Car Aug 97

Richard Bremner writes: "More power, more thrills But the NSX colour chart is as restricted as ever"

 You might think it a detail, but colour schemes can change the way you think about a car.  Last year, Hodna decided it would start painting the roof of the NSX-T open-top in the  same colour as the rest of it. 'So what,' I hear you mutter. Well, if you could see the  result you might concede that it is mildly transforming. The car looks less dated. Its  shape looks more homogeneous. And it does not make it look any more like a Ferrari, as  Honda has long secretly feared. A shame, then, that you can't have the NSX coupe painted  the same way. This may sound stupid, but if I was (sic) considering one of these cars  (unlikely, at L70,000 or so) the new paint scheme would make the difference between me  buying or not buying. And why not? If you're spending that much money, you'd want to get  the colour right.

However, Honda has expended all its NSX efforts on the car rather than bothering about marketing and pandering to the whims of its customers. But offering a wide range of colours on a L70,000 car can hardly be called pandering when Rover will paint you an MGF in any colour you like, and Lancia sells the Ypsilon in hues from a 100-strong palette. But I digress. The main reason for resampling the NSX is that it has been improved. The engine’s more potent (up 200 cc to 3.2 litres, gaining 20 bhp) and coupled to a new close-ratio six-speed ‘box, the brakes are upgraded, as is the electric steering, the exhaust is retuned, there’s an immobiliser, and the alloy body panels are tougher.Useful changes, although the NSX is still much the same as it was in ’91 when it first appeared. That’s no disappointment. It still feels wonderfully well planted on the road, just as exquisitely damped and the yet more electrifying V6 continues to indulge its throatily sonorous wailings. And it’s always surprising to find a Japanese car with weighty, measured controls – they suit the car’s wonderfully robust demeanour, itself unexpected in view of its lightness. All of which maike it a great drive, and never mind that a 911 gives you more feedback, or that an F355 has more soul.The NSX deserves to sell more. But what it really needs is enthusiastic backing from its maker. These changes are at least a start."

 Given five stars (out of five) - "Exceptional. Drive before you die." 

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