The original NSX set a spectacularly high standard in this department, being to this day one of the most absorbing and perfectly judged fast road cars you’re ever likely to drive.

The new version is 400kg heavier. It needs much stouter suspension settings, wider tyres, more power steering assistance and a host of other things just to level with its current crop of rivals on handling response, lateral grip and body control.

Matt Saunders Autocar

Matt Saunders

Road test editor
Responsive steering and rear weight bias force you to be smooth at the limit

The chances of achieving all that, and matching the car’s legendary predecessor on fluency and tactile feel – even accounting for the low centre of gravity conferred by the new NSX’s low-set electric motors and the engine’s dry sump – were always vanishingly small.

And so, sure enough, the new NSX isn’t quite as fluent-riding, tender-handling or easy to place as the old one was.

It’s much more directionally responsive than its forebear, being flatter handling, quicker steering, better balanced and more adhesive through any corner – enough in every case to feel every bit as agile, poised and hunkered down as an Audi R8 or a Mercedes-AMG GT, despite that near 1.8-tonne kerb weight.

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But the Honda is also more trustworthy and confidence-inspiring than either of those rivals, thanks to steering that’s as weighty and communicative as it is direct, and fine on-throttle stability.

In Sport+ and Track modes, you’ll find the ride quite aggressively damped and abrupt over sharper intrusions. It’s not enough to make it bump steer down a B-road taken at any sane speed, but it will make you aware of how hard the suspension has to work to keep the car’s mass in check.

In Sport, those dampers allow more vertical body movement, making the car quieter and more comfortable but a little too soft for our tastes. The upshot? That the ideal on-road ride compromise for a car like this isn’t quite on offer here.

Never mind, because what you do get is damned close to brilliant in any case: handling that’s pin-sharp but still predictable and natural feeling once you’re acclimatised, manners that are a wee bit coarse at times but never wearisome or wayward, and lots of connectedness and reward.

A wide front track and independent torque-vectoring front electric motors keep a tight lid on understeer, which only presents once the tyres are asked to work miracles. The car’s attitude is nicely throttle-adjustable when cornering on the limit and its steering remains uncorrupted, precise and gently communicative.

Bigger slip angles aren’t advisable; that rear axle is carrying more than a tonne, so it breaks away quite quickly when you take liberties.

Condition of the drive battery is more robust than we’ve found in other performance hybrids. It charges very quickly and, six laps in, was still showing more than 50% charge.

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