This improved version of the second generation Honda NSX took the fight to Ferrari in the junior supercar sector. And, like NSX models always have, it went about the task a little differently. But how does it stack up as a used buy? Here, we look at the 2018-2020-era versions of this model.

The History

What should a supercar be? We know the European answer to that question, a formula personified by Ferrari, echoed by McLaren and lightly evolved by the handful of less exotic premium brands who’ve dared to enter this rarified segment. What you get in each case is a race car for the road. What you need, says Honda, is this, their second generation NSX, first launched in 2015, then upgraded three years on to create the lightly updated version of this car that we’re going to look at here.

The NSX name may resonate because the earlier generation of this model, launched back in 1989, had such a profound effect on its sector. Here was an exclusive junior supercar as focused as any Porsche or Ferrari, but a machine that could be as undemanding to own and drive as a Civic. The letters stood for ‘New Sportscar eXperimental’ and when Honda experiments, the automotive world sits up and takes notice. They certainly did with that early NSX. The styling was inspired by an F-16 fighter jet and the selling price was pretty much half the cost of the comparable Maranello product of that era, a Ferrari 348. Famously too, the chassis was developed with the help of Ayrton Senna - but crucially, you didn’t need his talent to really enjoy it.

The original ‘NA1’-series model stayed in production until 2005, Honda subsequently readying a V10-engined replacement that was supposed to celebrate the success of the brand’s return to Formula One. It didn’t happen. The F1 team floundered and fell victim to the period’s worldwide recession, as did the replacement NSX.

Launched in 2015, then as we said earlier lightly updated in mid-2018 to create to car we’re going to look at here, this ‘NC1’-series model was as different from its market contemporaries as its predecessor had been from its competition back in the Nineties. The whole original concept behind this second generation model lay in the way it could take the hybrid performance technology we saw on £750,000 hypercars like McLaren’s P1, the Ferrari La Ferrari and the Porsche 918 Spyder and make it available for Porsche 911 Turbo- money. As part of that, there are no fewer than four motors on offer - a 3.0-litre V6 twin-turbo boosted by an electric motor, together powering the wheels out back, with the Sport Hybrid AWD system completed by two further motors powering the wheels up-front.

What You Get

It’s an established mark of supercar styling that every exterior element should serve a distinct purpose. That’s certainly the case here, as part of what designer Michelle Christensen calls the ‘Interwoven Dynamic’ approach to the sleek silhouette.

The two-seat cabin design doesn’t share much with European rivals, apart from the way that the large centre transmission tunnel flows between the seats into the centre console. It certainly feels like a place designed to do business with the road. The boot is much wider than it at first appears – wide enough in fact to swallow the full-sized set of golf clubs that the Japanese maker insists will somehow fit.

What To Look For

There aren’t many MK2 model NSX owners and amongst them, we struggled to find anyone who had much bad to say about their ownership experience. Obviously, you’re going to want one with a fully stamped-out service history, looked after by the only two authorised UK NSX dealers, Chiswick and Crown Honda in London. But that should be a given. Otherwise, it’s just the usual things – checking for parking scraped and chipped alloy wheels and so on.

On The Road

The post-2018-era facelifted version of this second generation NSX claimed to have been revitalised in terms of its driving dynamics. We’ll get to that, but first, if you’re new to the NSX, it’ll be necessary to get your head around exactly what’s on offer here. In considering this model, don’t think of it as an expensive Honda: think of it instead as a cut-price hybrid hypercar – because that’s what it is. An electrified supercar with a battery providing electricity to two small motors driving the front wheels as well also to a larger one at the back that assists a big 3.5-litre V6 powering the rear axle. Which makes this a 4WD hybrid powered by four motors. Yes, really. Continuing with the futuristic technology, the powerful brakes aren’t actually connected to anything – the big pads are activated ‘virtually’. And the e-steering works in much the same manner.

That twin turbo powerplant generates 500hp, with a further 73hp contributed by the combined efforts of the three electric motors. These work together to deliver an electrified boost that smoothes over the slight reductions in torque you’d otherwise find in the upper and lower parts of the rev range. The electric unit at the back, the so-called ‘Direct Drive Motor’ which is wedged between the twin-turbocharged engine and its nine-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox, acts as both a flywheel and a starter motor. Up front meanwhile, lie the two further 38hp motors that together create this car’s ‘TMU’ ‘Twin Motor Unit’, there to drive the front wheels, provide torque vectoring for extra cornering traction and complete the operation of this car’s ‘SH-AWD’ set-up, the ‘Sport Hybrid AWD’ system. The ‘TMU’ also recovers braking energy during deceleration to supply power to the hybrid batteries.


The supercar segment from 2018 to 2020 is full of compelling supercars. But this updated MK2 model NSX offered something more from a model that already offered something just a little different. It’s a machine that’s greater than the sum of its parts, a pioneering contender in this class that saw its creator once again pushing boundaries. Like the original NSX, this one reinterpreted what a supercar could be and delivered everyday usability that few competitors could match. It’s unconventional. It’s divisive. And it defines the spirit of its brand in a way that charmed us completely.