McLaren-Honda F1 driver Fernando Alonso took to the wheel of the new Honda NSX at the Estoril track, Portugal, as a pre-cursor to the NSX’s European sales roll-out. Alonso, the twice F1 Champion, also took several lucky media reps on a ride in the NSX.
The new Honda NSX’s development, which involved the late Ayrton Senna some quarter of a century ago, features a 3.5-liter V6 twin turbo and three motor hybrid power unit, coupled to a nine-speed DCT gearbox. The supercar is manufactured at Honda’s Performance Manufacturing Centre (PMC) in Marysville, Ohio, U.S.A.
During the post-drive interview, Alonso commented, “In terms of driving what really has surprised me are the brakes, the feelings are not so far from what we feel driving in F1.”
“Driving the NSX is softer and sweeter than an F1 car because you are not searching for every little fraction of an inch, as you do in races. It is like the difference between artistic drawing and technical drawing,” he added.
The venue of Estoril was a poignant one, due to its strong link with Senna. Senna took his maiden grand prix victory at the track in 1985, and was strongly involved in the development and launch of Honda’s original NSX during the late 1980s. The track has been a happy hunting ground for other Honda powered racers, both on four wheels and two.
Honda’s hybrid sports car features a new longitudinally mounted, twin-turbo, six-cylinder DOHC engine, combined with dual clutch transmission (DCT) and nine speeds, developed specifically for this model. A rear Direct Drive Motor, housed between the engine and gearbox, enhances performance during acceleration, braking and gear changes. In addition, the front wheels of the NSX are powered independently by two parallel high-performance electric motors, which provide instant torque. The combined power unit has a maximum output of 581 hp.
European order is available since April this year, with the first deliveries commencing from the Fall or quarter four.