Acura NSX vs BMW i8: Battle of the hybrid hell-raisers
Change is happening every day.
New breakthroughs are occurring every single second.
It's a fantastic time.
To be around.
Cars are changing as well, EZs are getting greater range, autonomy is on it's way.
But while there's lots of hub bub about getting the general public from A to B as cleanly and as safely as possible, you could be forgiven for thinking that the sports car might just go the way of the Dodo.
But thankfully, I've got two cars that beg to differ.
Meet the BMW I8 and the Honda MSX.
Both have mid-mounted internal combustion engines, electric motors driving the front wheels, and a small electric power plant to plug torton gaps.
Both use petrol and electricity, and both cost north of 100,000 pounds.
The Honda, further North than the Bimmer.
The tech used in these two is remarkably similar to that you'll find in the Porsche 918, the Ferrari La Ferrari, and the McLaren P1.
Basically, electric stuff hooked up to a mid-mounted internal combustion engine.
To make pretty things go fast.
Yet the BMW and the Honda go about the same job very differently.
The i8 was arguably the first super car with this tech.
Yeah, the Hyper cars may have got there first, but the i8 it took one step closer to affordable.
With 367 brake horsepower on tap on a 1.5 Means a turbo charged three cylinder engine and electric power plans as well, the I8 will be north of 62 in 4.4 seconds.
Now, that's about [INAUDIBLE] with a box fresh Porsche 911 Carrera with a manual gear box.
Not exactly slow.
It will do that all the while managing acclaimed 134 4.5 MPG now I am on a race track so I'm not gonna manage the lifter but I might just get the full one.
It's top speed is limited to 155 miles an hour and it weighs just under 1500 kilos thanks to a liberal use of Carbon fibre reinforced plastic and other light weight materials.
It's rear tires are narrow and it's body is as aerodynamic as possible for Slice through the air cleanly.
The IA claims to offer sports car thrill, with eco cred, that does it well.
We have racetrack [UNKNOWN] Let's see how fun it is.
First and foremost, in here it does not sound good.
[INAUDIBLE] I mean, no, not as gruff as other sports cars, but [INAUDIBLE].
It resonates really well through the [INAUDIBLE].
Now, interestingly, BMW wants to keep this super, super light so, the glass separating me and the engine [INAUDIBLE].
In the middle is gorilla glass like what you get on your iPhone, because it's [UNKNOWN] when it drops.
The passenger cell is made out of carbon fiber reinforced plastic, but is all designed to be super, super light to get as many mpgs as possible, but also to The lighter the car is, the more you can do with less power.
But mine is quite quick.
Surprisingly quick, actually, considering the company it's keeping today the Intersect is way more powerful but this feel fast and more impressively it feels very light on its feet.
Such a nimble car.
The steering is not to heavy and the throttle response is inspontaniess, as you would expect from a car with hybrid assistance.
We are doing 100, 110, 115, then we brake.
The brakes are phenomenally good.
Easy to longinate they got great feel to them up to a point.
So then you start thinking, where is this going?
Where is this going?
Where is this going?
Good we're stopping.
And then you just give it a little prod of the pedal, and you get a little [SOUND], a little [UNKNOWN] from the eco-car.
Now down here in front of me there's lots of gauges telling me RPM, and speed, and all that.
And my battery, I'm depleting that like a hero going around here, but it does regenerate In there from the brakes, a little like the NSX.
You do get some brake regen on that.
As a sportscar, it's great.
[INAUDIBLE] little bit under steer.
You can get it to go, but it's not as sharp as you'd want a proper sportscar to be.
But on the day to day.
Actually, it's fine.
It's fast, the off is thrill.
We feel it sharp enough.
And it certainly quick enough.
If you've looked of it for one, the drama of the [UNKNOWN] car wasn't boring to look at.
The doors, my favorite bit of the car obviously Ledgers Wicked.
It's a very visually arresting car.
Drive one of these down the street, and people are gonna pay attention because it looks like a concept car.
Because it basically is.
It's not exactly a track monster, but it's fun and makes an already noise.
You pay no vehicle excise duty, and there's even a small set of rear seats for people who don't like their children.
It's BMW's Halo ECO car.
And then the first step is one of the wonderful [SOUND]
Honda has put similar tech onboard the NSX, except it's got two more liters to play with, and three more cylinders.
In all, there's a three and a half liter twin turbocharged V6, two Electric motors up front.
And then another electric motor to act as a torque gap filler and a bit of a starter motor.
Now, that 3.5 liter V6 kicks out 500 horsepower all on it's own.
But in all, there's 574 brake horse power to play with.
But unlike the I8 all the electric stuff is here for more speed.
It's taken Honda a long, long time to get the NSX to market.
But it's a Honda after all, it had to be perfect straight out of the box.
Like the original NSX it had to take on the world's best and at least Be on par.
So those two motors up front are there for a little bit of top vectoring and to add a little bit of extra go, as in, when you need it.
Naught to 62 takes around three seconds and its top speed is 191 miles an hour.
To put it politely The Intersect ain't slow.
I like this approach to tech.
Yes, you can use it to make Mother Nature happy or you can take it and use it to make cold things go really, really fast.
The Intersect is one car that took a million years to develop So long, by the time they actually launched this, I was quite bored of it.
To be honest that seem shape a million times in different configurations and all complex this, complex that whatever.
Now, it's here My does it look good [LAUGH].
It's so pretty much like the i8.
This is an eco car is not really an eco car but looks the absolutely bold.
In my wing mirror I've got angular sort of hot [UNKNOWN] the air it takes to the engine.
The front looks just phenomenal.
It's a stunning car to look at and it turns heads Every man.
I had two guys randomly pat me on the street and then find me on Twitter because they searched for this thing because its that distinctive.
And when cars do that to be polite.
Now as far as the power band goes the V6 sounds pretty jumping good.
A little bit droning not the most exciting [SOUND] [INAUDIBLE] In the world.
But it makes the right noises when you want it to.
It handles so well.
And my God, [INAUDIBLE] electric assistance is so fast.
[LAUGH] It makes it mega quick.
All of that hybrid stuff is just for speed.
Now, as you'd expect, because it's all hybrid-y, the throttle response is absolutely instant from this.
[INAUDIBLE] You just slide.
There's that torque [UNKNOWN] motor.
There's the electric motors in the front and then [SOUND] that thing.
Now we've got the car in TREK mode, which turns the electric toys off.
Lets you get a little bit quick and the back end a little bit slippery.
And the tires do like to squeal.
[NOISE] The thing that I love most about the handling setup is the way it goes around corners.
It's just phenomenal because those two electric motors at the front pull you around the bend.
You can go around a little bit quicker than you thought you could.
Power it down, pull the brake off [INAUDIBLE] Can just be notorious.
You can get away with some serious speed in there.
This car is special, it's a very very special vehicle.
[INAUDIBLE] Incredible By the look of it, there's someone else.
I like what BMW has done with the IA.
I love what Honda has done, with VNSX.
Absolutely, adore it.>> Two takes on change, the iPhone generation of cars if you will.
They won't do the driving for you, they won't molly cuddle you.
They're here to excite the senses where using as much [UNKNOWN] technology as possible to deliver an experience fit For the modern driver.
Both the NSX and the i8 are marvels of engineering.
They both use similar technologies to achieve very different results.
So to those of you that are worried that maybe the sportscar is going, look behind me.
Because these two.
That just the start.
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