It’s been nearly 40 years since Honda became the first major Japanese automobile manufacturer to open an assembly plant stateside. In 1979, the company began building the Honda CR250R Elsinore motocross bicycle here in Marysville. Three decades later, just up the street, it started a one-million-square-foot centre to meet demand for the popular Accord family sedan. In 2016, it christened another plant in the heart of middle America, a state-of-the-art location at which the Acura NSX hybrid supercar is piecednbsp;collectively.
There is no denying that Honda is a proud business. Company founder Soichiro Honda, an engineer himself, constructed an engineering-led outfit and he is commended to this day, his estimates on screen in the pristine Acura Performance Manufacturing Center (PMC). But there’s also plenty of homegrown pride innbsp;Ohio.
The NSX is billed as being “the sole supercar designed, engineered and manufactured in America” and all markets around the world are served with this 1 facility. Most the PMC workers are plucked from other Honda plants — the best of the best. The twin-turbocharged V-6 engine is hand-built from the nearby city of Anna, affixed to the dual-clutch automatic transmission and rear drive electric motor, and then trucked to Marysville.
The technology staff at Honda Ramp;D Americas (also situated just up the street) led the development of the vehicle. It spent upward of 200 days per year testing prototypes on several roads and paths around the world. The design of the NSX emerged from the Acura Design Studio in Torrance, Calif., and has been led by Michelle Christensen, the first female supercar designer innbsp;background.
So the second-generation Acura NSX remains a Japanese supercar — but additionally, it is American to the core. Now, to better experience this team effort, the maker has introduced the NSX Insider Experience, an exclusive program for clients who have purchased the hybrid halo car. This exceptional program encourages the lucky few owners to travel to Ohio — not always a spot near the top of your normal bucket list — to find out about the Acura NSX, making it tick and how to drive itnbsp;fast.
The NSX is what Honda likes to call a “pinnacle merchandise” and pinnacle is an apt descriptor. The hybrid powertrain of the NSX joins the twin-turbocharged 3.5-litre V-6 with electric motors at each front wheel and a third straight drive engine bonded to the transmission. Overall system horsepower rings in at 573, while torque amounts to 476 lb-ft, much of it accessible early because of the rapid response of the electrical motors. The NSX also showcases a dead-simple launch control system, torque-vectoring all-wheel drive and four different drive modes which range from all-electric tonbsp;full-bore.
As part of their experience, clients can get a better sense of what their new car is going to do on a closed circuit with a professional driver riding shotgun. In my case, the (un)blessed soul is Jason Widmer, the chief engineer responsible for the car’s development. For the client experience, guests have the option of either four or two hours worth of tracknbsp;forcing.
My time behind the wheel provides hardly enough opportunity to frighten my co-driver. A quick, 225-km/h burst along a high-banked oval at the test centre is a snooze for Widmer — he has established a version of the NSX around at more than 300 km/h. Four laps round the 16-turn street course have him gripping his door handle for assistance, sure, but he has assaulted this track with more verve before also. (Long, black tire marks that trail off into the grass at the end of the speediest straight are hisnbsp;handiwork.)
Driving the NSX serves to remind me what a fantastic car it is: an authentic supercar, loaded to the teeth with trickery and technologies. Additionally, it makes me want more time behind the wheel to correctly test the ability of the strong regenerative brake system, to come to grips with the eye-opening grasp of the torque-vectoring system using its electrical motors churning away at each front wheel. It can be a bewildering car to explain; it is perhaps an even harder automobile tonbsp;master.
The drive element of the NSX Insider Expertise is what will likely draw many clients. However, the trip to the Honda Heritage Center is intriguing in and of itself — it captures the unbelievable assortment of goods Honda has made through time, from lawn mowers and snow blowers to business jets and supercars. The tour of the engine plant in Anna will resonate with the most frenzied of gearheads. But if the timing functions, the factory tour is where the consumer might be encouraged to apply a finishing touch with their NSX as it comes off the assembly line — and that is the sort of thing money can not normallynbsp;purchase.
The NSX Insider Experience gives the choice of six unique packages, ranging in cost from $1,990 (U.S.) to $7,576. Clients coming to Ohio from elsewhere may also receive help with everything from flight reservations to hotel rooms and dinnernbsp;plans.
The author was a guest of the automobile maker. Content wasn’t subject tonbsp;acceptance.
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Courtesy: The Globe And Mail