If you’ve ever directly compared a Honda Insight and a Vauxhall Ampera from behind the wheel, you may be able to predict just how differently the new Honda NSX’s powertrain might feel and operate compared with that of, for example, a BMW i8 or a Porsche 918 Spyder.
This may be a hybrid super-sports car, but it’s not a plug-in hybrid. It doesn’t start from cold on pure electric power and seldom runs with the combustion engine off for more than a couple of hundred yards at a time. That means it doesn’t have the same duality of character or space-capsule futuristic appeal of the BMW or Porsche. A shame? Not a bit of it.
In typical fashion, Honda has instead aimed to integrate the influence of the car’s electric motors more discreetly into its motive repertoire – to produce a more ‘by the book’ junior supercar driving experience, albeit one supported and augmented by electrification.
And that approach, as it turns out, has as many merits as the other.
A super-sports car capable of 3.3sec from rest to 60mph and an 11.4sec standing quarter may not seem exceptional by current class standards, but in the NSX’s case that’s only a hint of the full story.
The NSX’s combined system output of 476lb ft looks, on paper, like it could just as easily have been delivered by any performance car with a healthy turbocharged V8 engine.
But what the raw performance stats and Honda’s specification sheet don’t tell you is that the torque figure isn’t so much a peak as it is an almost permanent provision of pulling power.