Can the original NSX still hold its own today?
From the bygone era known as 2005, the original Honda NSX has a 3.2-litre naturally aspirated mid-mounted V6 engine. Sending 276bhp, and 220lb-ft of torque to the rear wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox and a limited slip differential.
All of this power translates to a 0-62mph run in 5.7 seconds before hitting 168mph at maximum velocity. Numbers which read as a little on the slow side when compared to modern machinery.
Things get even worse when it comes to the way it stops too – in so much that you know the brakes work, but they lack both the feel and power of a modern car.
All of which doesn’t really matter at all – purely because of the way it drives.
An essential part of the action
Some modern cars don’t require a great deal of driver involvement thanks to driver aids and ever advancing technology. In an NSX though, you are an essential part of the action with every single driver input.
Throw it into a quick corner, and you’re greeted to a wealth of mechanical grip working away beneath you. At the front, the nose is super-fast on the turn-in thanks to excellent steering feel and feedback. In the middle of the action, the six-speed gearbox gives a precise and quick change in a refreshing throwback to the days of the manual supercar.
Finally, at the rear, it’s a similar story where you get plenty of grip thanks to the excellent chassis and LSD in a car that feels light on its feet, and highly agile at pace.
Honestly, it really is that good.
The VTEC symphony orchestra
Dial up the 3.2-litre V6 engine to the upper echelons of the rev-counter, and your ears are greeted with a wonderful mechanical noise including the distinct differential and gearbox whine. Push the motor hard to beyond 7000rpm, and a symphony takes place inches behind your head before you swap ratios.
At full chat, the exhaust rumbles menacingly emitting one of the greatest engine notes I’ve ever experienced. Sounding furious at high revs and purely mechanical in tone making a genuinely great noise.
A true supercar by design
Thinking about the design of the NSX is relatively simple – take one cockpit, mount it to an engine, keep it low and aerodynamic and you get the NSX. Even 14 years later, it’s one of those cars that really grabs your attention. As a hugely iconic design, it looks stunning from all sides, and when moving, it just screams supercar.
Coming at around 46-inches tall – the NSX positions the driver low on the inside. The dash cocooning you. Giving easy reach to all of the essential controls in a simplistic and clean cabin layout purely focused on the driver.
Fully living up to the hype – and then some
Towards the end of its production, the NSX wasn’t a huge seller. When I say huge, I mean numbers in the low two figures were registered in 2005. Making it rare, meaning that seeing one on the road is a massive event.
The root of this legend factor? Of course, the way it drives.
From the near-perfect chassis balance to the huge level of driver feedback and organic involvement on offer. It is absolutely one of the great drives worthy of any petrolhead’s bucket list.