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by David Zalstein

Surrounded by much hype and huge expectation, the first new Honda NSX to be sold in Australia in 25 years launched locally in late 2016. Anticipation was high and fans were, understandably, rather excited. Then Honda Australia confirmed pricing for the hybrid supercar: an eyebrow-raising $420,000 (before on-road costs).

So, a little more than 12 months on, how has the market reacted to the Japanese tour de force? Not all that well, it seems.

Honda Australia has revealed to CarAdvice that, all up, it has sold a grand total of two NSXs since the model went on sale here: one in 2016, and one so far in 2017.

“One was [in] December last year, and the other just recently,” Honda Australia group public relations manager Neil McDonald confirmed to CarAdvice.

“As [Honda Australia director] Stephen Collins mentioned when we announced the NSX was returning to Australia – more than 18 months ago – it has always been pitched as a ‘brand halo’ supercar,” McDonald said.

“It wasn’t positioned, nor was it expected, to chase outright volume sales.

“NSX has allowed Honda to raise the profile of the brand here through its hybrid technology, performance, exclusivity, and ultimately the type of driving experience that evokes memories of the original NSX, but through a 21st century execution.”

Despite the minuscule sales numbers, McDonald claims the NSX has provided the local division with a positive knock-on effect for the brand, while being an integral part of telling ‘the story of Honda’ through various campaigns.

Asked bluntly how likely any future or impending pricing adjustment for the model may be, McDonald said, “We’ve been very happy with the response and interest in it.”

“Apart from what we’ve delivered, we currently have three other orders [for the NSX] in the pipeline, with deliveries likely later this year or next year, depending on the manufacturing slots at the factory in the US.”

For context, the Honda NSX is one of the dearer cars on sale in Australia, but plenty of Aussie fans of high-end metal aren’t shy about spending big to put something special in the driveway.

For example, this year alone, Audi has sold 21 of its $389,325 R8 V10 plus quattros, and BMW has sold 13 of its $303,300 hybrid-powered i8s.

What’s more, McLaren says the $379,000 570S makes up “a large proportion” of the 60 McLaren coupes and convertibles sold so far in 2017, while Porsche says the $390,000 911 Turbo easily accounts for around 10 per cent of year-to-date 911 sales – roughly 28 units– and Mercedes-Benz says it’s shifted a total of 72 AMG GTs (priced from $258,711 to $338,711).

Perhaps most interesting, though, is that Nissan has sold 21 units of the NSX’s archrival, the $299,000 Nissan GT-R Nismo, since the 441kW/652Nm all-paw Japanese monster launched locally in February 2017.

With its body built at Honda’s Performance Manufacturing Centre (PMC) in Marysville, Ohio and its 373kW/550Nm dry-sump twin-turbocharged 3.5-litre V6 engine hand-assembled in nearby Anna, Ohio, the second-generation NSX teams a nine-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission with an intricate all-wheel drive system and three electric motors – one 35kW/147Nm direct-drive motor linked to the rear wheels, and two 27kW/73Nm motors tied to the fronts.

Claiming combined peak outputs of 427kW of power and 646Nm of torque, the all-wheel-drive NSX is touted as being capable of hitting 0-100km/h in around 3.0 seconds, as well as a top speed of 308km/h.

Priced from $159,900 (before on-road costs), and powered by a 201kW/284Nm naturally-aspirated mid-mounted 3.0-litre V6 engine, the original rear-wheel-drive NSX launched locally in 1991, with Honda Australia racking up sales of 280 units between ‘91 and 2002.

Tell us what you think

Is $420,000 too much to pay for a Honda NSX? Should Honda Australia keep or change the price? And when does ‘exclusive’ cross over to being a flop?

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