We just saw the first images with the next Civic Type R, but Honda is outdoing itself today as we can also bring you new info on the much-anticipated next-generation NSX supercar.
During a visit to its Tochigi R&D center, Honda offered a handful of journalists a first look at the supercar’s complex, hybrid powertrain, as development on the model is rapidly moving forward.
After years of debating whether to adopt a traditional, more European approach to powering the next-generation sports car, such as going for a big V-10, the automaker ultimately decided to go with a more futuristic performance hybrid approach.
With functioning prototypes now running around test tracks in both Japan and the U.S., TheDetroitBureau.com was able to get significantly more details about the new powertrain – notably including the fact that the Acura NSX will be the only vehicle using Honda’s new three-motor hybrid technology that also will make use of a conventional turbocharger to further boost performance.
A mock-up of the new NSX underpinnings shown at the Tochigi proving grounds confirmed that the supercar will essentially reverse the basic layout of Honda’s new Sport-Hybrid Super-Handling All-Wheel-Drive, or SH-AWD, system making its debut later this year under the hood of the Acura brand’s flagship sedan, the RLX.
Honda has begun rolling out three new gas-electric powertrains, including the simple, single-motor layout that is being used in Japan on the all-new Fit Hybrid, a two-motor system just launched in the U.S. on the Accord Hybrid, and soon, a three-motor design that will put more emphasis on performance and be targeted to the Acura brand.
The new version of SH-AWD in the Acura RLX has the heart of the powertrain – a V-6 paired with a hybrid transmission system — mounted up front in an East-West configuration. Two additional motors sit in the rear where a differential would be, one driving each of the back wheels.
For the new Acura NSX, however, the powertrain will straddle the rear axle in a North-South layout, the V-6 itself largely in front of the axle and slightly above the combination gearbox and electric motor package. The two additional electric motors will drive the front wheels.
One of the advantages of this layout will be the ability to deliver taut torque vectoring. Entering a sharp, right hand turn, for example, the electronic control system will reduce power to the right front wheel while increasing current to the motor on the left, helping improve the NSX’s cornering. That is a much less complex approach than the brake-based process used with the current, mechanical version of SH-AWD.
Also, the revived Acura NSX will get yet another dose of adrenaline from a turbocharger, Honda engineers explained in Tochigi, which should trim launch times even further.
While Honda provided a glimpse of how the new Acura NSX will operate, the maker was far more reticent to provide hard numbers. It wouldn’t reveal, for example, the displacement of the V-6 in the new supercar, nor horsepower and torque, nor would it provide figures for the three electric motors. Also kept out of sight: launch and top speed figures.