Honda's R8-killer: it's nearly ready...
Some economists say that we should be spending our way out of recession*, so what better way to encourage that than to make supercars cheaper? You can't just stop making fast cars altogether - how will people get around Kensington, for a start?**
So it's a big thank you to Honda for the NSX, the affordable supercar. The last, superlative-inducing NSX, which was famously developed with F1 legend Ayrton Senna, blew minds back in the '90s with its combination of Ferrari-matching performance and Japanese pricing - much like today's Nissan GT-R, you may postulate.
The NSX died in 2005...but it's back. Honda has lifted the covers from the stunning new version at the Detroit Motor Show, and even though it's still a concept, it's almost ready to go.
Honda says that "the dynamically styled NSX Concept gives an indication of the next generation performance vehicle from Honda." Which is car company speak for, "here it is, everyone, but don't be too upset if some health and safety bore tells us to raise the lights by 3mm and make the wing mirrors bigger."
The new NSX is, obviously, a hybrid, because Honda is following Toyota in trying to make the environment its friend, at least in PR terms. The system is called 'Sport Hybrid SH-AWD', which stands for 'Super Handling All Wheel Drive'. Super handling, eh? We likes the sound of that.
"Like the first NSX, we will again express high performance through engineering efficiency. In this new era, even as we focus on the fun to drive spirit of the NSX, I think a supercar must respond positively to environmental responsibilities," said Honda CEO Takanobu Ito at the car's Detroit debut.
It works by combining a mid-mounted 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine with an electric motor linked to the front axle; the setup is akin to that in the Honda CR-Z hybrid, although it's more sophisticated and powerful here.
The car doesn't rely on "brute force" for supercar-quick acceleration, reckons Honda, but on a high power-to-weight ratio, meaning the car "champions the true racing philosophy."
You don't need us to tell you that it looks good...so we'll ask you instead - it looks good, doesn't it?
Honda's European press release explicitly states that the car is intended for the American market only (it's badged 'Acura', Honda's American brand name), but that's likely to be a ruse. Why would Honda release this awesome budget Audi R8 alternative in America but not here?
When it comes, probably mid-2013, it should cost around the same as a Nissan GT-R, making it around £75,000.
*We're not economists - this statement is just part of a nice introduction.
**Answer: Range Rover.