Japanese car manufacturer Honda has a long history of high performance cars, which were praised by automotive journalists as well as car enthusiasts. Such cars were screaming S2000 roadster, fun and affordable hot hatchback Civic Type R, and NSX supercar. After these cars brand started manufacturing rather boring and lifeless cars for a long time. However, as sporty Honda cars are making a return, company is allowing to take a sneak look into the new dedicated Performance Manufacturing Center (PMC) in Marysville, Ohio, where new generation NSX will be built.
Although supercars are not being delivered to customers yet, trial production is already underway. Production of customer cars is scheduled to start in spring 2016 and Honda will use both domestic and globally sourced parts in order to ensure the best possible quality of the new NSX. However, best materials are only beginning of the recipe for a good supercar – craftsmanship and technologies are needed as well. This is why now Honda is showing some innovative features of its PMC.
This new manufacturing facility is said to employ ground-breaking techniques in weld, body construction, body painting, final assembly and quality confirmation. In order to reach the highest levels of precision and craftsmanship, Honda is combining skills of experienced engineers and craftsmen with the most innovative technology.
Production of the NSX is going to be centred on the skills of approximately 100 experienced engineers and technicians. Some of the most important work is going to be done manually, ensuring hand-made quality for every car that rolls of the production line. For example, every bolt on the NSX is hand started by a technician.
Exterior body panels are going to be installed by these technicians as well – they will be installed manually at the end of assembly process from the inside out to ensure 100% symmetrical side-to-side fitment. Of course, technological innovations are critical to manufacturing of the NSX supercar – lasers are used to find door hem edges, fenders and door gaps in order to install all exterior panels without requiring adjustments. Furthermore, Honda is introducing the most innovative welding technology into manufacturing process of NSX.
Honda is very proud talking about its welding technology at the new PMC. It is the first use of all robotic metal inert gas, commonly known as MIG, welding in the world and it employs eight robots to apply approximately 900 MIG welds. This process allows creating a space frame that is incredibly precise, in addition to being extremely rigid and lightweight. This space frame is the core of entire construction of the NSX supercar and needs to be very strong and rigid, to provide car with good handling as well as safety.
Honda also created an innovative all-glass quality confirmation centre located in the middle of the manufacturing floor. It was created in order to ensure best possible quality of vehicles. Using this quality confirmation centre technicians from every department are able to monitor all aspects of a car as it moves through the entire production process. This should help to ensure that new NSX is going to be the high-quality product and will bring back past fame to the brand. Of course, the most important part for this quest if the heart of the supercar.
Engine of the NSX is also going to be assembled by master builders at the nearby engine plant. It takes over six hours to complete and then it is machine balanced to ensure perfect balance. NSX is powered by a 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V-6 engine with dry sump. Entire power unit – petrol engine, 9-speed dual clutch transmission with direct-drive electric motor, and front Twin Motor Unit – is bench-tested and broken-in to make sure every supercar is ready to tackle whatever owner has to throw at it. Such testing is equivalent to 150 driving miles (214.4 kilometres). Performance and quality should be ensured by Honda’s sporting history and racing experience.
Original Honda NSX was aiming at the performance of Ferrari 328. The idea was to create affordable supercar that would offer usability of an everyday vehicle and performance of much more expensive Ferrari of the time. Production of it was discontinued in 2005 and we had to wait for new generation for more than 10 years.
New NSX is also mid-engined, but now it has three electric motors to help it outperform modern Ferraris, get better handling from a 4 wheel drive system and still have great efficiency. It also has a 9-speed dual clutch transmission, while most high performance cars still use 7 speed transmissions, which should help car to consume less fuel. It is still unclear when we will be able to know more about the car or even see it driven by automotive journalists, but we sure hope new NSX will be worthy contender for Ferrari’s 488 GTB, Audi’s R8, Mercedes AMG GT and other supercars.