Car Dec 96

20 Best Handling Cars In The World

December 1996

The magazine tested "20 of the best handling cars in the world" and the NSX was ranked 4th overall (after Elise, WRX and MGF, all unavailable in the US) but it was fastest around the track. Quite surprising if you consider the competition, which included Porsche 911 Carerra, BMW M3, Mercedes E36 AMG, Toyota Supra, Nissan Skyline GTR, Lamborghini Diablo, Lotus Elise, TVR Cerbera, Caterham Superlight, Jaguar XK8, Nissan Skyline, and the NSX of course.

Place of action was Thruxton circuit, the fastest racetrack in Britain. It’s tricky (and bumpy too) which means it’s ideal to find out everything about a car’s handling.

Best lap times were the following

1. 1:32.12 Honda NSX

 2. 1:32.84 Toyota Supra
 3. 1:33.16 Porsche 911
 4. 1:33.18 Lamborghini Diablo SV
 5. 1:33.36 Nissan Skyline GTR
 6. 1:33.42 TVR Cerbera
 7. 1:33.78 BMW M3
 8. 1:33.80 Caterham Superlight
 9. 1:34.01 Subaru Impreza Turbo
 10. 1:34.24 Lotus Elise

Not only did the NSX have the best lap time but it won with a considerable margin over the rest of the pack. The NSX was given the following comment:

"The NSX was a revelation when it was unveiled in 1989. At a stroke it showed up all the existing Italian supercars as crude, ill-handling dinosaurs. More than six years on, it remains the most wonderfully-handling mid-engined supercar in the world. Some other monster cars have more grip, owing to their wider rubber and their greater purchase on the tarmac.

But none has a more neutral, benign demeanour. No other supercar gives its driver as much confidence, or passes on its handling messages more richly. The NSX demystifies the mid-engined supercar. The NSX is better on the road than the track. The fact that, in John Barker’s hands, it is the quickest track car here, emphasises just what a splendid road car it is. It absorbs little road pimples bumps and humps with complete equanimity. Its handling is deliciously neutral on

 fast yet winding B-roads. The steering is firm and quite accurate (although it could be a  touch sharper on the limit). The brakes are fabulous. And the driving position is  faultless, with none of that askew seating position nonsense that the 
 Italian supercar makers still foist on their owners.

On the track, the NSX is supremely able. Its relative modest rubber inhibits ultimate grip on the fast, wide sweeps at the back of Thruxton: the car gently oversteers, as grip begins to disappear at the rear. Yet this modest breakaway is so well sign posted, so controllable, that the NSX soon proves itself to be a 170mph machine in which it’s possible to dance on the limit yet never fall."

The NSX still is top of its class.

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