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Honda only taking top-spec NSX

No boggo: Honda's NSX is available in a more affordable lower specification version in the United States wearing Acura badges, but Australia will get a kit-heavy version.

Image makeover driven by sportier Honda models and poshest NSX flagship

20 May 2016

HONDA Australia will only be offering the most generously-equipped, high-specification NSX sportscar when the mid-engined two-seater arrives later this year, spearheading the company's strategy to attract younger buyers to the brand with more desirable models.

The arrival of the HR-V compact SUV kicked off the sportier, more youthful model focus and was followed by the Civic sedan earlier this week, but the Japanese car-maker is maintaining the model momentum with a tricked-up NSX flagship.

In the United States, customers have a range of options to customise their NSX, potentially adding a long list of extras to the $168,400 ($A233,000) base price, but to elevate the prestige of the model locally, Honda Australia will introduce the coupe with almost all the options already included.

Honda is yet to announce Australian pricing for the model, but the inclusion of some significant extra equipment is expected to boost the equivalent local price. In the US a fully-kitted NSX rises to $201,500 ($A279,000), but with shipping costs and local delivery charges factored in, the bottom line is likely to be more than the equivalent North American cost.

In the United Kingdom, the model will go on sale for 130,000 or the equivalent of $A262,000.

Speaking at the launch of the all-new tenth-generation Civic sedan, Honda Australia director Stephen Collins told GoAuto that only the highest-specification NSX would be offered Down Under.

“We're just going to bring in the top-spec one,” he said. “Because it's such a brand statement we just want it to be the best.”

Despite the absence of final pricing and lead times, Mr Collins said a number of avid Honda fans had already put their hand up for an example of the company's first NSX in more than a decade.

“We are taking expressions of interest, so once we know pricing, which I think will be the middle of this year then we can start ordering them from the factory.

“I know of a Brisbane dealer who is holding two or three. My guess would be maybe a dozen (total).”

But Mr Collins explained the NSX's role was not to generate volume or profit for Honda, and instead served as a halo for the brand, attracting more new customers to its full range of models.

“It's a head-turner and it's going to say 'this is what Honda is all about', so whether we sell 10 or 100 or 1000, it doesn't bother me,” he said.

In addition to the standard 3.5-litre mid-mounted turbo V6 engine with three electric motors and a combined total of 427kW/646Nm, all-wheel drive, nine-speed dual-clutch transmission and carbon-fibre/aluminium construction, some items from the US NSX options list could end up in Australian spec versions.

In the US model, manually adjustable seats are upgraded to power versions with either full semi-aniline leather or part Alcantara, matching black Alcantara roof-liner and the interior carbon-fibre package, which adds the composite material to the instrument cluster cap, steering wheel trims, along with aluminium pedals.

On the outside, the American car is offered with the choice of Interwoven design wheel or Signature Y-Spoke styles, which house the beefier carbon-ceramic brake package with six-piston callipers painted in red, black or silver.

The carbon-fibre exterior sport package adds more of the lightweight material to the front splitter, rear diffuser and side sills, while a carbon rear decklid spoiler and engine cover and roof are also expected as standard fare.

An ELS Studio Audio Tech package completes the list of extras with a top-quality nine-speaker sound system, but it is not known if the system will be equipped with the satellite radio technology that depends on SiriusXM in the United States.

Speaking at the launch of the Civic sedan, Honda Australia customer and communications general manager Scott McGregor said the presence of the NSX high-performance model in the range would build on the progress already made by the HR-V and Civic.

“There's a general perception with the Honda brand that we are for older people or a bit boring, so I think we needed something aggressively bold to kind of shake people and make people really consider us,” he said.

“HR-V did a good job of that, more than we expected. This (Civic sedan) is the next one and then we've got Civic hatch, Type R, NSX. Once we have completed the Civic journey in the second half of next year with Type R, that's where we will see people start to say 'maybe my perception of Honda as a brand isn't correct'.”

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