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Overall verdict

The Top Gear car review: Honda NSX

Overall verdict
Looks and drives like a supercar, but doesn't sound like one. The NSX is something wilfully, wonderfully different


Brilliantly clever powertrain, brutal acceleration, feels very special


Tiny numbers, even tinier boot. And some unwelcome parts bin raiding


What is it?

The Honda NSX is a supercar like no other. Where the first example introduced everyday ability to a class of car known mostly for histrionics, the model’s second coming in 2015 – a whole decade after its predecessor went out of production – built on this by making the whole thing hybrid-powered.

A deeply complex system, it combines a 3.5-litre twin-turbo V6 petrol engine with three electric motors, two of those operating on the front axle to make this a four-wheel-driven car. The gearbox is a nine-speed automatic.

Total outputs are 573bhp and 476lb ft, enough for a 191mph top speed and 0-62mph in sub three seconds, putting it firmly in the realm of a McLaren 570S or Audi R8. Though with torque vectoring between those front two motors, it shuffles its power around more cleverly than either of its comparatively conventional rivals.

It’s not a plug-in hybrid, so there won’t be large portions of your journey blissfully driven free of CO2 emissions, but the achingly smart hybrid system can still close down the V6 when you’re cruising or during low-speed traffic. Indeed, there’s something quite satisfying about being so smooth and silent in a device that screams ‘SUPERCAR’. Especially when it’s painted Thermal Orange.

That’s a colour introduced with the car’s 2019 facelift, alongside some incredibly minor styling tweaks – gloss carbon spoilers instead of matt carbon, and a slightly different grille treatment – and a minor chassis overhaul that’s seen stiffer suspension components fitted front and rear, yet softer calibrations put through the software to make the car more approachable to drive and easier to live with. The old one was hardly a pain, but it did have a reasonably mobile rear end if you were cack-handed.

The new setup “provides greater stability and throttle-modulated controllability during on-the-limit track sessions,” in Honda speak. ‘It’s easier to drive the nuts off it,’ spits out the Top Gear Chassis Jargon Translator.

What doesn’t change is the car’s exclusivity. A £143,000 price tag will naturally limit demand anyway, but Honda typically only brings around 50 to the UK each year anyway, perhaps stung by some infamously dire sales years for the old NSX. Just try and recall the last time you saw an example of either NSX…