With the goal of meeting or surpassing performance of western rivals, at a lower pricepoint with enough reliability and comfort to be used as a regular car, Honda developed the HP-X (Honda Pininfarina eXperimental) which would later evolve into the NS-X (New Sportscar eXperimental).
The NSX featured an all-aluminum monocoque chassis, a world's first on a mass production vehicle which was the result of extensive design and materials development. The layout was mid-engine, rear wheel drive, a radical departure from the popular front-engine, front wheel drive layout, but offered new possibilities for frame design, packaging and performance.
Power was delivered by a 3.0L V6 naturally aspirated engine C30A, featuring VTEC variable valve timing and lift, variable volume intake and titanium connecting rods. Mass was kept low via an aluminum head and block and the engine was mounted transversely behind the driver. Power delivery was performed via a 5-speed manual gearbox or later in 1994 onwards optionally via a 4-speed automatic gearbox.
With the aim of reducing understeer during cornering, the NSX used a limited slip differential design that performed locking via preload only, minimizing activation in undesirable situations such as corner-entry, although it had a tendency to spin the inside wheel coming out of a corner as the locking action was limited by the preload torque amount.
The suspension layout of the NSX is aluminum double wishbone with main coil-spring and damper alongside torsion bar stabilizers on both axles. Additionally the suspension includes a special compliance-pivot system which minimizes wheel movement when the assembly is subjected to forces such as driving over a bump or cornering, without the need for potentially noisy and uncomfortable solid joints often found on racing vehicles. Mounted on the chassis of the car, the compliance pivot additionally allowed for more free packaging of the control components. The suspension geometry has high camber gain and mild toe deflection, resulting in high grip and predictable handling. Mechanical trail and scrub radius were kept low with the aim of light yet communicative steering feedback without the need for power steering components.
Special OEM tires were created for the NSX after extensive testing, featuring internal plys angled to produce a ply-steer force while travelling straight, resulting in characteristic turn-in behavior when coupled with the static toe settings and low bumpsteer of the NSX. The tires have a directional tread pattern and cannot be rotated.
Standard tire for the Japanese Domestic Market early model NSX was the Yokohama Advan A-022H1. Offering quite high dry-grip, the tire however had somewhat higher wear than was expected and the aggressive toe-in setting of the original NSX alignment resulted in premature tire wearing. Coupled with the more neutral suspension and small tire split of the early models, the first production models of the NSX were prone to oversteer. An adjustment to the spring rates and damping was made in 1992, and in 1994 the tire was changed and split increased from 205/225 to 215/245 alongside adjusted suspension alignment for less rear-toe in to combat tire wear.
Track-modified version of the Honda NSX. Mild weight reduction has been performed and suspension upgraded to the Sports Modulo springs and adjustable dampers with upgraded bushings. Larger size Yokohama Advan Neova AD08R tire has been fitted to OEM 1994+ wheels and brakes have been upgraded to 1997 spec and sport brake pads have been added for more bite. Power has been increased respectably via tuning of the naturally aspirated engine.
Honda E-NA2 NSX Type S-Zero (1997) Track oriented version of the Type S, developed to meet demand from buyers for the now out of production NSX-R. Drastic weight reduction has been performed, shedding almost 100kg from the base model. The C30A engine has been replaced by the later models' C32B engine, mated to a 6 speed gearbox delivering power via a new more effective Helical differential. Drive-by-Wire throttle has also been incorporated. Suspension is similar to the E-NA1 NSX-R.
Honda E-NA1 NSX-R (1992) Although the NSX was a high-performance sportscar, it was still developed with comfort and street driving in mind. The NSX-R was Honda's answer to the track driving enthusiast. Changes included extensive weight reduction via removing elements such as sound deadening, the audio system, the air conditioning system and the traction control system. ABS however was retained.
Changes from the early NSX-R include larger wheels in a special color only for the NSX-R, specially developed "GP" brakepads and Bridgestone Potenza RE010-H0 tires with a larger split towards wider rear tire.