QotW: JNC Battle! NSX vs Supra

Tokyo Motor Show was a blast but we were really hoping to catch a glimpse of the new production model Supra. Sadly, we all will still have to paw over spy shots and 3-D renders for now. Honda came out with yet another great looking EV concept, this time a sporty coupe, but the NSX is still waiting for a dance partner…

Since we can’t judge (yet) Toyota’s new monster, I thought we could consider the last gen iterations. Which early 90s asphalt brawler did it better? The Toyota A80 (MKIV) Supra, or the Honda (Acura) NSX? What makes one better than the other? Styling? Technology? Raw driving characteristics? Let us know!

Who had the goods? NSX or Supra?

The most entertaining comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “What car should our Touge Rally Master get?

This week’s winner is Mazluce who’s persuasive post struck our Touge Rally Master right out of the gate, became the standard of measurement; ultimately reigning as champ for last week’s QotW. (P.S. – I have wanted a Y34 cruiser since I saw one on the mean streets of Tachikawa!) Congrats!

Infiniti M45 the 2003-2004 version aka Nissan Gloria. These are rare reliable and are very cool looking. They look like a muscle car, cause they are with that V8 power. No manual, but planting your right foot down will make you forget that. Remember the old saying no replacement for displacement!


Jalopink also wrote a article on these: https://jalopnik.com/why-the-infiniti-m45-is-the-next-future-classic-678729583

Oh since you did mention BMW, Infiniti did there own film for it when it was new:

Your right foot will thank you ?

Omedetou! Your comment has earned you a set of decals from the JNC Shop.

JNC Decal smash

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22 Responses to QotW: JNC Battle! NSX vs Supra

  1. BlitzPig says:

    NSX hands down.

    It’s a true exotic, has the moves and looks to back it up, and is a true driver’s car.

    The Supra, while being the darling of the drift crowd, is frankly an overweight, bloated GT car,
    that can only match an NSX by adding absurd amounts of boost, and then only in a straight line.

    20 years from now the first gen NSX will still be a lust object, with prices to match, you can’t say that about the Supra.

  2. Ant says:

    Has to be the NSX, for much the same reasons BlitzPig mentioned. Bespoke aluminium-construction supercar versus essentially a coupe alternative to Chasers and Mark IIs. I like Chasers and Mark IIs, but give me the lighter, prettier, more advanced, more sonorous, more focused car any day.

  3. BW says:

    NSX, not even a contest. I’ll summarize it by quoting a friend of mine:

    I remember growing up that the NSX didn’t impress me much. It was outdone in horsepower, acceleration, top speed and cylinders. But what I didn’t understand is how well done the NSX really is. It’s what a true driver’s car is supposed to be. Connected. Like an extension of yourself. Your mind says to turn and almost instantly, the car turns. As if your hand movements are actually a part of the steering wheel and directly linked to the control arms and steering assembly and all turning simultaneously. Not to mention the throttle response isn’t perfect, it’s better than perfect. It’s as if the throttle is reacting to your inputs before you make the input. And the reliability and cost of maintenance and ownership is insanely inexpensive. In some cases you can pay for 10 years of maintenance on an NSX with just one or two years of maintenance on a similar era Ferrari or Lamborghini. And then there’s the packaging. Everything is put in place with a purpose. Almost like on a Navy ship. Everything has a purpose and is in its place using the least amount of space. Well, the NSX utilizes its space better than most. And even though the trunk space is small in overall size, its shape is favorable to most items you’d purchase or a large enough size for a medium sized suit case and some smaller carry ons.

    Then getting back to that sound. It may not be exactly like a straight piped Ferrari 355 or a modern 458, but it’s damn close and it’s addictive. Instead of getting over 300 miles to a tank, we are getting closer to 200, because that exhaust note is so addictive. We haven’t even used the radio, because the Pride exhaust and Comptech headers provide all the music we need.

    Ok end rant. Who knew a 270hp mid mounted V6 from the same company that makes the Civic and Accord could make something that sounds this good!!

  4. BW says:

    Also: it looks MUCH better in Lego than I’d imagine a Supra to look…


  5. Lupus says:

    I wasn’t blessed with the oportunity to drive any of them in real life. I drove once an A70, and i got the impression that the car was a compromise between race-breed machine and a gran-tourer.
    Judging from Gran Turismo 4 & Co. only i can state that the NSX is a pure race car with papers allowing it to be used on streets. The A80 on the other hand seems to be a road car evelved into a tuning monster with almost infinite potential.
    In therms of exoticness and collectabillty the NSX is a clear winner. But in therms of – let’s say – normal driving and using the car to move around and make commotion the Supra is way better.
    Personally – i would’s choose A80. Not even sure why?

    • BW says:

      I can say from sitting in an NSX that just as an ergonomic exercise, it’s exactly what I thought a Honda supercar would be. Everything is where it should be when you sit down in what is a pretty awesome and comfy seat. When you reach for the HVAC, the shifter, or anything else, it’s right where your mind expects it to be. Even sitting in the car for the first time, I never felt like I had to *look* for anything.

    • Dimitry says:

      The video games say endless tuning potential, the reality usually says otherwise.
      Also, like mentioned above, the tuning potential is that of the engine only, so that car can reach monstrous speeds in a straight line – no so much if there’re chikanes involved.
      The guys who claim that RB, SR, JZ engines can be tuned with minimal modification to enormous horsepower usually never even saw one of those engines in person.

      • Lupus says:

        I’am awere of the fact that doubling the HP ranting of the said 2JZ-GTE can be redicioulsy expensive, and the A80 chasis without further modifications won’t be able to handle such power. But i’am pointing at something different – honestly, obtaining hi-quality aftermarket parts for A80 is waaayy easier then for NA2. And that was the point of having these cars in they days of glory. In ’90s very few cared about keeping their Supra clean and unmolested. Most people were atracted by it’s performence and the plausiblity to upgrade it with ease.

      • ahja says:

        Really? Because the JZA80 with a 3SGTE frequently owned those supposed fabulous supercar NSXs in JGTC. So engine only? Nope.

        • BW says:

          To be fair:

          a.) The JGTC Supra ran a pumped up version of the *Celica/Corolla WRC* inline 4.
          b.) The NSX and Skyline also experienced plenty of success and championships in the JGTC.

          • ahja says:

            Skyline did. NSX not really. It won once in the 90s. Once in 2007. When the Supra was retired and when Nissan/Toyota/Mazda/Honda all cared quite a bit less about the outcomes because the R34/Supra/RX7/NSX were all out of production. And yes, the Supra ran an engine that wasn’t its 2JZ. And smoked the NSXs. So everybody arguing that the only asset Supras have going for them are its massively powerful engine are just flat wrong.

  6. ahja says:

    Supra. Its much more evocative. The NSX always was the “appliance supercar”. That’s not a bad thing, but let’s just say that the most desirable and valuable and iconic cars on the auction block aren’t there because they were particularly reliable and ergonomically comfortable. And that goes extra for the “supercars”. The NSX was good, but it wasn’t /really/ great. Its na V6 is outclassed by the V6s found in the Accords and Maximas of today. The Supra on the other hand, has an engine of infamous proportions, that really ISN’T outclassed, even 25 years later. That’s crazy. “Okay”, you say “The NSX is superbly balanced and a wonder machine in the turns and on the track”. Except its record is quite wanting in that regard. In the JGTC 500 class, where Supras and NSXs actually faced off, the Supra was twice as successful as the NSX. Four championships to two. Those Supras didn’t even have the 2JZ, so is the car only reliant on its fabled engine? Nope.

    But for me, Supras speak to me. NSXs don’t. I like them, I think they are cool, but they are for other people. I’ve never dreamt or gamed out how I’m eventually going to be staring at one in my garage. The Supra has been the ongoing subject of such a dream for…since it was still in showrooms.

    • BW says:

      Comparing JGTC success to road car success is apples and oranges. GT500 cars had VERY little in common with their street driven cousins.

      • ahja says:

        Heavily modified production cars. Not tube frame silhouette racers. But NSX fans can’t have it both ways. If its such an awesome supercar with amazing track potential, then why is it getting killed by the FR Supra, when BOTH are in full race trim? Racing a street car on the track is pointless, because that’s not how those cars are actually driven. Supras are better as race cars. But they are also better as street cars. Is a street Supra a better track racecar than a street NSX? Probably not. But who cares.

        • BW says:

          Honestly, I would NEVER buy the NSX or the Supra for that matter for track potential. I’m not really the one to have that discussion with.

    • Ant says:

      Okay, I’ll bite:

      Like-for-like – i.e. a completely stock engine, which is presumably the comparison you’re making with the NSX and modern-day Accords and Maximas – even the Supra would be outclassed today. There are 2-litre four-cylinder cars available now that develop as much power (or more) and accelerate as quickly (or quicker).

      Old and new comparisons are rarely relevant. A Hakosuka, AE86, RX-7, or any number of other JNCs are comprehensively outclassed in objective terms by modern cars from theoretically several classes below, but numbers aren’t why we love these cars. I’ve never driven a car with a gearbox as good as the RX-3 I drove a month or two back, and I’m yet to drive a modern sports car that has an engine note anything like as enthralling as an original NSX.

  7. RX626 says:

    NSX. Because it is a super car of Honda which was born because it is a crazy era of 1980-90 ‘s.
    And don’t forget that this car also affected McLaren F1, one of the super cars representing the 1990s.

    But if I choose by my heart, it is Supra.
    NSX is a noble woman. It’s wonderful, but I can’t love you.
    I choose women who is more glamorous, violent and familiar.

  8. TommyGUN says:

    If i had to choose a favorite between the two, it’d be the NSX.

    But the more nostalgic is in fact, the Supra. Why? Two words: Fast. Furious.

    In twenty-five years, this car has become the poster-child for the tuning world. Its the car you want to choose in video games.. its the car that gave 2JZ is popularity.. its a car you first saw with an APR wing and thought, “wow, that looks cool.” its a car the people referred to as “Japanese Muscle”. Its the car that beat the Ferrari in a street race (“Smok’em”)!

    Yeah, it doesn’t have the mid-engine, and its not super wide and low to the ground, and it didn’t have a Ferrari-influenced design, but get a look at those interior air-vents!!

    Wait, did I just persuade myself away from an NSX, here?

  9. BlitzPig says:

    The values of the NSX in the current market prove that it will be the car that is remembered long term.

    What the Supra did in video games, or the Japanese GT championship, or how many BHP you can have it make before it does an impersonation of a hand grenade are of no meaning.

    The NSX was a historical turning point in the history of exotic cars. It did to other exotic manufacturers what the 240Z did to the small sports cars from Europe decades before.

    It showed that an exotic, mid engine sports car didn’t have to be a temperamental, easily broken, expensive to maintain car. It showed that such a car could be driven on a daily basis without fouling it’s plugs and have important bits coming loose on you, and marking it’s spot in the driveway with various and sundry leaking fluids.

    It’s the car that forced the Italian manufacturers to clean up their act. It’s why today’s Ferrari cars are functionally so much better than their older ones were.

    The NSX is in that rare league of cars that changed everything that came before them in their class, and for that reason alone it will always be an icon, long after the Supra will be a mere footnote in history.

  10. Fifty5engineering says:

    I’ve driven multiple examples of the NSXs and 4th gen Supras. Both cars are legendary as high points for Japanese engineering. I’m gonna play devils advocate for the Supra for the following reasons:

    1. It’s fast and easy to drive. Fantastic touring car that hides its weight well. My only complaint is the lack of interior space for such a big car. For the tinkerers out there (like myself) add a fuel cut eliminator, boost controller, and a high flow exhaust to add easily another 100hp. It’s a shame the’re now too valuable to modify (at least on my budget).

    2. These cars don’t seem to have a weekness. The engine, trans and chassis are extremely well built. The only other car I’ve come across that make power so easily with inexpensive mods are the 03/04 Cobras. You have to TRY to brake the mechanicals. I’ve seen them blown up on the ole’ internet, but never in person or at the track.

    3. The NSX is awesome and it’s fun to just look at….but it looks better than it goes. The handling neither exceptionally direct or balanced. I’ve been excited then underwhelmed by the few I’ve driven. Still a super cool car, but one I’d rather you own than me.

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