The hybrid supercar is now sharper to drive, comfier to ride in and orange-ier to look at
The Japanese are nothing if not meticulous, which is why Honda has tweaked its NSX supercar for the 2019 model year, despite it being just two years old (the first one rolled off the production line in May 2016), a departure from the industry norm of waiting three to four years for a facelift, in what is usually a seven- to nine-year model life cycle.
Case in point: the Nissan GT-R, the NSX’s venerable rival, has seen nearly annual revisions since its 2008 debut, in addition to two substantial facelifts in 2011 and 2017.
Further down the price rung, Mazda takes the same approach with its flagship 6 saloon, which had an update last year, and a ‘full’ facelift this year (flip to page 40 to read our review on that).
But back to the NSX. The tinkering is minor, though extremely detailed. Most of the effort has been spent on making the car handle better, so the front and rear anti-roll bars, rear control arm toe link bushings and rear hub have all been stiffened.
Honda then went to work on the software, recalibrating the hybrid drive system, power steering, stability control to take advantage of the hardware changes, and increased the working range of the magnetorheological dampers to make the car even more comfortable in its softest setting.
Finally, the standard-fit tyres have been updated to a NSX-specific variant of Continental’s SportContact 6. All the above have resulted in a lap time around the Suzuka Grand Prix circuit that’s two seconds faster than before.
Unfortunately, identifying an updated NSX from a pre-update one will require obsessive-compulsive levels of scrutiny, unless the owner has opted for the new paint choice, Thermal Orange (Any resemblance to the Papaya Orange of its ex-Formula 1 partner McLaren’s racing cars is entirely coincidental. Probably).
Other than that, the front grille trim just below the badge is now body-coloured instead of silver, and the mesh and surrounds for the bumper grilles front and rear are now gloss black, instead of flat black.
No word on any changes under the engine cover, which means the updated car soldiers on with a 3.5-litre twin-turbo V6 and electric motor powering the rear wheels, and two additional smaller motors powering the fronts. This de facto all-wheel drive system, along with outputs of 573hp and 645 Nm of torque, can launch the NSX to 100km/h in 2.9 seconds, all the way to a 307km/h top speed.
The new NSX will be available for pre-order this month from authorised dealer Kah Motors, although pricing has not yet been announced.