate drum parking brake||single piston/single-piston with separate drum parking brake||4-piston/2-piston with separate drum parking brake||4-piston/2-piston with separate drum parking brake|
|Electronic controls||ABS, EBC||ABS, EBC||ABS, EBC||ABS, EBC||ABS, EBC||ABS, EBC|
|Type||rack-and-pinion; electric power assist||rack-and-pinion; electric power assist||rack-and-pinion; electric power assist||rack-and-pinion; electric power assist||rack-and-pinion; electric power assist||rack-and-pinion; electric power assist|
|Aerodynamic add-on aids||–||Complete Front/Rear Aero Package||–||–||Front/Rear Balanced Aero Package||–|
|Body Rigidity aids||–||Rear Body Brace Added||–||–||Front/Rear Body Brace Added||–|
|Weight-saving features||Aluminum hood, tubular-steel rollbars||Aluminum hood, tubular-steel rollbars||Carbon-fiber hood and front fenders, aluminum trunk lid, tubular-steel rollbars||Aluminum hood, tubular-steel rollbars||Carbon-fiber hood and front fenders, aluminum trunk lid, tubular-steel rollbars||Aluminum hood, front fenders, folding top, and trunk lid, tubular-steel rollbars|
|Top||convertible; optional SMC hardtop||standard SMC hardtop||carbon-fiber fixed hardtop||convertible; optional SMC hardtop||convertible; optional SMC hardtop||folding retractable aluminum hardtop|
|Base Weight (options) – lbs||2864||2813 (AC/Audio +46)||3200||2800||2950||3000|
|Exterior Dimensions – inches||162.2 x 68.9 x 50.0||162.2 x 68.9 x 50.0||174 x 72.5 x 52.0||161 x 71.5 x 52.0||161 x 71.5 x 52.0||165 x 72.0 x 53.5|
:SPECULATION MODE OFF
Ok, fall back to Earth, crash and burn. In the final analysis, there is nothing to do but wait for Honda to make up it’s mind. We won’t find out what’s coming until we see an auto-show prototype (as in the case of the NSX) and/or we see spy photos from Nurburgring start to appear. Spy photos at Nurburgring confirmed the last S2000 in the late 1997 timeframe and that’s probbaly how any further S2000 follow-on would be confirmed this time.
- DrivingEnthusiast cutaway Mazda Miata tour - note all the weight-saving features designed into this car. That’s why it weights only ~2550 pounds.
Acura will present a concept of what is obviously the next NSX in Detroit next month at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS).
Press release follows.
TORRANCE, Calif 12/18/2006 —
The Acura ‘Advanced Sports Car Concept’ will make its debut at the 2007 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, the division announced today. The concept provides a glimpse at the next generation Acura exotic sports car.
As a part of the global commitment to the Acura brand, Honda Motor Co. Ltd.’s President and CEO Takeo Fukui will be delivering the keynote remarks at the Acura press conference.
Additional details on the Advanced Sports Car Concept will be announced on Sunday, Jan. 7th at 1:20 pm the North American International Auto Show in Detroit
More details on the upcoming NSX replacement: V-10 and AWD!
Source: Auto Week online
Speculation: will there be a V-8 variant of this engine, as BMW has done with it’s own V-10?