After a strong two part holiday special, The Grand Tour returns this week with a new episode coming to you from Stuttgart, Germany. This week we can expect to see the new Honda NSX reviewed by James May, Hammond trying to make a “doomsday” vehicle in case of the apocalypse, the boys harnessing power for electric cars from everyday life actions, , and a new type of “fashionable” SUV from Jeremy.

It’s the Honda NSX I want to talk about today. The original NSX from the 90s was one of my “bedroom poster” cars, which is odd considering the fact that I don’t actually think it looks all that great. It was its affordability that appealed to younger me, I think. In the world of mid-engined supercars with price tags that I could never hope to afford, the NSX (Acura NSX here in the States) was one that WAS within reach, and actually resembled a supercar as opposed to a Toyota MR2. If you squint really hard and maybe have a couple of shots beforehand, it almost looks a bit like a Ferrari F40, my favorite as a youngster.

Although I prefer the look of classic cars when compared to their modern counterparts, I would be lying if I didn’t admit to being intrigued with the new NSX’s looks. It looks like a spaceship; never mind the fact that it doesn’t resemble the original NSX in any way shape or form…it just looks SO cool! A techy look isn’t my thing, but when Iron Man pulls up in a new NSX at the end of The Avengers, it’s hard not to be impressed.

The new NSX features a twin turbo 3.5L V6 making 500 hp paired with a three electric Sport Hybrid AWD system and a 9 speed dual clutch transmission. It’s essentially a hybrid, but the electric motors power the drivetrain to augment the engine itself, giving the NSX a total of 573 hp. It’s a peppy car.

Some may wonder why James May? Well, here’s a few quotes from his article on Drive Tribe:

“A bit of ancient history first. I started working on car magazines in 1990, as a sub-editor on Autocar. I was later fired. But one week we had the new and incredibly exciting NSX in for test, and one evening I was allowed to take it home.

Many things happened, I was fired from lots of other magazines, I drove and even owned innumerable mid-engined cars, and then found myself in 2016 with the new NSX. But there, at our track, was also a perfectly preserved original, brought along for illustrative purposes. Well, I had to have a go in that. It was like stumbling across an album I’d loved as a student.

It was crap. It didn’t help that it was an automatic, because even a Japanese automatic from the early 90s changes gear with the conviction of me at the edge of a high diving board. It was also cumbersome, rolly polly, heavy and dull in the steering, and quite unbelievably slow. Driving the new NSX was as undemanding and pleasurable as balancing a pencil on your fingertip. The old one was like carrying a suitcase.” – James May Drive Tribe

 

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So what cars would be the new NSX’s direct competitors? For that we turn to its price range, the $150,000 range. The NSX was benchmarked against the Ferrari 458, but price-wise it’s not really in the same neighborhood, even though in terms of performance it may be in the same neighborhood. For $150,000 performance cars, we can find a few that could be considered directly in competition with the NSX:

  • BMW i8 ($140,700)
  • Porsche 911 Turbo ($159,200)
  • Audi R8 ($162,900)
  • Mercedes AMG GT S ($131,200)
  • Nissan GT-R (Premium $109,990 Nismo $174,990)

That’s just a handful. I’m sure there are a few more in that price range that could be considered competitors, but I think these have the most direct effect on the NSX for price and performance. The BMW i8 is probably the most similar in terms of it being a techy, hybrid, mid-engined performance car. I imagine prospective NSX buyers are not just looking for performance; futuristic tech is also important to them. That’s why I think both the BMW i8 and the Nissan GT-R would be the biggest competition to the NSX. They can offer nearly everything the NSX can at a comparable price.

The other examples are simply other performance cars in that price range. Sure, someone looking at a new NSX might be swayed to go with an Audi R8 instead, but short of a similar price bracket and being a mid-engined performance car, I don’t think there’s much in the way of other similarities. This is not to say the other examples are not “techy” in their own right, but certainly not to the degree the NSX, GT-R, and i8 are.

But yes, it’s clear that I am very much looking forward to the NSX feature in the upcoming episode of The Grand Tour. The other topics sound interesting as well, obviously, and I’m sure the boys will make another entertaining episode, but I am simply SO excited to see the NSX feature. I can’t wait to see James has to say about the NSX!

Fun Fact: My in-laws live in Stuttgart.

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