The long-awaited successor to the original NSX, launched in 1990. An impossible act to follow for many, due to Ayrton Senna's involvement in the car's development and because the 1990 car was technically ground-breaking in so many respects.
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1) Aggressive lower spoiler accelerates dramatically to the headlamps and really adds movement to the front face, bringing much-needed excitement to the surfacing.
2) Chrome finisher just under the hood feels a little like an afterthought, and the NSX is mid-engined, like the original: Does it need the grille?
3) Color-break theme around the NSX's nose continues with a separation around the base of the windshield, resulting in a floating A-pillar and an elegant, slender header over the side glass.
4) The header flows into a 'flying buttress,' floating away from the side glass. Cleverly blended into the rear wheel-arch panel, this carries a clear message; aerodynamic muscle.
5) Wheel design has an intricate graphic and a deep offset that reflects the NSX's image of technical precision.
6) Profile of the lower sill is an example of how difficult it is to resolve these surfaces in an automotive form. Exposed corners jar a little against the otherwise well-resolved surrounding forms, although they do add tension and drama.
The NSX has a difficult brief: to recreate the drama of the original car, but in a very different and crowded market. It's a technical tour-de-force and has a compact, muscular presence that embodies Honda's precision engineering approach as well. Some of the detailing perhaps doesn't stack up against the competition from the likes of McLaren and Porsche, but it's a dramatic statement from a confident company.
Ed Stubbs is a Senior Lecturer in Automotive + Transport Design in the UK tasked with nurturing tomorrow's superstar-designers to embrace the challenge of future mobility. He was previously employed at Nissan/Infiniti European Design studio, Ford in Design + Product Innovation, Bertrandt and Cooper Standard Auto. You can read more from Ed on his blog at faced.wordpress.com