Hmmm . . . let me think back to the early 1990s . . .
-- looked like a supercar -- [check]
-- was fast like a supercar -- [check]
-- handled like a supercar -- [check] (...actually better than most...)
-- dimensions and proportions of a supercar -- [check]
-- engine layout as prevalent in supercars of the day -- [check]
-- was compared to other supercars in road tests -- [check]
Yes, it is a "supercar"; well, better to replace "supercar" in the States with the phrase of the decade that had just concluded, "exotic car".
For the naysayers,
"supercars don't have V6s" -- well, the 911 Carrera and Turbo were considered exotic cars, as was the Renault Alpine . . . and they had sixes. And of course the Esprit had four.
"no racing pedigree" -- well, the same can be said for every Lamborghini ever built at that time. It wasn't until a few years later when Diablos entered in some weaksauce series. Oh, and, uh, "the NSX has a pint of Ayrton Senna's blood in the oil" lol
"made by a common car company" -- so what. It's not a common car. No one berates the mediocre Toyota 2000GT; why the double standard? How about the BMW M1. . . sure, BMWs are more expensive, but they are still common.
The fact is that Honda beat down all of the entry to mid tier exotics at what they do best, and put it in a reliable, low-maintenance package that you can use to buy groceries. Today, the F430 is approaching that standard -- easy to get in and out of, more comfortable, less worry of mechanical disaster, . . and bland styling, too!
I guess being priced significantly less than Ferraris and Lotus of the day really hurt the NSX's reputation -- undeservedly.
It's kind of funny -- when the NSX came out, people in America didn't say "supercar" -- that was a British word. We said "exotic", or "150mph", because that was the benchmark of the 80s; if it went over 150, it qualified. No one made claims like "it's not a true super/exotic car". Questions were raised such as, "Is the world ready for a 150mph Honda?", but the car was universally praised, and only criticised for one thing: being too "perfect" and "lacking soul" -- i.e. not having the funny quirks that other exotics had.
Fast forward to today: We have a bunch of millenials who became cognizant of cars in an era of 250-hp Camrys and 400-hp Corvettes, and they call anything less than that "slow". They are not old enough (or weren't born yet) to remember the days of the "double nickel", when econo cars had somewhere between 60-90hp, family cars were in the lower three digits, speedometers maxed out at 85mph, and Porsche 944s and Ferrari 308s were fast
This particular subset of millenials are the first of two groups that like to poo-poo the NSX. They think it's "slow". Oh, and it's a Honda. It's not as fast as their SR20DETblingblangNismo with Turboandintercoolerand BOVandNAWWZZZZ that managed to go an entire quarter mile in a straight line in 12 seconds.
You know the ones I'm talking about. They can be found on web forums by day and supermarket/big box store parking lots by night.
The other group who claim the NSX is not a true "supercar" or "exotc car" are of another demographic, and they have their own prejudices. They like to spew words like "heritage" and "tradition" more than necessary when talking about cars. The only true Porsches are air-cooled. The only true Lancias are pre-Fiat, because, as you know, all of the engineers and workers at the company Lancia magically vaporized when Fiat bought the company. The only true Maseratis are pre-Citroen; the BiTurbo -- hah!, don't make them laugh! The Europa was the last true Lotus (except for the new Elise, of course), and we call that bygone era "The Chapman Era", despite the fact that the Esprit was Chapman's proudest road car achievement, and it along with the Elite/Eclat were the cars that fulfilled Chapman's long-time aspiration to move the company upmarket. And, of course, no Honda
can ever be a supercar. The NSX, despite its excellence in every respect, is lacking something -- anything -- we'll make up something intangible if necessary -- to say that the NSX is not a true exotic/supercar.