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Honda NSX ends run in Australia as order books close


Honda Australia has officially killed off its NSX supercar after years of dwindling sales saw it find zero buyers locally last year.

Honda Australia has decided to end orders for the second-generation NSX supercar, concluding the run of the niche American-made two-door coupe.

The hybrid petrol-electric Honda NSX launched in Australia back in 2016, and since then it has sold just nine units, while no new orders were placed throughout 2020.

Correction: The original version of this article did not convey that the NSX was a special-order vehicle for its lifespan, with no stock carried in country. It did not reflect that production slots allocated to Australia were consistently filled.

Honda NSX 2020 rear
Honda has confirmed that the NSX is officially dead after it recorded zero sales in 2020

While high-end luxury cars naturally sell in modest numbers, the second-gen NSX was an underachiever in Australia. The latest Porsche 911, by contrast, found 401 homes in the first eleven months of 2020.

But while the 911 spans a wide price band between $230,000 and $500,000 before on-road costs, Honda’s niche NSX was available in a single $420,000 specification that made it accessible only to the most well-heeled.

Many have pointed to the Honda NSX’s price of $420,000 (before on roads) and positing in the market as a reason for its demise.  With the Japanese supercar’s price on par with rivals such as the Porsche 911 Turbo S ($473,500), Lamborghini Huracan Evo ( $384,187) and Ferrari 488 GTB ($469,888) but who all carried far more brand prestige. 

Honda NSX 2020 with old NSX
The modern take on the NSX somewhat failed to live up the hype of its predecessor despite its advanced hybrid system

The second generation of the NSX did not replicate the success of the original version, which in the 1990s introduced the world to the idea of a supercar that was liveable and relatively easy to drive.

Justin Lacy, the public relations manager at Honda Australia, confirmed to Chasing Cars that they had pulled the hybrid’s plug last year but noted that it was a groundbreaking supercar for its time.

“NSX was the world’s first supercar to utilise hybrid electric motors to enhance and elevate every element of its dynamic performance and it was acclaimed as a technological innovator in the supercar category,” he said.

Honda NSX 2020 xray
Honda NSX used a 3.5-litre V6 combined with three electric motors to produce 375kW of power and 550Nm of torque

Honda’s modern incarnation paired a 3.5-litre twin-turbo petrol V6 engine with three electric motors – two at the rear, one at the front – producing a combined 373kW of power and 550Nm of torque. Those outputs were good enough to launch from 0-100km/h in under three seconds.

The original first-gen NSX launched in Australia in 1991 priced at $159,900 – about $310,000 in today’s Australian dollars – and produced 201kW/284Nm from its naturally aspirated three-litre V6, which could sprint from 0-100km/h in about 5.5 seconds.

That car was rear-drive, but for the modern incarnation, Honda matched the powertrain with all-wheel-drive – but the car was criticised for lacking the theatre of some competitors.

Honda NSX 2020 interior
The Honda NSX followed in the footsteps of its predecessor in being a capable supercar that was reliable and practical enough to drive every day

While it may be the end for the NSX as we know it in Australia, Japanese publication Best Car Web has reported the potent supercar drivetrain may make its way into a performance SUV.

The SUV would likely be badged under Honda’s luxury brand Acura in the U.S. and would join an emerging group of SUV supercars such as the Lamborghini Urus, Aston Martin DBX and the incoming Ferrari Purosangue.

The mooted Honda super-SUV is still in the planning phase and would not likely go on sale until at least 2025.