At the North American International Auto Show held in Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A., on January 9, 2012, Honda proudly announced its next-generation supercar, the NSX Concept, at a press conference. The NSX Concept features a new hybrid system that combines a mid-mounted next-generation, direct-injection VTEC V-6 engine with high efficiency motors and the system works in concert with a dual-clutch transmission. The NSX Concept also incorporates a Sport Hybrid SH-AWD (Super Handling All Wheel Drive) system with a unique 2 Electric Motor Drive Unit that powers the left and right front wheels. The result is a machine that delivers an all-new experience of unmatched supercar acceleration and driving joy achieved by uniting the car and driver as one.
The NSX Concept shares the same design concept as Honda's first super sports car, the NSX, which gained overwhelming popularity in the 90's. The catchphrase for the first-generation NSX was "Our dreams come true." Literally, the first-generation NSX was Honda's dream come true and it was developed as a super sports car that put the focus on the driver.
The original NSX development team set out to create a 3-liter, middle-weight car with extremely lightweight all-aluminum body construction. More specifically, the team strove to achieve world leading driving performance while securing a natural driving position, excellent drivability and clear visibility. Through meticulous driving tests and a high level of engineering, the team succeeded in accomplishing its goals. As the super sports car that elevated the level of synergy between man and machine, the NSX offered comfort and durability along with innovative features such as traction control, and collision safety features. The level of comfort was epitomized in 1992 at the Suzuka circuit when the late Ayrton Senna test drove the NSX-R, which was developed to be the best performing super car on the circuit, and said "comfort!" as he exited the cockpit.
The first-generation NSX was the world's first mass-produced vehicle to feature all-aluminum body construction. While featuring light body weight that offered high-level fuel efficiency, it also exhibited excellent environmental performance from the perspective of conserving resources, because aluminum is recyclable.
The next-generation supercar, the NSX Concept, is much more than a fast new super sports model. It is a machine that delivers new heights in driving pleasure while at the same time attaining a high level of environmental performance and fuel efficiency by incorporating a new drive system.
The NSX Concept is a landmark product that exemplifies the direction Honda R&D is taking – in its pursuit of the joy and freedom of mobility and minimal impact on the environment. Honda is determined to continue developing many products with an edge that are capable of offering both fun and environmental values.
The Acura booth at the North American International Auto Show is where the NSX Concept was unveiled. A large group of media representatives who showed up an hour before the opening welcomed Takanobu Ito, President and CEO of Honda Motor Co., Ltd., with cheers and applause when he made his appearance. It was a moment when the media shared a bit of Honda's dreams through the NSX Concept.
"I have been promoting a development system in which products with a sharp edge could be created to deliver a truly exciting experience along with excellent environmental performance," explains Takanobu Ito, who was part of the team that developed the body structure of Honda's first NSX. His passionate speech continued… "We debated and debated endlessly. How does one get ahead in this world? What exactly is a supercar created by Honda?'"
"As a result of our endless discussion, we created a set of new supercar values. We would strive to balance the synergy of man and machine at a high level with heightened comfort and intuitive handling." It was Takanobu Ito who proposed using an all-aluminum body structure on the original NSX. He was willing to take on big challenges, knowing that driving conditions can be complex and aluminum is difficult to handle in terms of molding and welding.
He focused on the higher potential, rather than the drawbacks. For example, aluminum is a non-polluting resource that exhibits excellent anti-rust performance and recyclability. The resulting NSX, a sports car made by sports car enthusiasts, was Honda's long-sought dream come true. It was a composite of countless dreams. The design philosophy that focused on people gave birth to a sports car that delivered a whole new driving experience. And now, the NSX Concept is about to start its journey by turning our dreams into reality again – balancing the joy of driving and environmental responsibility, two seemingly contradictory goals, at an uncompromising level.