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Ford GT

Ford GT supercar production extended to meet demand

Ford GTHuge demand for the new Ford GT supercar has led the company to take the unusual step of doubling its production lifespan: Ford will now build the GT for four years instead of just two.

This should see twice as many GT build as originally forecast – which may upset a few values-conscious car collectors but should otherwise raise a universal cheer.

Many Ford loyalists have recently been disappointed to receive a letter informing them they hadn’t made the grade to own a GT: the firm opened applications a while back and hand-picked those it felt would be the most suitable brand ambassadors.

This may have put some noses out of joint, as Ford Performance global director Dave Pericak tacitly admitted: “While we can’t build enough Ford GTs for everyone who has applied, we are going to produce additional vehicles in an effort to satisfy more of our most loyal Ford ambassadors.

“We want to keep Ford GT exclusive, but at the same time we know how vital this customer is to our brand.”

How will it work? The third year of production will be for for applications placed on the waiting list by Ford. Year four will be for deferred applicants and those who missed the initial application window.

This additional application window doesn’t open until 2018 though. Which leaves plenty of time for those most determined to own a GT to get purchasing Focus RS, Mondeo Vignale and range-topping Ecosport to show how committed they are to the brand.

Learner driver has his gold Maserati SEIZED by London police

Learner driver has his gold Maserati SEIZED by London police

Learner driver has his gold Maserati SEIZED by London police

Drive without insurance and the police can seize your car – but no one told the seemingly wealthy owner of a gold Maserati, confiscated off London’s streets earlier today.

The learner driver of the £100,000 Maserati GranCabrio has been spotted in the capital a number of times this year – with many taking to social media to question whether the exotic motor was a suitable first car.

Police stopped the Maserati in Kingston this morning and discovered the driver wasn’t adequately insured – so seized the Italian supercar.

The driver, who hasn’t been named, will be hit with a £150 towing charge, along with a £25 storage fee for every day it remains in police possession.

If the case goes to court, they could also face an unlimited fan and a driving ban – before they’ve even got their licence.

The Maserati has previously been spotted being given a parking fine on Edgware Road.

Earlier this year, a trio of gold-wrapped supercars including a Lamborghini Aventador and Bentley Flying Spur were hit with £80 fines while parked in Knightsbridge.

The cars were thought to be owned by Saudi Arabian visitors to London.

Clarkson favourite cars

Jeremy Clarkson’s top 10 cars of the past year

Clarkson favourite carsWhen Jeremy Clarkson speaks, people listen. Either that or they risk an encounter with a slab of meat. So when the Sunday Times lists Clarkson’s top 10 drivers of the past year, it’s kind of a big deal.

If you own one of these motors, the bragging rights are yours when you’re stood at the bar this weekend.

Mazda MX-5 2.0 Sport Recaro

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Clarkson says: “Because it’s so organic and raw and simple, it feels how a sports car should. It sings and fizzes and jumps about. It always feels eager and sprightly, and that makes you feel eager and sprightly too.”

For 25 years, the Mazda MX-5 has been the default choice for those in search of affordable fun with a retractable roof. The fourth generation picks up where the old model left off and the best news is: the cheaper 1.5-litre engine is every bit as good as the 2.0-litre. Yours for less than £20,000.

Alfa Romeo 4C Coupe

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Clarkson says: “It’s a terrible car. And yet I adored it. Every other vehicle, with its perfect refinement and its perfect electrics, cannot help but feel like a machine. Whereas the Alfa, with its flaws and its tendency to go where it wants, feels human.”

Clarkson is speaking for us all when he distances the Alfa Romeo 4C from many appliance-like cars that are on sale today. Like so many Alfas of the past, the 4C might be flawed, but it’s a car you buy with your heart and not your head. And the world needs more cars like that. We’d still prefer a Toyota GT86 or Subaru BRZ, mind.

Mercedes-AMG GT S

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Clarkson says: “It’s so wide that someone could land a medium-sized helicopter on it and you wouldn’t even notice. I think I know why. This is a modern-day muscle car. It’s Merc’s Mustang. You sense this when you drive it. It feels raw.”

The GT S is powered by a glorious 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 engine that produces 510hp – enough to propel this ‘Muscle Merc’ to a top speed of 193mph, rocketing past 62mph in 3.8 seconds. It feels more special than an Audi R8 and less obvious than a Porsche 911. Yours for a whisker under £100,000.

Ford Focus RS

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Clarkson says: “With the new Focus RS, you know after about 100 yards that it [Ford] has created something special. Even at James May speeds, on a roundabout in Hounslow, this car feels cleverer than is normal. It feels like a Nissan GT-R.”

The world has gone mad for the Ford Focus RS, a car that has already pulled up a chair at the top table of RS greats. Clarkson has history with the RS badge – he ran a Ford Escort RS Cosworth in the early 90s. Looks like the modern-day equivalent has rekindled some fond memories for Jezza.

Ford Mustang Fastback 5.0 V8 GT

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Clarkson says: “What it is, is a muscle car. And you sense that in the second yard. This is a machine that wants to turn its tyres into smoke and go round every corner sideways.”

Few cars costing less than £35,000 offer the sense of occasion quite like the Ford Mustang V8. Drive one of these in the UK and folk with greet you with thumbs up, before reaching for their smartphones to grab a quick snap. What’s more, it has a soundtrack to rival Last Night of the Proms.

Volvo XC90 D5 AWD

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Clarkson says: “If you let the driving aids do their thing, it becomes quite relaxing, because the 2-litre engine is far quieter than in the old model, and the ride is pretty good. It’s so soothing you could nod off. And you’d be fine, because it’d wake you up if anything was wrong.”

Jeremy Clarkson owned three previous generation XC90s, so it’s safe to assume he’s a big fan of Volvo’s super-size SUV. In common with anyone who has experienced the new XC90, Clarkson loves the cabin quality and the sheer amount of interior space. Forget rivalling the Germans, the big Swede beats the lot.

Vauxhall Zafira Tourer 1.6 CDTi Tech Line

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Clarkson says: “A previous model had a reputation for bursting into flames but as I climbed a mountain what struck me was how brilliant the engine in this Zafira was. Then I went over a bump and didn’t feel a thing. Never have I encountered any car, including the Rolls-Royce Phantom, that’s so good at refusing to transmit road irregularities into the cabin. Which makes it the most comfortable car in the world.”

Wait, what’s this? Jeremy Clarkson including a Vauxhall in his top 10 drives of the year? Surely there’s been some mistake? His love of the Zafira Tourer is a far cry from the days when his review of the Vectra resulted in Vauxhall dealers searching for the valium.

BMW M2

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Clarkson says: “It’s not just fast in a straight line. It’s also fast through the corners. And not just fast, but a complete delight. It’s so good that in a few bends I was actually dribbling with joy.”

The motoring world is united in its admiration for the BMW M2. Chris Harris, of the parish of Top Gear, likened it to BMW M-cars of old, while we concluded that it’s the best M-car you can buy. Order one today and you’ll probably have to wait until 2017 to take delivery. It’ll be worth the wait…

Ferrari 488 GTB

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Clarkson says: “The old 458 was not as good as a McLaren 12C. But this new car puts the prancing horse back on top. As a driving machine, it’s – there’s no other word – perfect.”

Replacing the naturally-aspirated 4.5-litre V8 with a 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 was always going to be controversial, but we needn’t have worried. The engine, the chassis, the performance, the soundtrack – all executed with Italian perfection.

Lamborghini Aventador

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Clarkson says: “Given the choice of any supercar, this is the one I’d buy. I admire the McLaren P1. But which would you rather have as a pet: a clever and sophisticated electronic robot. Or a bloody great brontosaurus?”

In a world of hybrid supercars and diesel emissions scandals, the Lamborghini Aventador feels like a thoroughly old-school supercar. And that’s no bad thing. A Lamborghini should be outlandish and outrageous. This is the bedroom wall pin-up car for the next generation of supercar lovers.

Bugatti London car dealer opens in Mayfair

New Bugatti dealer opens in London's Mayfair

Bugatti London car dealer opens in MayfairWith the arrival of the new Bugatti Chiron hypercar, the French luxury brand has reopened its London showroom – once again becoming Britain’s one and only new Bugatti dealer.

Developed in partnership with premium car dealer H.R. Owen Bugatti, the new Bruton Street showroom sits adjacent to the retailer’s famous Jack Barclay Bentley dealership, which is a neat fit: Bugatti and Bentley sit in the same exalted division of the Volkswagen Group.

Bugatti Automobiles S.A.S. board member Dr Stefan Brungs helped cut the ribbon to the new dealer, which is packed with past and present cars, plus art installations and sculptures.

Bugatti London car dealer opens in Mayfair

“London is one of the most important locations for Bugatti worldwide,” he said. “Many of our current customers love this city and have a residence here.

“The launch of H.R. Owen Bugatti means that we are now able to serve our exclusive clientele in a perfect setting.”

And despite the new 1,500hp Chiron’s £1.9 million price tag, the dealership may still do strong business: Bugatti today revealed 65 Veyrons are owned by customers in the UK… and 15 Brits have already placed orders for the new Chiron.

Bugatti London car dealer opens in Mayfair

Bugatti London car dealer opens in Mayfair

New Bugatti dealer opens in London’s Mayfair

Bugatti London car dealer opens in MayfairWith the arrival of the new Bugatti Chiron hypercar, the French luxury brand has reopened its London showroom – once again becoming Britain’s one and only new Bugatti dealer.

Developed in partnership with premium car dealer H.R. Owen Bugatti, the new Bruton Street showroom sits adjacent to the retailer’s famous Jack Barclay Bentley dealership, which is a neat fit: Bugatti and Bentley sit in the same exalted division of the Volkswagen Group.

Bugatti Automobiles S.A.S. board member Dr Stefan Brungs helped cut the ribbon to the new dealer, which is packed with past and present cars, plus art installations and sculptures.

Bugatti London car dealer opens in Mayfair

“London is one of the most important locations for Bugatti worldwide,” he said. “Many of our current customers love this city and have a residence here.

“The launch of H.R. Owen Bugatti means that we are now able to serve our exclusive clientele in a perfect setting.”

And despite the new 1,500hp Chiron’s £1.9 million price tag, the dealership may still do strong business: Bugatti today revealed 65 Veyrons are owned by customers in the UK… and 15 Brits have already placed orders for the new Chiron.

Bugatti London car dealer opens in Mayfair

Koenigsegg Nürburgring One:1 incident – the aftermath

Koenigsegg: ABS fault caused high-speed Nürburgring crash

Koenigsegg Nürburgring One:1 incident – the aftermathKoenigsegg has revealed a fault with a front ABS wheel sensor was the cause of its severe high-speed smash at the Nürburgring on Monday 18 July – but the Swedish supercar company has said it WILL return to the Nordschleife to go lap record-chasing.

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Because the ABS system was faulty, the Koenigsegg One:1 hypercar locked its front brakes at 170km/h (105mph) going into the tricky Fuchsrohre section, revealed Koenigsegg: its data shows the car hit a fence at 110km/h and was launched into the air for 22 metres.

The car turned 180 degrees, landed on its left rear wheel and pivoted to finally land parallel to the fence.

A small fire followed in the rear section, but this was traced to the carbonfibre bodywork making contact with the hot exhausts: the fuel shut-off system worked as it should, as did the airbags and other safety systems.

ABS alert

So why wasn’t the unnamed driver aware of the fault? Koenigsegg says that a warning light was glowing to say there was a fault with the ABS system – but as it’s a small light located in the centre of the dash, the helmet-clad driver didn’t spot it.

To be honest, they were probably concentrated on other things.

They also wouldn’t have noticed any difference in brake pedal feel – until they activated the ABS. The Fuchsrohre section is one of the first sections on the Nordschleife where ABS is activated…

Koenigsegg engineers took time out at the Swedish factory on Wednesday 20 July trying to replicate the fault: they disconnected the front left wheel ABS sensor and braked hard from high speed. The behaviour of the car exactly matched that of the Nürburgring crash.

Koenigsegg now has the crashed One:1 back in the workshop at its HQ, and today has released an image of the disassembled car. As you can see, it’s stood up to the high-speed crash well, and even both doors could be opened and closed cleanly.

‘We will be back’

The crash hasn’t put Koenigsegg off chasing a new record Nürburgring time either, but the company says it will take some time out to rebuild the car and roll out technical updates that will be fitted to customer cars too.

“Will we be back this year? That is… hard to say at this point, but we won’t say a definite ‘no’.”

Oh, and how is the driver? Fine. He went to hospital for precautionary tests, but was released later the same afternoon. Koenigsegg even thanked him for putting out the fire straight after the incident.

Porsche 911 R

Porsche 911 R 'selling for close to £1 million'

Porsche 911 RThe Porsche 911 R is being sold by specialist supercar dealers for prices approaching £1 million – and demand is so high, deals are taking place behind closed doors without being advertised.

The Porsche 911 R, which is limited to 991 units (it’s a 991-series model), has an official list price of £136,901. However, supercar finance experts Magnitude Finance say the cars are now commanding premiums of £800,000 on the secondhand market.

“We believe this is a record level of appreciation for a new car based on a percentage of its original value,” said Magnitude head Tim Marlow.

He first heard about the eye-watering premium from a client who was lucky enough to be one of the 911 R buyers.

“We spoke to several Porsche specialist dealers and they confirmed the cars are commanding close to £1 million but they can’t list them at this amount.”

It means the 911 R is a speculator’s dream and, added Marlow, although Porsche doesn’t condone this, “it is easy to see why some can’t avoid the temptation”.

The incredible appreciation of the 911 R even beats that for the LaFerrari, said Marlow. That cost £1 million new and even though a UK independent dealer later sold one for £2 million, that was ‘only’ double the amount.

The 911 R is making seven times its original list price…

It’s not just the Porsche 911 R that’s rocketing in price, either. The £131,296 911 GT3 RS is in great demand too, reckons Magnitude Finance: one customer recently bought one with options for £160,000  and “when he drove out of the showroom the car jumped in value by £100,000”.

Porsche 911 R

Porsche 911 R ‘selling for close to £1 million’

Porsche 911 RThe Porsche 911 R is being sold by specialist supercar dealers for prices approaching £1 million – and demand is so high, deals are taking place behind closed doors without being advertised.

The Porsche 911 R, which is limited to 991 units (it’s a 991-series model), has an official list price of £136,901. However, supercar finance experts Magnitude Finance say the cars are now commanding premiums of £800,000 on the secondhand market.

“We believe this is a record level of appreciation for a new car based on a percentage of its original value,” said Magnitude head Tim Marlow.

He first heard about the eye-watering premium from a client who was lucky enough to be one of the 911 R buyers.

“We spoke to several Porsche specialist dealers and they confirmed the cars are commanding close to £1 million but they can’t list them at this amount.”

It means the 911 R is a speculator’s dream and, added Marlow, although Porsche doesn’t condone this, “it is easy to see why some can’t avoid the temptation”.

The incredible appreciation of the 911 R even beats that for the LaFerrari, said Marlow. That cost £1 million new and even though a UK independent dealer later sold one for £2 million, that was ‘only’ double the amount.

The 911 R is making seven times its original list price…

It’s not just the Porsche 911 R that’s rocketing in price, either. The £131,296 911 GT3 RS is in great demand too, reckons Magnitude Finance: one customer recently bought one with options for £160,000  and “when he drove out of the showroom the car jumped in value by £100,000”.

Porsche 918 Spyder

Porsche to recall 918 Spyder once again

Porsche 918 SpyderPorsche has revealed it is recalling the 918 Spyder again so it can check a series of seatbelt screws and replace them if they appear to be faulty.

The firm is calling it a safety-related recall and is now making contact with all 918 Spyder owners.

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Porsche has already recalled the 918 Spyder several times – once in December 2014 over chassis parts concerns and again in May 2015 to fix a dodgy electric wiring harness.

The latest issue relates to a mistake in the original parts catalogue for the 918 Spyder hypercar. This mixed up the screws for the seatbelt mount and seatbelt reel mount; technicians who may have been working on the car could have mixed up the two screws and installed them incorrectly.

As the screws are one-time-use, this could have affected the functionality of the seatbelt system in the event of an accident. Porsche is thus taking no risks and is recalling all 918 Spyder to check the screws in question.

If they’re faulty, they’ll be replaced. The firm has already corrected the parts catalogue mistake.

Porsche built a total of 918 918 Spyders in a 21-month period, with production finishing in summer 2015. The hybrid hypercar can do 0-62mph in 2.5 seconds and, at launch, went head-to-head with the McLaren P1 and LaFerrari hypercars.

Honda NSX 2016

2016 Honda NSX review: the world’s most high-tech sports car driven at last

Honda NSX 2016Japanese car companies owned the 1980s. They produced great cars that dominated major markets like the United States. Why stop there, though? For Toyota, it was the Lexus LS400 that socked it to the Mercedes-Benz S-Class. For Honda, it was the NSX that, frankly, made contemporary Ferrari products look old-fashioned and slightly embarrassing. A brilliant clean-sheet design famously approved by Ayrton Senna, it was the sports car that made supercars blush. Now, a quarter-century on, Honda’s revived the NSX name to do the same again.

Honda NSX 2016

What’s more of the same?

NSX means New Sports eXperience. Launched in 1989, the original was a landmark. Ferraris today wouldn’t be so good if it weren’t for the NSX. McLaren F1 designer Gordon Murray was a die-hard fan and admits the NSX was the benchmark when designing McLaren’s icon. What made it so good? Being a fast, dynamic and dramatic supercar – but also offering unheard-of levels of quality, usability and ergonomic intelligence. The supercar world is defined by the NSX: what came before it, and what came after it.

Honda NSX 2016

How has this second-generation NSX project come together?

The project was again born in Japan, but this time Honda’s US team have led development, based in Ohio. Ted Klaus has been the man in charge for the project’s four-year development. He’s an active racing driver, a chassis dynamics guru and the most enthusiastic, approachable steely-focused leader you can imagine. He’s the new Mr NSX – and tells us the first Mr NSX said to him “I hope you struggle the way I struggled with the original NSX”. You sense he has; you also sense he’s happy with the solutions his team came up with…

What do we have here then?

Coming four years after the concept NSX, the production version is different in every way, but to all intents the same. A mid-engined two-seater, it has a healthy 581hp – more than any Porsche 911 on sale, more than any McLaren Sports Series model – and like the original in its day, is going in big on tech. It has two turbos, three electric motors and four-wheel drive. So while the £137,950 list price is a lot for a Honda, it’s not a lot for what’s almost certainly the most technologically advanced sports car there’s ever been.

Honda NSX 2016

Describe to me how it looks

It looks taut, tight, very much function-first. Like the Audi R8, it’s a sports car with supercar looks. The complex aero design dominates, with the front end dominated by grilles and air intakes and the floating rear C-pillar clothing more air intakes, air filters and air channels. It’s a 3D design, with plenty of depth and carefully-formed detail. Visually, it’s as complex as F1 used to be in the late-noughties. It’s very different to the original NSX but, it seems, no less appealing. On the Portuguese launch roads, it was as much of a traffic-stopper as any new Ferrari.

Honda NSX 2016

Very low, very wide: it’s a proper supercar

It’s 1.2 metres tall and looks painted to the road: its stance oozes attitude. When you get in, the sill looks like it’s rubbing on the tarmac (and seats are mounted well inboard). This all means the centre of mass is as low as the Senna-pleasing original. But it’s also wide, much more so than the original. It’s nearly two metres across and way wider still when you factor in the mammoth door mirrors. Question is, will this width count against it on the road?

So, it has a V6 and THREE electric motors. How does that all work?

The drivetrain is fiendishly complicated. Called Sport Hybrid Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (or Sport Hybrid SH-AWD, for a bit less of a mouthful), In the middle is the twin-turbo 3.5-litre V6, rated at 507hp. A 48hp electric motor is directly mounted to it (it works a bit like the original Honda Insight), with twin 37hp motors on the front axle. The middle motor is there to boost the torque holes in the power delivery (and minimise turbo lag) and the front motors both give instant acceleration (it’s these that actually launch the NSX off the line during acceleration) and also, via torque vectoring, help stabilize the car when fast-lapping.

Honda NSX 2016

That’s epic complication

It is, but Honda doesn’t want it to feel so. The development goal was to make it the most intuitive hybrid powertrain in the supercar segment. Honda says it first got the base car right before taking it further with the electric tech. The engineers say they’ve tried to take all the artificiality out and use the positives of electric motors – their clean, powerful and instantaneous response – to enhance the driving experience. Certainly on the track, you don’t feel it’s a disconnected e-driver and, as we soon discovered, aspects the sense of positive, planted, surging drive you feel from the front e-motors when you do get it right is glorious.

Honda NSX 2016

What’s this about it being an EV?

The NSX is a hybrid, one that offers low-speed electric-only running. It’s bizarre, pulling away as a silent EV, but cool. City users will love the clean-breathing vibes coming their way. It’s considerate with the engine on, too. In Quiet mode (the most relaxed of the four modes, you can also choose Sport, Sport + and Track), exhaust valves are closed most of the time to keep noise levels socially acceptable. It doesn’t even have a starter motor whirr. Just like the Insight, the Direct Drive Motor is used to start the engine, so it just ‘comes on’ when you press the starter.

Go on, pub bragging rights: what’s the 0-62mph time?

Honda seems reluctant to quote an exact 0-62mph time, oddly. It will only say sub-3.0 seconds and that it’s ‘faster’ than a Porsche 911 Turbo. As that does 0-62mph in 2.9 seconds in ultimate Turbo S form, it seems Honda’s betting on 2.8 seconds or better. “It’s down to the magazines to get their own times,” says Klaus. Come back to us later this summer when Honda UK gets its cars (and make do for now with a 191mph top speed, plus that McLaren-beating power figure)…

Honda NSX 2016

‘It’s not about numbers, it’s about response time,’ says Honda

Honda’s reluctance to quote a 0-62mph time contrasts with its happiness to talk about the sub-100m/s response time of its electric motors. Good for corners, where eye-blink responses are so crucial. This tells you plenty about what Honda’s tried to achieve here – create an ultra-dynamics sports car that uses its tech to enhance and genuinely electrify the driving experience, allowing it to offer an experience no other rival without all this gadgetry can match.

Honda NSX 2016

Come on then: first responses after driving it?

We drove it on track first: straight into the deep end (we later learnt this was intentional, part of Honda’s plan to show off how user-friendly it is). Of course, it’s wildly fast, with the ultra-responsive, gloriously vocal and free-revving engine delivering monster pulling power. But more than that, it’s the confidence you have in the NSX even when pressing on hard on an unfamiliar track with the chief engineer sat next to you (yes, really). I was up to speed within a lap, and beaming by the second from the glorious dynamic display the NSX was putting on. At the end, I was convinced it was a serious sports car, even if I wasn’t quite sure how it had done it…

That complexity again?

It certainly takes time to get under the skin of the new NSX. On track, you learn to brake late, get the nose planted onto the apex and then go hard on the power – the feeling of front-end bite is tremendous, as if the entire front axle has become energised, with the immediate torque steering the rear without ever threatening to spin you like a top. All the mid-engined excitement, none of the drama – once you learn how to use the systems to your advantage, that is.

Is it a similar story on the road?

Honda NSX 2016

Road driving quickly reveals the NSX’s excellent agility, high levels of grip and reactivity, its easily-epic speed and the unique lag-reduced acceleration of its mid-mounted engine. It’s straightforward to steer it quickly and neatly on unfamiliar roads and thus easy to trust it, willingly press on harder and discover what a friendly high performance sports car it is. Again, mid-corner bite from the lithe front end is terrific (thank you, torque vectoring), giving confidence to plant the throttle early and then feel that hint of stabilizing, heroic power-oversteer. What other supercars make you feel like so much of a driving god within two hours? Just avoid Sport + mode on the road. Sure, this gives you max thrust from the electric motors, keeping the batteries permanently charged ready to dish out F1-like energy boosts, but it also makes the ride too firm, steering too solid and, critically, the accelerator far too sensitive. Configurable modes are coming, hints Honda…

Crunch time: with all that electronic stuff, does it feel artificial?

The NSX doesn’t feel artificial to this writer. It uses technology to great effect, helping it do things it wouldn’t otherwise be able to do: the driver senses this through glorious, heroic dynamics rather than simply being passengers while an ultra-clever robot car does its thing. Saying that, you have to be mindful of this technology – it will only do its magic if you learn how to exploit its e-drive front end, its instant-response drivetrain, its ultra-grippy chassis. But to me, this isn’t artificial, because it’s giving an experience that’s impossible without this tech, and giving so much driver satisfaction when you get it right. Gripe about artificiality with the initial steering and brake pedal response, not the NSX’s dynamics.

And the engine?

Honda NSX 2016

Despite being a hybrid, the V6 engine dominates. It’s the right sort of vocal, with a throaty throb with hints of Porsche 911 thrum to it. There’s a lot of turbo whistle and wastegate chatter (with a cool overlay of electric whine when you lift off) but the yowl of the engine is ever-present, particularly when howling to its 7,500rpm redline. It’s not quite traditional Honda-ultra-high revs, but the engine-centre-stage focus certainly is (it’s all ‘real’ noise too, courtesy of exhaust flaps and sound-channeling pipework into the cabin). It also enhances the hybrid-drive mode: in town, it’s often a surprise to have the engine noise silenced and electric drive take over – not something antisocial sports cars generally do.

What else surprised you?

Honda’s nine-speed dual clutch transmission impresses, proving sufficiently intuitive not to frustrate in auto mode and great fun in paddleshift mode – it’s huge fun going up and down the ultra-close ratios. Brembo brakes are clean and progressive when used hard (well, the optional ceramics I drove on launch were, anyway). I loved the deeply sculpted steering wheel and thought the seats great; they’re heavily bolstered lower down but more open around your shoulders, further enhancing the broad interior’s airy feel. Speaking of which…

What’s the interior like?

Honda NSX 2016

It’s intentionally simple inside. Ultra-clear ergonomics, simple buttons and knobs, no plethora of buttons. To adjust the different drive modes, simply turn a big round knob on the dash. The most complex bit is the fully-digital dial pack, which has all sorts of gauges for revs, battery charge, oil temperature and umpteen other things I haven’t quite worked out. It’s a strict two-seater, but it’s perhaps the most user-friendly two-seater on sale.

A user-friendly supercar? Well I’ll be

What made the original NSX so great was its focus on ergonomics (Ferrari and Porsche didn’t know the word existed in the 1980s). This continues that. Forward visibility is superb: the dash is low, windscreen deep and the complex-to-make A-pillars are super-thin for panorama vision (in contrast to rear visibility: the over-shoulder view is awful). Some supercars are about intimidating the driver. Not this. Honda even claims the boot is bigger than it seems: sitting behind the engine, the 100-litre space is extra-wide so will take a full-size golf bag despite having just a third of the capacity of a Ford Fiesta.

Does that user-friendliness extend to the drive?

Here’s the really clever bit about the NSX: it’s sublimely easy to drive, a refined cruiser, ultra-settled and planted at speed, has a smooth ride and, in non-Sport + mode, the most waft-like yet controlled damping of any sports car. Instantaneous engine response gives it diesel-like drivability, the wide cabin is comfortable and high-quality and the agility you feel on twisting roads also offers stress-reducing benefits when navigating unfamiliar dual carriageways, schlepping up the motorway or heading into metropolitan cut ‘n thrust. A 911 has long held claim to be the real-world supercar: the latest NSX is here to steal its crown.

2016 Honda NSX: verdict

Honda NSX 2016

The new Honda NSX is a very ‘Honda’ type of supercar and thus an authentic successor to the mighty original. It’s as much of a technological step on as the 1989 car, but this hybrid/electric/computers-laden tech is used to add to the driving dynamics, not take anything away from the driving experience. Certainly, it does things most other more ‘analogue’ sports cars can’t do and is a unique slam-dunk because of this. If the purity of a McLaren 570S or familiarity of a 911 isn’t for you, the space-age NSX may well be.

For

  • Astonishing technological achievement
  • Driver-enhancing dynamic thrills
  • Supercar styling with super-ergonomic interior

Against

  • It takes a lot of brainpower to learn all its systems and how to get the best from it
  • McLaren won’t be worried by the on-centre steering feel
  • Here’s hoping owners put the time in to learn what an epic car the NSX may well be

2016 Honda NSX: specifications

Price: £137,950

Engine: 3.5-litre V6 with Direct Drive Motor and Twin Motor Unit

Gearbox: Nine-speed dual clutch auto

Power: 581hp (system total)

Torque: 476lb ft (system total)

(V6 engine power/torque: 507hp/405lb-ft

Direct Drive Motor power/torque: 48hp/108lb-ft

Twin Motor Unit power/torque: 37+37hp/53+53lb ft)

0-62mph: TBC

Top speed: 191mph

Fuel economy: 28.2mpg

CO2 emissions: 228g/km

Length/width/height: 4497/1939/1204mm

Kerb weight: 1763kg