This might look like a long-wheelbase version of the Honda S2000, but it isn't. Autocar can reveal that the car you're looking at is, in fact, the replacement for Honda's NSX supercar, caught lapping the Nordschleife only last week.Our spy photographers took these pictures at a Nurburgring "Industry Pool" test day; click on our gallery to see more of them. They also managed to catch the intriguing development mule on video; click here to watch our video preview. That done, read on for the very latest information on Honda's forthcoming supercar.
Underneath the disguise
Given the look of the body panels of this mule car, you might assume that Honda has had a major rethink of the layout of its forthcoming supercar. However, Autocar has learned that the car's mechanicals will be very similar to those hinted by the Acura Advanced Sports Car Concept that appeared at the Detroit motor show in January.Unlike the original NSX, this NSX replacement will have a front-mounted V10 engine and a two-plus-two seating arrangement. It'll offer around 500bhp – it'll have to in order to compete with Nissan's new GTR and Lexus' LFA – and, if the ASCC is anything to go by, a rear-biased version of the Super Handling All Wheel Drive system that's employed in the Honda Legend saloon.
Back to the drawing board
What's still unknown – and about which this development car reveals little – is what the finished car will look like.Honda's decision-making on the look of its NSX replacement has been very patchy indeed. Four years ago it showed us the HSC, only to scrap it; earlier this year, we saw the ASCC, and Honda bosses are rumoured to have sent that design back to the drawing board too, on the grounds that it wasn't bold enough.The word is that a third and final, more dramatic design proposal will appear at the Tokyo motor show this autumn and, in an attempt to steal the limelight from Nissan's finished GTR, that will be announced as the blueprint for the finished NSX replacement.The appearance of this development mule suggests, for the first time, that there may be some truth in that rumour. If Honda's form is anything to go by, though, all will depend upon the reception that the concept receives.
On the circuit
It's been suggested that the move away from a mid- to front-mounted engine, and from two seats to four, will give this new flagship Honda a very different character from the last NSX. Sources say that it'll be more of a rounded GT than a hardcore sports car. But it should still be fast.Our spies have reported timing this development mule, in its unfinished state, putting in laps of the 14-mile Nordschleife in just 8 min 20 sec. Honda is clearly targeting the performance levels of Porsche's 911 Turbo, as you can see in our video; tellingly, Nissan did exactly the same during the development of the new GTR. And that means that it's unlikely to be happy until the car is lapping regularly, and reliably, well inside eight minutes.