Date: November 01, 2007 23:08
12/07 issue of Mag-X, 11/26/07 issue of Best Car
Literally, one of the last things I did on my way out of Japan last week was to scoop up a few Japanese car magazines. Fortunately, my October 26th departure date coincided perfectly with the standard on-sale date for new issues of monthly magazines, so these magazines came hot off the press. I didn't have time to skim the magazines prior to purchase, so I was happy to discover that the Mag-X was chock full of Honda-related info, including a 4-page spread on the next-generation NSX. I also purchased a BestCar, but there wasn't nearly as much Honda-related content in it.
Upon my return to the US, I scanned these pages (and several other items) and sent them off to Daniel Garcia before I had to turn around and leave town twice again. Now that I'm finally back from the SEMA show in Vegas, I am able to share with everybody some of the NSX information gleaned from these sources. Below is the summary from Daniel:
Here is all I can tell you from the NSX article, which if true, sounds quite interesting.
- Their main claim is that Honda's super-car is indeed back to the design board, aiming to be a true NSX successor in mid-ship configuration. From then on, they get to talk about everything that has been said/seen over the past years about it.
In short, Honda first aimed too low for today's standards (HSC), then went too far imposing a V10 engine that led to a car that may not be what Honda stands for. For that reason they have decided to get back to their roots, but the problem is, "what are we going to do with Fukui's promised V10"?
- The idea of the next supercar idea was born with the likes of the HSC and DualNote concepts, but those were dropped because they weren't ambitious enough, considered unable to go well beyond the NSX.
- Then, Honda decided on a V10, and with it came the problems. It started with the packaging difficulties, and how they struggled to achieve an agile car with good weight distribution and balance, needing to use a trans-axle tranny configuration (with front-engine and tranny in the back of the car) to make the nose as short as possible. Basically, they tried to build the car around the V10 engine, which resulted in the ASC's long-nose and forced the need for SH-AWD. That's what the S2000 mule was testing in the Nurburgring.
- According to Mag-X, they actually succeeded in making the car as fast as they would have wanted it to be, but then arose the doubts over the targeted market for such car: who was going to buy it, and what was it supposed to stand for. Apparently, those doubts became important enough to re-open the door to other points of view..
- Then came a design team with a simple idea: "isn't Honda's aim to build a real supercar with "gracious" dynamic capabilities?". Well, looks like they've got their chance to raise the challenge once more, and that may have been one of the main reasons for the whole Acura plan in Japan to turn around.
- Mag-X quotes them saying that the basis for "a real sports car" is that it should make the most of its tires without wearing them excessively (they briefly mention that nowadays such car would likelly have bigger wheels at the front like SuperGT's, instead of the opposite in the 1st gen NSX). That inevitably brought them back to the mid-ship configuration.
- When getting to the engine, they considered the possibility of using a highly tuned version of Honda's "upcoming V8" (which they claim will be available in next Ridgeline and Legend), with the main interest being development cost savings (as most makers do, even Ferrari with Maserati). As happened with the first gen NSX though, it seems that it would be too much of a compromise in terms of the specific needs for the supercar, and therefore it has been discarded.
- Now, the other problem is "what to do with the already developed 5.0L V10?". They say that engine is simply too big and unnecessary for the mid-ship ultra-light configuration, but Fukui has promised it, so they can't simply put it aside, it needs to find an application.
And that's about all of it, they just end up stating that Honda stands for pursuing innovation, so they seem to be confident on them finding out a solution.
Interestingly, I was in a Q&A session with Honda's President Takeo Fukui only a few days prior to purchasing these magazines and when asked specifically about the NSX successor's development, his responses indicated that everything is still focused on an FR based SH-AWD configuration, in total contradiction with what Mag-X is saying here. See the video below for the relevant portions of the Q&A session.
Last edited by JeffX on
November 01, 2007 23:13