Last week, Autoblog sat down with Ted Klaus, chief engineer of the upcoming Acura NSX flagship, at the corporate headquarters of American Honda in Southern California. The roundtable discussion with a few other members of the media was very casual. However, since the hybrid supercar isn't due in showrooms for another couple years and most of the engineering program is still shrouded in secrecy, the bulk of our detailed questions about powertrain and performance were mildly deflected. Nevertheless, it was nice to probe the mind of the man holding the weight of the project on his shoulders – the NSX is immensely important to Honda, and it's Klaus' role to steer the program to fruition.

As revealed earlier today, the all-new second-generation NSX will be built at a new Performance Manufacturing Center located in the midst of Honda's existing R&D and production engineering operations near Marysville, Ohio. Acura expects the U.S. to be the largest market for the NSX, and the company takes great pride in its North American operation, so it was both logical and complementary that the Japanese automaker chose Ohio to be the sole world supplier for the upcoming second-generation Acura/Honda NSX. When asked about the program dates, Klaus maintained that the program was moving forward on schedule, and that its estimated arrival was set for 2015 – the original goal. Like many halo models, the made-in-USA NSX will pioneer innovative building technology for Acura and Honda alike. Klaus wouldn't discuss specific building materials, but the monocoque chassis will be assembled with several "world firsts" when it comes to construction techniques and materials. Remember, it was the first-generation NSX, introduced at the 1989 Chicago Auto Show, which debuted with lightweight aluminum body panels, titanium connecting rods and forged wheels.
We know that the next-generation NSX will feature a gasoline-electric hybrid powertrain built around a mid-mounted V6 mated to Acura's Sport Hybrid SH-AWD (Super Handling All-Wheel Drive). The three-motor hybrid system puts one motor at each of the front wheels, and a third integrated with the combustion engine, to provide instant power delivery and torque vectoring all-wheel drive. The standard transmission will be a dual-clutch automated gearbox.

When questioned if the NSX would be forced induction or naturally aspirated, Klaus was unable to discuss specifics. Someone asked if the NSX will use Acura's new P-AWS (Precision All-Wheel Steer) system, but that answer was also brushed aside, too, noting only that the upcoming model has access to all of the automaker's innovative technology. Klaus revealed that running test mules exist, but don't look for them on Nürburgring. That famed German circuit will be used later, for fine tuning, he added. The engineers have benchmarked a handful of competitors, including the Ferrari 458, McLaren MP4-12C, Audi R8 GT, Chevrolet Corvette and the Porsche 911. Even after production starts, the new NSX will be continuously refined on the track where it will compete in the ALMS GT class going head-to-head against race variants of the Corvette, SRT Viper, 911, Aston Martin Vantage, BMW Z4 and 458 Italia.

When asked about the driving attributes of the upcoming NSX, Klaus said it was a goal to use all of the positive attributes of a hybrid - efficient packaging, low center of gravity and centrally mounted power source - to ensure "the mass is kept close to the driver." The electric motors will supplement the combustion engine to provide visceral excitement. "It is all about acceleration, turning and stopping... to put a smile on the driver's face," added Klaus with a grin.

If you've shopped for an Acura recently, you'll note that they don't traditionally offer their clientele a list of stand-alone options. Instead, the automaker chooses to bundle equipment into trim levels. The new NSX should follow the same pattern, but Klaus said customers may open their wallets for bespoke upgrades and appointments. As expected, Klaus was unable to give us pricing. However, he dropped more than a few hints when he stated that the upcoming NSX will offer "the value of a Ferrari" but with amazing affordability "within the range of a Porsche 911." That's a big spread.

Lastly, we spoke about volume. Honda/Acura sold a total of 18,685 first-generation NSX models
during its eight years of production (interesting fact: the most popular color, with over 5,000 units sold, was Formula Red over Black leather), with its highest volume sold in its launch year. The automaker isn't speculating about the second-generation model, but the engineer promises "supply-minus-one verses demand." In terms of exclusivity? "The car will be rare," Klaus grinned.

It isn't easy "reincarnating a legend," Klaus admitted, but his team is determined to make the all-new NSX a flagship exotic every bit as impressive as its predecessor - a sports car still celebrated more than a decade after its production ended. "If your intentions aren't to build a halo project... stop now."


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 128 Comments
      soudfd
      • 1 Year Ago
      The original NSX still looks amazing.
      mikemaj82
      • 1 Year Ago
      It will never be as valuable or important to the automotive world as the original.
        jonnybimmer
        • 1 Year Ago
        @mikemaj82
        Agreed. I like the new one and think that it'll probably be a good car, fitting into the market much like the R8. But like the R8, it's just there to be a presence in the sportscar scene and an opportunity to regain some of the sporty pedigree (though to be fair, Audi does race the R8 quite a bit. Let's see if Honda will race the NSX as much as the R8, and the GT500 series doesn't count). The hybrid drivetrain will be marketed as a game changer, but I think Porsche's 918 did a good job stealing that away from Acura. I honestly believe Honda has lost the ability to make an impact in the industry the way they could in the 90s and even early 2000s. Still, as I said, I think it'll probably be a good car. Just not a great one.
          • 1 Year Ago
          @jonnybimmer
          [blocked]
      sinistro79
      • 1 Year Ago
      Have to admit, the NSX was a sportcar far ahead of its time just for the fact that it was significantly more "eco-friendly" than its competition. A lot of people have complained that in the last 10 years or so, Honda has lost its edge. I think this coincides with the fact that the NSX was discontinued for so long...
        • 1 Year Ago
        @sinistro79
        [blocked]
          Cyrus Brooks
          • 1 Year Ago
          Agreed, the competition forged ahead and improved it's products while Honda rested on its laurels. This is something that has happened with all Honda products especially the NSX. I remain sceptical that this new NSX will be significantly better performer than it's competition.
          • 1 Year Ago
          [blocked]
      no1bondfan
      • 1 Year Ago
      Another car in GT racing is definitely a good thing.
      rsxvue
      • 1 Year Ago
      ALMS GT nod is the best news coming out of this article -- my favorite race series/class to watch and I'm glad the next NSX will be joining them (in their new race format with grand-am).
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
      Chris Kooluris
      • 1 Year Ago
      Seriously doubt Honda/Acura can come within a country mile of offering a competitive sports car, now, after all this time off. The issue is this: while all the other manufacturers have been refining their game, Honda/Acura has done nothing. They let the NSX die. They never brought the Type R badge to the US. They let the S2000 die...but worse, instead of improving the S2000, they made it softer and less fun. I bought one of the first S2000's to hit our shores. One of the greatest engines/tranny was ruined by the complete numbness on the wheel. That was way back in 2000! 13 years later and there hasn't been an exciting Honda/Acura since. This NSX is a joke. It's been a rolling concept now for almost 2 decades and the final design is so 10 years ago that one has to wonder why they are even going ahead with the project, as it is. And what will be the ultimate joke is the performance/price. I bet you this hybrid machine will be 150K and have the same performance as a new 50K Vette. Not to mention the long-term maintenance nightmare of a hybrid set up. Too little, too late.
        tiguan2.0
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Chris Kooluris
        Chris Kooluris, Tell us about the "maintenance" required on hybrids.
        AngeloD
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Chris Kooluris
        No, knowing Honda, the new NSX's performance won't even approach the new Corvette. Nor will the interior design and materials, engine tech, suspension design, audio system, etc. Honda builds a nice beige family sedan in the Accord, a nice beige minivan, and a nice grey commuter car in the Civic. They should stick with that and stop trying to be what they lack the skill set for, i.e., a leading edge automotive engineering and design company. Leave that to Ford, VW, etc.
          gasolinepopsicle
          • 1 Year Ago
          @AngeloD
          Honda "lack(s) the skill set for"?? When the NSX debuted in '89, it was the first true sports car Honda ever built. They had never built anything close to it prior. After a 15 year run, It is considered by many one of the most significant cars built and it is considered the blueprint for the modern sports car. Prior to the NSX, sports cars were horribly unreliable. The biggest complaint of the original NSX: it was too practical. (see Top Gears original review of the NSX from the early 90's) So your statement, "they lack the skill set for" is horribly ignorant.
          AngeloD
          • 1 Year Ago
          @AngeloD
          Correction: CR-Z is the current turd, not the CRX
          Lab Rat
          • 1 Year Ago
          @AngeloD
          How many of the original NSX engineering and design crew still works for Honda? Better yet, how many of them are still still designing and engineering for Honda? Thats where their skill set WAS. Where is it NOW?
      Ken Mam
      • 1 Year Ago
      Over-rated, over-played, and over-expectations.
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Ken Mam
        [blocked]
          V-Boy
          • 1 Year Ago
          ^ I did. It was a euphoric experience, so easy to drive while it was stupidly low! It had better visibility than the Subieyota twins. It was the ideal DD mid-engine sports car!
          flammablewater
          • 1 Year Ago
          He has and I can vouch. But it should be noted that he showed up for the test drive in a Reliant Robin, which he thinks is a great car.
      MONTEGOD7SS
      • 1 Year Ago
      It will be released just in time to be 10 years too late. Over priced, under performing, and over rated by fanboys, just like the last one.
        sfblog
        • 1 Year Ago
        @MONTEGOD7SS
        Disagreed by the man who created the Mclaren F1
      rmkensington
      • 1 Year Ago
      Vaporware
      Gordon Chen
      • 1 Year Ago
      Is anyone worried they're going with the gas-electric hybrid? Honda doesn't have the best track record on hybrids. I'm worried this might just be an expensive CRZ. In addition, a track car should not have a hybrid system anyway for they'd run out of juice from the performance it would demand. The batteries would be dead weight.
        flammablewater
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Gordon Chen
        You don't follow Forumla 1, do you? They use hybrid power (KERS) for on demand 80HP boosts, and the energy is recovered during engine breaking. The new La Ferrari uses hybrid tech, as does the McLaren P1, both based on the F1 KERS system.
          • 1 Year Ago
          @flammablewater
          [blocked]
          tiguan2.0
          • 1 Year Ago
          @flammablewater
          trollguy1701, The NSX is purpose built, with expensive lightweight materials...
          • 1 Year Ago
          @flammablewater
          [blocked]
          Ron
          • 1 Year Ago
          @flammablewater
          which is in now way the same as the system Honda is talking about using on the NSX. Where a light weight KERS style system will use just a single motor with either no batteries and just some capacitors (to save weight); or very small batteries for quick boosts. Honda is using multiple electric motors, and massive battery packs on what is essentially 2005 hybrid tech. In no way shape for form does this system resemble KERS, or any other KERS derived system; other than the fact that it uses electricity.
          tiguan2.0
          • 1 Year Ago
          @flammablewater
          LOL, poor trollguy1701 is getting caught up spinning what he did or didn't say. You getting dizzy from all the B.S. you spew, then get corrected on.
      Matt
      • 1 Year Ago
      Acura need 3-series and BRZ/FRS competitors, not a Ferrari competitor. None of their sedans offer anything over a loaded Accord.
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