DRIVING THE LEGENDARY HONDA NSX
SO WHAT'S IT LIKE TO DRIVE ONE OF THE MOST ICONIC JAPANESE PERFORMANCE CARS OF ALL TIME?
I'd long dreamed of driving a Honda NSX. Like many Japanese car enthusiasts, it's been a proper bedroom wall-worthy car thanks to its 90s video game styling and blistering performance.
Sure, it went too unchanged for too long and left us in 2005 unable to hold a candle to contemporary supercars, but when it first hit the scene it left the likes of Ferrari a little red-faced - what, you mean performance cars could be great to drive, practical and reliable? Who knew?
Last year I was lucky enough to drive one. It was one of the last to be built for the UK market and it's owned by Honda UK. It's an immaculate example and although I only got 48 hours in the driving seat, I made sure the wheels barely stopped turning.
In my job as a motoring journalist, I'm fortunate enough to drive new cars every single day. It's rare that I'll ever drive something more than a year old. So it's easy to be a little disappointed after a short drive with the NSX.
In the age of turbocharged engines with little-to-no lag, the wait for VTEC to kick in, yo, can feel like an age. And even when the engine's on song, it's not particularly fast - its 276bhp is less than a modern Civic Type-R can muster.
But then you shake yourself and remember this is a car with roots in the 90s and recalibrate your senses. And then it all makes sense.
It really is all about that engine. Keep the 3.2-litre V6 in the upper reaches of the rev range and it absolutely howls, offering a delightful surge of acceleration that does make you pine for the days when naturally aspirated engines were the norm.
Keep the engine above 6000rpm and the fact the numbers on the speedo are a little lower than they might be in a modern hot hatch won't matter at all.
The chassis is a delight, too. The NSX feels so composed even on the crap excuse for 21st Century roads we have in England. The steering is feelsome but slow, and takes some getting used to. Perhaps the one thing I miss from modern cars is a quicker rack.
But it's so easy to get into a flow with the NSX. On a fun road you quickly relax and become one with the ebb and flow of the Tarmac as it cuts across the countryside. Fast, but never sketchy. Planted, but never boring.
The thing I take away from my short time with the old Honda NSX is that this is a car that must be learned, and that's something to be celebrated. In just 48 hours it just about lived up to the hype, but I reckon with more time behind the wheel I'd be totally and utterly in love.