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Discussion Starter · #3 ·

When we introduced you to the 2016 Acura NSX yesterday, we weren't extremely complimentary to the interior. We should have been, and that's because it's all sorts of terrific. Here's why.

The problem with cars these days is bloat. On the interior, that bloat doesn't take the form of unnecessary weight or size, it takes the form of buttons, big a-pillars, confusing systems, and compromised sight lines.

In fact, giganto a-pillars are one of the biggest issues that new cars have, especially high performance cars that are expected to be used on a race track. That's the NSX. Acura says they took a lot of pride in making the a-pillars as thin as they could in order to provide great sight lines.

And they actually did. Sitting in the NSX, you can see easily out of each corner, unlike a lot of cars on the market today. It's sad that being able to see clearly out of the front of a car is a big selling point, but this is actually true.

The interior itself is very minimalist. There are barely any buttons, with most of the controls you need for the radio and phone confined to the steering wheel. There's an infotainment screen and climate controls which sit just above a large rotary dial (which is not for the radio) and the start button. That rotary dial is actually used to select the drive modes of the car. It also has a push button shift like in the new TLX. I'm ok with that too.

Those are the only real flourishes. The seats are comfortable and tight, though I didn't really go around any corners so I can't tell you how the bolstering is. The instrument binnacle is kept as low as possible to keep open sightlines. Acura will not be offering a heads up display, so you'll have to focus on the display alone, which was not on when I was in the car.

What was on was the steering wheel (it better be, most cars need steering wheels). It's really great. The contours fit your hand perfectly, especially at 10 and 3. It's thicker there and has a pistol grip feel. It's incredibly natural to hold. 212223

We've given Acura a lot of shit for nearly every single product decision they've made in the last decade or so. However, it's clear that they've taken getting the NSX right very, very seriously. I'm not willing to eat total skepticism crow yet, but I cannot wait to drive this car.


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Discussion Starter · #4 ·

The brand new Acura NSX is finally on the way and our spy photographers have caught it testing in production form, meaning it’s completely camo-free.

This mid-engined Japanese sports car has a twin turbo V6, a hybrid gas-electric powertrain, and is expected to make more than 500 hp. You can see that high-tech heart through the rear window. All that power will hit the road through a new super-handling all-wheel drive system, which is paired to a 9-speed dual-clutch transmission.

The NSX uses a number of high-tech and advanced materials to keep weight down including aluminum and carbon fiber.

These spy photos show off the bright red paint finish of the new NSX and a number of cool carbon fiber trim pieces. You can spot it on the front and rear bumpers, spoiler and some trim bits on the wheels.

This has to be the final look at the car before the production version finally hits showrooms, so take it in and get ready to see the real deal soon. The NSX will be manufactured in Marysville, Ohio.


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Discussion Starter · #5 ·

The 2017 Acura NSX is heavy. It outweighs the original 1990 car by more than 800 pounds and is over 300 heavier than a Chevrolet Corvette Z06. The NSX is insanely complicated, with an assist motor between the twin-turbo V6 and the 9-speed dual-clutch transmission, plus 2 torque-vectoring electric motors at the front axle. And the NSX is expensive. It will probably cost $170,000 when it goes on sale in Spring 2016. Commence trolling.

If you hadn't guessed, the new NSX isn't much like the 1st generation built from 1990 to 2005. But the 2 cars share a common philosophy. Both are Acura's interpretation of what a modern, everyday supercar should be. Based on the new car, things have changed a lot in the last 25 years.

For project leader Ted Klaus, the original NSX was 1 reason he started working at Honda. At the 1990 Detroit Auto Show, "I sat watching that car for a while. A really long while. Even just looking at that car I could see the deep, advanced, functional beauty." The most difficult thing with the new NSX, says Klaus, is to explain how a heavier and more complicated car can outperform other cars in a way that feels like traditional lightweighting.

The NSX has a giant bag of neat tricks, but to understand them takes a lengthy explanation that starts with the Sport Hybrid SH-AWD powertrain. Behind the cockpit is a 75-degree, twin-turbocharged, 3.5-liter V6, made specifically for the NSX. On its own it puts out 500 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque. The rest of Honda's lineup uses a 60-degree layout, but the wider angle here lowers the center of gravity. Behind the engine is the rear assist motor, with 47 hp and 100 lb-ft. Hanging off the rear of that is the 9-speed dual-clutch, developed in-house.

In between the front wheels is the Twin Motor Unit (TMU), a pair of 36-hp, 54-lb-ft electric motors that add or subtract forces to their respective sides. The Power Drive unit manages the electronics, and sits in the center spine of the car like a traditional prop shaft. A lithium-ion battery pack is behind the pair of seats, on the cold side of the firewall. Total system output is 573 hp and 476 lb-ft.

This is not the way the NSX was supposed to be at 1st. The original plan was a transverse-mounted, naturally aspirated engine just like the 1st car. About 6 months into the project, the decision was made to switch to the longitudinal turbo motor. The engine change presented a mess of problems. Time was short, so powertrain development went on in Japan while the Ohio-based engineering team worked out the chassis and structure. In other words, they had to work out the cooling and packaging while the cooling and packaging needs were still up in the air. "We were sent back to the drawing board more than once," said Klaus.

The body is mostly aluminum, with carbon fiber in the roof and part of the floor. Steel stampings surround parts of the windshield and span across the roof. High-strength steel reinforces the roof rail, extending from the base of the windshield to the B-pillar. It's done in a 3-dimensional curve that's formed by a robot that twists the beam into shape during the extrusion process.

One of the most incredible parts of the NSX is the crash structure, which uses a technique Acura calls ablation casting. It goes like this: molten aluminum is poured into a sand mold, which is then hosed off while the metal is still liquid. Somehow, the metal sets before collapsing like a failed soufflé. The rapid cooling makes for high elasticity and energy absorption.

So how's it all come together? At our preview drive in San Francisco and points north, we kept thinking that this really is the Honda of supercars. Ablation casting, and stories like how the air channels leading out of the front tire well increased airflow to the intercoolers by more than 65%, speak to the company's reputation for inventiveness.

We're fans of the styling. It has high points, like the wide side mirrors sitting on thin stalks, but the new NSX lacks an iconoclastic shape like the original. This too is representative of Acura, a company with a lineup of understyled cars that drive well. Even parked, the NSX stirs far more emotions than any of its siblings, but it doesn't raise your pulse in the same way that staring at a Ferrari does.

According to Acura, this is by design. The NSX is meant to be the everyday supercar. It's a car that has the lowest center of gravity in its class but still manages the same ground clearance as a standard Porsche 911 Carrera. Compared to an Audi R8 or a Ferrari 458 Italia (two of the NSX's benchmarks), the Acura is both more reserved and more responsive. This spectrum of the car's behavior is controlled by the dynamic mode selector in the center console. The most docile setting is called Quiet, which keeps engine revs below 4,000 rpm, closes off the active exhaust and engine intake sound pipe, and uses electric power as much as possible. The default mode is Sport, which keeps the start-stop function but allows for more revs and pipes more sound into the cabin and through the rear. Sport+ is 1 click to the right, and gives the most aggressive throttle and steering response, firms up the magnetorheological shocks, and adjusts the front motors for more agility. Hold the dial to the right from there and you get Track mode, which also unlocks launch control. (0-60 happens in about 3.0 seconds, but Klaus says that number is "an outcome, not a goal.") Some of the inputs are smoothed out in this mode for a more consistent feel, while the stability control loosens up to the highest threshold short of full deactivation.

Acura expects Quiet mode to be used about 3% of the time. It's meant for a socially considerate arrival and departure. We disagree, as it's also the eco mode. We saw 26 miles per gallon on the trip computer trundling along in traffic on Highway 1 north of San Francisco. Quiet mode also prompted 1 dreadlocked northern Californian driving a rusted out 4Runner to ask if the car was electric. "Uh, no, it's a hybrid," we said. "Cool man," he replied, right before cutting in front of us as the light turned green.

Sport mode lacks the exhilaration you expect from a near-600-hp supercar. It's more like MDX mode. The transmission is quick to grab high gears and there's little sense of excitement. Sport+ and Track are the settings for any fun, with the difference depending on how much of a safety net you want.

Before we wander off into a dark corner discussing the 15 different attributes adjusted by the four NSX drive modes, let's get front and center with one thing: the NSX is fast. Like, stupid fast. The kind of fast that makes you giggle every time you hit the gas. The kind of fast that makes you think about how the walls at Sonoma Raceway are way, way too close to the track.

And dang, the NSX is comfortable. The low floor and long doors make getting in and out slightly gymnastic, but otherwise the interior is hitting the easy button. The seat padding is perfect, and a mere 4 ways to adjust means you can find the perfect driving position easily. A manual-adjust seat will also be available. If there's one knock to the interior, it's that there's little storage, and most of it is hard to access while driving. That too is probably on purpose. The NSX is not a car for taking selfies while you drive, although the standard navigation radio (the same infuriating dial-free system used across the Honda lineup) features Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

So back to those neat tricks. There are 2 big ones with the NSX. The 1st is the brakes, which feel like conventional brakes but are actually brake-by-wire (the system defaults to a conventional hydraulic system as a failsafe, as required by the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards). The feel comes from a hydraulic feedback mechanism, which portions out pedal stiffness relative to the rate of deceleration. On the other end, a series of valves balances pressure on the friction brakes based on the level of regeneration braking from the TMU and the driver's pedal input. Had you driven the NSX and never read this paragraph, you'd never guess it was a hybrid system. The brakes are that good.

The NSX's 2nd trick is seamless shifts. No bumps, no head bobbing, nothing. The only clue you have is the change in engine tone. On the track, 9 speeds are a lot to manage. We checked the speed of the paddle shifts a few times and, finding it satisfactory, let the computer make most of the decisions – a job it does with near perfection. The NSX shifts so smoothly because the TMU kicks in extra thrust during the few milliseconds between gears.

The TMU is also what makes the NSX nimble at low speeds and stable when going fast. Acura engineers fitted the car with a quick-ratio steering rack because it uses the TMU to slightly counteract steering inputs and smooth out response at high speeds. Like the brakes, you'd never know unless someone told you.

Like a fly-by-wire fighter jet that needs the computer to maintain stable flight, the NSX uses the electronics to pull off feats of handling that are otherwise impossible. In Sport mode, the car exhibits a soft, friendly understeer. Move to Track mode, and that understeer all but disappears. Klaus says the understeer is baked into the chassis setup, but the SH-AWD can work to make the car behave neutrally.

Are there compromises? Oh yes. For one, you don't get any steering feedback through the wheel. On our final session around Sonoma Raceway we adjusted to picking up the car's state of grip through our hips. This is not a car that speaks in the traditional sense, and many people will have a problem with that. On the other hand, the NSX can do things other cars can't, like cut around a hairpin at speeds that leave other cars plowing in a straight line.

Klaus and his team are open about why they made each decision with the car. On our test drive, our car started with the standard Continental ContiSport Contact 5P for the road drive and our 1st 2 lapping sessions. After lunch we switched to Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2s, which are clearly better suited for track abuse. But Acura wanted us to try both tires even though the Contis fall off after a few laps. That kind of honesty is uncommon on press introductions.

The NSX is fast, comfortable, and obeys your every command. And 1 thing is certain here: Acura didn't copy anyone. The NSX a unique supercar, from the way it approaches performance to how it goes down the road. And in that sense, it's a true successor to the original.


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Discussion Starter · #6 ·

What Is It? 2017 Acura NSX, the Japanese manufacturer’s long-awaited mid-engine 2-seat flagship.

Starting Price: $150,000 (Estimated)

Competitors: Audi R8 V10, Mercedes-AMG GT-S, Porsche 911 Turbo

Alternatives: McLaren 570S, Lamborghini Huracan

Pros: Digital drivetrain works seamlessly and cohesively; even quicker than it feels; comfy enough for daily use.

Cons: Could use more fierceness and feedback; hefty (and well out of supercar range) at 3,802 pounds; that nagging feeling that nice supercars never finish first.

Would I Buy It With My Own Money? Not quite yet, though this might be more my speed in a couple decades when I’ve had it with hardcore sports cars.​

The year was 1990 and the supercar future looked bright. While feisty exotics like Ferraris and Lamborghinis ruled the road, a new contender from Japan threatened to turn the supercar microcosm on its ear with fresh styling, an approachable price, and surprising everyday usability. That outsider was the 1st generation Acura NSX, and its finely tuned approach delivered a stylish value proposition that was nothing short of revolutionary in its day.

The mid-engine contender eventually retired after a 15-year reign, resurfacing like a phoenix in 2015 as the all-new 2017 Acura NSX. During its 1st go, the NSX challenged a tiny coterie of 6-figure cars that barely crested the 300 horsepower mark. Nowadays, the upper end of the market is led by near-1,000 horsepower hypercars, while back on planet Earth, many 500-horsepower beasts can be had for under $100,000.

How did Acura challenge the modern day supercar conundrum? For starters, they clad their new flagship with an arsenal of mil-spec technological hardware. The car begins from a transversely mounted, turbocharged 3.5-liter V-6 (an engine shared by no other Honda product), married to an electric motor at the crankshaft, all of which drives the rear wheels. Up front, twin electric motors fed by a lithium-ion battery pack spin the front wheels. Togehter, the system makes 573 hp, with 500 of those equines coming from the twin-turbo V6, while cumulative torque totals 405 lb-ft.

Below the surface, the NSX grows complex fast. Take cooling; there’s no fewer than 10 heat exchangers from 7 major heat sources ,including the internal combustion engine, their turbochargers, the 9-speed transmission and the battery and processors. Stopping duties are performed by carbon fiber brakes, and all 4 corners of the car pitch in to help it around corners: while the rear motor can brake torque, the front motors can push or pull on either side to help tuck the car in and tug it through a turn.

And then there’s the functional challenge of packaging all of those elements, many of which must work together cohesively to make the NSX feel, as Honda engineers call it, a “human-centric ergonomically enhanced design theme.” Among the countless tricks up their sleeve is an A-pillar that’s been “3D bent and quenched”— that is, heated, bent, and quickly cooled with jets of water, enabling narrower construction and better outward visibility. I could go on about the NSX’s novel engineering details and ambitious goals, but all this leads to the same question: How does it drive?

Climb inside the cockpit and the NSX feels every bit an Acura—natural, comfortable, and smartly ergonomic, with excellent outward visibility and front wheel humps positioned for easy apex placement. Though some clever surfacing and contouring lends a sense of flow to the cabin, there’s nothing terribly groundbreaking here; the space seems to dissolve around you, enabling the driver to focus on the comfortably squared-off steering wheel. The NSX fires up with a healthy cough from the twin-turbo V-6, and the dual-clutch switches smoothly into gear, while a large Dynamic Mode dial toggles through 4 settings—Quiet, Sport, Sport+, and Track. The modes control everything from throttle mapping and regenerative power patterns to brake pedal feel and suspension damping. For some perspective on the degrees of variability at play, there’s a 25-decibel difference between Quiet and Track—to steal from a certain ‘80s song, a whisper to a scream.

Though the NSX accelerates with eerie smoothness, it is also wickedly quick off the line, dispatching quick revs to its 7,500-RPM ceiling before the transmission seamlessly summons the next gear. Though it feels surprisingly undramatic, there’s a lot going on as the NSX hustles itself to speed: electric motors are handling the low end of the power delivery until the turbochargers kick in, at which point the EV propulsion is tapered off in exchange for good old fashioned internal combustion. Perform the launch control sequence, an easy 2-pedal sequence in Track mode, and the blast off is, once again, drama (and almost completely tire squeal) free. The result, however, is staggeringly quick; though Acura hasn’t disclosed an official 0 to 60 mph time, they do hint the NSX beats the Porsche 911 Turbo’s 3.0 second figure by a 10th of a click. Hot damn, Acura; who would’ve guessed you’re such a speed freak?

Depending on which mode you choose to tackle the track with, you’ll experience varying degrees of intervention and tightness. Predictably, there’s a bit of safety-inducing understeer in milder settings and more satisfaction to be found in Track, where the front tires seem to find the apex with not-so-predictable ease. You can credit the electronically managed torque vectoring magic for the NSX’s ability to turn and tuck-in when the throttle is lifted; after all, these 3,800 pounds aren’t going to turn themselves. Though it’s capable of impressive athletics for its curb weight, the NSX does so with surprisingly little kickback. There isn’t a whole lot of information funneled through the steering wheel, and the powertrain’s lack of peakiness makes for an undramatic ride. Even brake pedal feel is modulated to within an inch of its life; rather than a physical connection to the hydraulic reservoir, the NSX’s binders use drive-by-wire technology with a force feedback system that alters how the pedal responds based on drive mode and brake rotor temperature.

Though the automatic transmission is virtually flawless in the Track setting, telepathically holding gears and downshifting when necessary, tapping the paddle shifter unfortunately does not summon an upshift. Also, turning all systems off doesn’t completely remove the digital nannies; when I abruptly lifted off the throttle, the system kicked in to save my bacon. Despite the danger of driving without electronic aids, I would personally prefer a more permissive track mode and that rarest of touches, a real “off” switch for the babysitter.

Despite the near invisibility of all the electronic systems, the 2 tire choices offer significantly different levels of grip: the standard 4-season Continentals grease up and give up the ghost too early, leaving you cautious and leery on the track. The Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2s, on the other hand, feel grippy and confidence inspiring, delivering dramatically more tenacious road holding.

A 2nd day of street driving on the winding roads between Calistoga and San Francisco put the NSX’s capabilities into a far more comprehensible, real world context. On the high-speed sweepers connecting California’s wine country to the Pacific, the NSX felt hunkered down and capable, rolling with the road’s punches and accelerating and braking with aplomb. Under these conditions the Acura comes across as more comfortable; not that it can’t hold its own on the track, it simply seems more in its element on the road. Despite the ducts, vents and flying buttresses, the NSX presents itself as a grand tourer rather than a wannabe racer, choosing to cosset its driver rather than transmit tangibles like road texture and bump steer to the passenger compartment.

Purists can (and most certainly will) crave more feedback from Acura’s new flagship. But until the inevitable R-Spec track special comes along, the NSX’s disposition will be dialed in for refinement, not raucousness. With an estimated starting price of around $150,000, the new NSX faces the likes of the Mercedes-AMG GT-S Coupe ($130,825), Porsche 911 Turbo ($151,100), and Audi R8 V10 ($153,900).

Unlike the 1st-generation’s underdog status, the new NSX’s position in the supercar world is a difficult 1 to gauge, given how entirely different it is. If you crave the saucy excitement of a track-focused superstar, you might be inclined to think of the NSX as a too-smooth, too-nice way of getting from A to B.

But if you’re the happy-go-lucky type, you might think of the NSX as a sort of poor man’s Porsche 918 Spyder, a technical tour de force that delivers a good chunk of the performance for a fraction of the cost. It’s too early to tell which side of history this Acura NSX will fall on, but the reincarnation offers a polished and refined take on the age-old supercar formula.


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Discussion Starter · #7 ·

We've been waiting for the new 2017 Acura NSX so long, I was starting to worry I'd find it passé even before I drove it. It's been 3 years since Acura 1st showed off the NSX Concept, and only a little less than that since their abrupt about-face on the powertrain that turned what was shaping up to be a relatively mainstream sports car - albeit with an iconized nameplate - into a complex hybrid.

Full production and sales of the NSX aren't due to start until early in the new year, but when Honda offered me a sneak preview of the car in the run up to the Tokyo Motor Show 2015 this week, it seemed churlish to say no.

The good news - the really, really good news - is that the new NSX is not at all passé. The bad news is that I had very little time to experience the reality of that.

There is a limit to how much I can tell you from a couple of laps in a new car, but Honda sees this as whetting the appetite as it finesses the final software. The car's complex powertrain hardware is just about complete - 2 electric motors, one for each of the front wheels, and then a 3rd drive motor on the rear crankshaft, along with a 3.5L V6 engine for a total of 573 horsepower and around 476 lb-ft of torque - but there's polishing to be done before deliveries begin in roughly six months time.

Here, then, are the instant highlights. Honda promises "0 delay" acceleration, and the NSX delivers. There's an immediacy to when you stomp on the gas pedal that makes you suddenly realize most cars that fall on the combustion side rather than pure-EV have a split second of lag before the power kicks in.

I doubt most Lamborghini, Porsche, or Ferrari owners are going to lose sleep over it, but once you notice it that 1st time you can't forget quite how quickly the NSX is roused.

It does so with a roar not a whir, too. There may be 3 electric motors inside this thing, but they're easily out-grunted by the 3.5-liter gas engine that contributes the lion's share of power and torque. In keeping with Honda's "everyday supercar" goal it's not the wail or scream of its rawer rivals, though.

The four power sources work together smoothly, and it's hard to tell where electric starts and the turbocharged gas engine finishes. You don't miss the grip and the cornering, mind; even after just a few curves, the NSX's point-and-go attitude to curves is clear, even if feel through the wheel is oddly game-like and lacking in feedback.

I'm mighty curious to see how it handles some properly twisty stuff, because the SH-AWD system - now terminologically upgraded to "Sports Hybrid All Wheel Drive" and allowing torque to each of the front wheels to be independently controlled - already seems like it could be the NSX's true wildcard.

Then again, that might be the brakes. Usually it's the going-fast part of a supercar that takes your breath away, but the combination of traditional Brembos and using the electric motors as regenerative generators means the NSX sheds speed almost violently.

Regen braking only happened when I was in Sport mode, not Sport+, and you notice the difference. Lift your foot in the former and the motors automatically start to claw back some of that otherwise wasted energy, slowing the car rapidly. In Sport+ mode, meanwhile, the ride got flatter, the V6 is kept permanently engaged, and the whole thing gets more aggressive.

The NSX also has a Track mode and Quiet mode, neither of which I got a chance to try, but which promise to turn the car either into an upshift-phobic race monster or a demure, mostly-electric suburbanite.

I'd be lying, though, if I said I wasn't left with plenty of lingering questions. Aside from just how good the handling is, I'm curious about how the NSX's braking system holds up to continued use in performance situations, especially since the drive-by-wire system Honda opted for only delivers faux-feel through the pedal.

Meanwhile, Honda's promise that the new combo drive-by-wire and hydraulic system for each of the brakes can be tuned individually - meaning less aggressive bite in the city, but more eager on the track - is something which will take real-world experience to compare.

I'm also curious about the cabin design, too, which for the most part is solid - plenty of Alcantara on most of the touchy-feely trim parts - but is let down by unduly plasticky switchgear. The center stack lacks the metal-edged finesse of rivals in the segment, and key touch-points like the shifter paddles fall short of the crispness and quality feel you'd expect of a car with this pedigree.

It's a shame, because otherwise driving position feels good. Honda's big central display in the driver binnacle is clear and easy to follow even while on the move at rapid rates, visibility is astonishing for a low-slung supercar - rear view excepted - and the center console is pleasingly minimal on extraneous buttons, even if those which make the cut feel somewhat pedestrian as you stab or twist at them.

All the same, that seems a minor foible - easily addressed, too, were Honda to decide to - in the face of what's already shaping up to be an incredible car.

Thing is, "incredible" means different things to different people. Comparing the new NSX with its forebear seems almost pointless when it comes to all but the overall strategy of an supercar suited for everyday use.

In the ten years since the 1st NSX was officially retired, the performance car space has changed dramatically. Reliability - once a capacity that only Honda could really boast - is up across even many of the more outlandish models out there, while technology has encroached to the point where a big engine and a slick manual gearbox are frankly insufficient to compete.

It means Honda isn't the only company to be using electric motors to boost performance, or clever algorithm-swapping drive modes to suit freeway or track or suburban street. The new NSX pushes the state of gadgetry even further, and finds itself facing questions of the sort Audi did with its eminently-manageable R8, only writ much larger.

An incredible technological achievement, then. An incredible use of new and existing mechanical and electronic systems to make a car that can potentially keep up with a Lamborghini but also drive like a cosseting Acura. And, certainly, an incredibly divisive answer to what a proper supercar should be in an age when luxury sedans are setting 0-60 records and electrification is no longer laughable.

Personally, I'm reserving judgement until I can spend more time behind the wheel, but I can understand why some are worried the needle has ticked too far into the realms of rationality.

Over the course of a decade and a half, Honda sold around 18,000 of the original NSX. Many of its most ardent fans today have probably never even driven 1.

With an estimated price north of $150,000, the 2017 NSX is likely to prove equally exclusive, but the ripples of controversy its creation have prompted will be orders of magnitude greater.

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·

When Acura scheduled the 1st drive of the long-awaited 2017 Acura NSX, our list of questions ran off a notebook page. We know pretty much exactly what to expect when a new generation Porsche Cayman or Ferrari mid-engine coupe arrives, but the same cannot be said of Acura.

Honda Motor Company hasn’t taken a stab at a mid-engine sports car since it 1st released the NSX 25 years ago, and the 2017 version has no direct connection to that model — which ended production in 2005 — other than its legendary name.

The original rocked. Fast, inspirational, and economical, it opened up the world of mid-engine sports cars to many car lovers who could never afford or even care about a Ferrari. We’ve heard continual whispers of an NSX successor ever since — getting so far along as a Japanese-led team using a naturally aspirated engine before finally morphing into a turbo-charged hybrid run largely by an American team. It will now arrive as a 2017 model.
No wonder fans have been left with a giant, hovering question mark. What can we expect from the new NSX? Will it be worthy of the name?

We finally have an answer, as we were part of a tiny group worldwide who got a very early drive on both racetrack and open roads. In a nutshell: The new NSX is as contrarian and occasionally conservative as the parent company itself. And it absolutely earns the NSX moniker.

1st, some basics. It is a hybrid. Like the Porsche 918, McLaren P1, and BMW i8, the 2017 Acura NSX uses electric motors — 3 of them — to lend instantaneous torque off the line.

The 3.5-liter gasoline engine is mounted longitudinally behind the cockpit. It is an all-new, twin-turbo V-6 making 500 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque. Peak power, utilizing the electric motors, is 573 hp 476 lb-ft of torque.

A direct-drive electric motor is attached to the engine’s crankshaft. Both work in concert with an all-new, wet-clutch 9-speed dual clutch transmission. The rear electric motor adds power, functions as a generator to help recharge the lithium battery pack, and serves as the starter motor. (Note: The NSX is not a plug-in.)

A twin-motor unit is housed up front. These 2 electric motors each separately drive a front wheel, and are otherwise mechanically independent from the rest of the powertrain. Upon demand, they add extra torque together or independently, aiding acceleration or cornering. In the latter case, they send extra power to the outside wheel, while the other inside wheel is slowed. Voila: Genuine torque vectoring.

This makes the NSX an all-wheel-drive coupe, but when operated in “Quiet” mode it can operate for short periods as an electrically powered front-wheel driver.

Weight is the complexity’s downside: 3,803 lb, with 58 percent distributed to the rear. Acura didn’t pursue a full-on carbon-fiber monocoque, using instead a more traditional mix of aluminum, high-strength steel, and carbon floor. Acura claims it is far more rigid than the Ferrari 458 — 1 of the cars it benchmarked along with the latest Porsche 911 Turbo and Audi R8 V10 Plus.

Indeed, Acura had to take the new NSX’s development very seriously. “We needed to make a real jump in technology,” says Ted Klaus, the NSX global development leader. “And we were sent packing by management more than once, quite frankly, but it was the kind of challenge they wanted us to absorb.” The hybrid powertrain was developed in Tochigi, Japan. But nearly everything else, from the chassis, powertrain integration, interior, and final styling was a product of the American team in Raymond, Ohio, and the Acura Design Studio in Los Angeles. The car will be built in a new plant in Marysville, Ohio.

But Klaus says discussions were often ones of philosophy rather than individual technologies: What did they want the new NSX to be? What should the NSX represent as a company halo?

“We think we’re going to unsettle the sports-car world,” he says. “This is a different kind of sports car than currently exists. A new segment. And it’s going to disturb some people.”

It took me those full 2 days of driving to begin to understand what he was getting at. Because the NSX does rock. But it head-bangs quietly. Think of it as a new class of sports car: The stealth supercar. That’s a concept that takes some time to wrap your head around.

This stealth nature was very much the engineers’ goal. The NSX adheres to the classic “smooth is fast” racing mantra. The quicksilver transmission, magnetic shocks, and sweetly-tuned chassis work overtime so as to never unsettle the car or its pilot. That extends to details like the driver’s seat, which offers the best meld of comfort and rock-solid bolstering I’ve ever experienced. The steering wheel, too, feels like an ideally weighted tool in your palms — with accuracy that’s nearly dead-on perfect. The engineers pained over the length and pressure of the brake-pedal stroke, so it feels consistent in both parking lot and on racetrack. In fact, those brakes are some of the best all-around stoppers I’ve found in both arenas.

The result of all this finesse is that there are certain descriptors you’re unlikely to associate with the NSX: “White knuckles,” “nervous passengers,” and “skittish.” But so too are you unlikely to exit the car and pair it with “roar,” “scream,” or “wail.” Inside, the engine notes are muted, even in sport-plus and track mode. In fact, it is possible to forget that you’re even in a mid-engine car, owing to the stability and the relative lack of rear sound. That will bum out some enthusiasts.

On my first day with the car, at Sonoma Raceway in northern California, I tried out launch control. It’s dead simple: Engage “track” mode, left-foot brake, put gas to floor, release brake. A respectable blip of seconds later, the NSX cleaved through the air at 60 mph on its way to 100. (As is Honda’s wont, it plays very coy with 0-60 mph numbers. My best ass-feel guess is 3.4 seconds.)

But it left me cold. It was fast, but didn’t feel fast-fast. It didn’t grab me by the scruff and whip me around. Didn’t sucker punch me in the solar plexus as I stomped the gas nor chuff me in the chin each time it snap-crackle-popped to the next gear.

Fast forward to the end of my 2nd day with the car, after I’d already gobbled several hundred miles of Golden State twisty roads. My expectations were better tuned with the car’s capabilities. I was in sync with the kind of speed it delivers. A typical moment went like this: A Prius up ahead plodded its way over a sinuous path through the foothills. I shoved down the gas pedal and the blue NSX performed 2 near-instantaneous downshifts. I didn’t feel the change in the car’s spine, none of the chassis tremor that comes in the Lamborghini Huracan when it drops down twice. The 9-speed dual-clutch transmission is in many ways as good as Porsche’s PDK, but it is as polite as a Japanese businessman.

Closing speeds are incredible, and the time the 2 Japanese cars existed side by side was infinitesimal. I was back into the right-hand lane in a lightning second, carrying huge speed into an uphill sweeping turn. The Prius existed somewhere behind me as a thought, a blip in time and space. My passenger was reading an e-mail on his cell at the time. He never even looked up.

So yes, the NSX is exceptionally fast. But you need the context of a good winding road to truly realize it. You’ve got to pass car after car after car in a blinding rush and see telephone poles flick by like toothpicks. Because neither the engine note behind you nor a shriek of tires nor squeal of brakes will announce it for you. Acura has been using an active torque-transfer technology since 1996. The NSX employs what the company terms the “next generation Sport Hybrid Super-Handling All Wheel drive.” The issue with active torque vectoring is that a car doesn’t always respond as you expect it to.

On the racetrack, I briefly tried treating the NSX like a last-gen Audi R8 or current Huracan: Turn early, induce a bit of yaw so the nose is pointed to the exit, and allow the AWD to power me out. But the NSX’s torque vectoring is best when you slow the car through a corner using trail braking. Follow a traditional line, managing both brake pressure and then throttle carefully, and you will be well rewarded. You can carry great speed into corners. Get back on the gas too early though, and the car understeers like mad.

The stability and traction controls are too conservative for my taste, and can only be turned off completely in track mode. Even then they’ll step in if the car senses an impending spin. (The rear wheels are braked individually if the systems think the car is seriously out of shape.)

And yes, the exterior is conservative. I hoped I would love it in the flesh. We got plenty of happy cat-calls and “Hell yeah!” fists shakes as we drove around. But in light of cars like the Huracan and McLaren 570S, and certainly the new Ford GT, the NSX may look all too dated, all too soon.

A few final notes. When it comes to the original NSX’s delights, the new 1 mostly delivers. The dashboard is low and the sight lines marvelously unobstructed. The A pillars are thin. You sit low in the cockpit, yet it’s easy to get in and out. The front is high enough to negotiate most normal curbs and inclines. Everyday practicality achieved.

As for cost: Expect the new car to run north of $150,000 for the base model. That’s well cheaper than any Ferrari or Lamborghini, but puts it within sparring distance of upper-end Porsche 911s and the new McLaren 570S, and makes the Jaguar F-Type R a bargain.

And this: The engineers acknowledge it’s a starting point. A very good 1. But as battery technology gets better and lighter, so too will their car.

The NSX’s approach is a surprising 1, and some will knock its philosophy. But the 2017 Acura NSX isn’t soft rock. More like a power ballad.

2017 Acura NSX Specifications
On Sale: 	Spring 2016
Base Price: 	$150,000
Engine: 	Rear wheels: Twin-turbo, 3.5-liter V-6/500 hp @ 6500-7500 rpm, 406 lb.-ft. @ 2000-6000 rpm, and electric motor. Front wheels: 2 electric motors. Peak power: 573 hp
Transmission: 	9-speed dual-clutch automatic
Layout: 	2-door, mid-engine, AWD coupe
EPA Mileage: 	N/A
Suspension F/R: 	Double-wishbone, double lower control arm/Multi-link with magnetorheological coilovers
Brakes: 	Vented discs
Tires F/R: 	245/35R-19 / 305/30R-20 Continental Conti-Sports Contact 5P
L x W x H: 	176.0 X 47.8 X 87.3 in
Wheelbase: 	103.5 in
Headroom: 	38.3 in
Legroom: 	42.8 in
Shoulder Room: 	57.6 in
Cargo Volume: 	3.9 cu ft
Weight: 	3,803 lb
Weight Dist. F/R: 	42/58
0-60 MPH: 	3.4 sec (est)
1/4-Mile: 	N/A
Top Speed: 	191 mph

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·

For nearly a decade the promise of a 2nd-generation Acura NSX has been dangling in front of the automotive world like a juicy carrot hanging from a stick in front of a hungry mule. And just like that mule, we never could quite get to the prize at the end of the rope.

Acura started development of a front-engined NSX powered by a V10 engine in the mid-2000s, but The Great Recession put the kibosh on that plan by the end of 2008. Once the economic outlook improved Acura teased us with a new, mid-engined NSX concept in 2012, but we were forced to wait once again when the company decided that the show car's naturally-aspirated V6 wasn't really supercar worthy.

But finally, the wait is over. The real question is, though, has it been worth it?

What is it?
Since a lot has changed over the last few years in the world of NSX, it's probably best to start with the basics.

Like the original, the 2017 NSX is a 2-door coupe with seating for 2. The latest version of the NSX also has a V6 engine in the middle, but that's where the similarities stop.

Whereas the original used a transversely-mounted, naturally-aspirated V6 -- much like the NSX concept from 2012 -- the newest version of Acura's supercar relies on a longitudinally-positioned 3.5L V6 aided by a pair of turbochargers. Although Acura currently offers a 3.5L V6 under the hood of some of its other vehicles, the 75-degree 3.5L V6 in the NSX is a ground up design that is bespoke to the nameplate.

To that gas powertrain Acura added a total of 3 electric motors -- a pair at the front axle and another integrated into the NSX's 9-speed dual-clutch gearbox. Those electric motors are powered by a battery pack sandwiched between the NSX's passenger cell and engine compartment.

On its own, the gas engine is good for 500 horsepower and 406 lb-ft of torque. The electric motors bump the NSX's total output to 573 horsepower and 476 lb-ft of torque. The NSX doesn't have a dedicated EV mode, but it's capable of battery-only operation at low speeds for distance up to about 1.5 miles.

On an interesting side note, the gas engine in the NSX is completely belt-free; everything from the power steering to the air-conditioning is electrically operated, so there isn't a need for a pulley system. The NSX doesn't have a traditionally starter motor, either; the electric motor pancaked in the car's transmission is responsible for getting the gas mill going.

Form follows function
The NSX has all the typical styling hallmarks of a high-end sports car, but there is a lot more technical stuff going on than meets the eye. Rather than just channeling air around the car, engineers worked tirelessly to divert passing air through the NSX.

That channeling system starts up front with 3 large inlets located in the lower portion of the NSX's front fascia. Those ducts help pass air through the NSX's front radiator and also provide cooling for the electric motors mounted in the center of the front axle. In order to ensure that incoming air doesn't create unwanted front-end lift, designers fitted functional air extractors on the NSX's hood and on the front fenders just behind the front wheels.

Once air exits those ports, it's either funneled down past the rear wheels or sucked back into the large vents located just behind the NSX's doors. Hidden inside those cutouts are intercoolers for the turbocharged engine, as well as ducts that channel air to the NSX's 9-speed gearbox. Look closely and you'll spot 2 air outlets just above the NSX's taillights, which work with air coming from under the car to reduce rear turbulence that can cause excessive drag.

Although it was designed with performance in mind, the NSX wasn't penned devoid of aesthetics. The front end shares a clear resemblance to the rest of the Acura lineup, including the 1st application of the brand's jeweled headlight treatment that we don't hate.

In profile the NSX has some Audi R8 in it, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. The rear view of the NSX isn't as successful, with an overall design that comes off as a little bland for such a radical sports car. The angle of the rear fascia is also a little strange; viewed from certain angles you could almost mistake the rear of the car for it's front end.

Life aboard
Acura is known as a sensible brand, so it should come as no surprise that the interior of the NSX reflects that ethos. Seats in the NSX are comfortable -- even by luxury car standards -- and there is plenty of head- and leg-room for those north of the 6-foot mark. Outward visibility -- a hallmark of the original NSX -- remains a strongpoint for the 2017 NSX thanks to an expansive windshield and a rear window that is large for a mid-engined car. Heck, even the NSX's trunk is large enough to swallow a couple of bags or even a full set of golf clubs.

Unfortunately, the overall design of the NSX's interior is a little too sensible. Everything feels like it's pulled from another Honda product, and that's largely because it is. The NSX's push-button transmission is found in other Acura products and the car's main touchscreen is essentially the same unit you can get in a $20,000 Honda Fit. This interior would be just fine for something like a TLX Coupe, but feels unimaginative for a halo supercar that was developed from scratch.

Some of that Acura sensibility flies out the window once you get to the NSX's ordering sheet, however. Despite a base price approaching $160,000, navigation is a $2,800 option on the NSX. Want SiriusXM satellite radio? That'll be another $500 on top of that. True, brands like Lamborghini charge extra for similar features, but that just seems out of step for Acura. Ditto for the NSX's lack of adaptive cruise control and blind spot monitoring.

Road and track
It's nice to talk about styling and features, but people are really only interested in the NSX for 1 reason -- the way it drives.

Our 1st experience with the 2017 NSX came on the private pavement of The Thermal Club just outside of Palm Springs, California. Although not a complicated circuit, Thermal's red course provided plenty of curves and long straights to properly put the NSX through its paces.

With the NSX's Track mode engaged, we eased out of the pits and onto Thermal's long straight. Mash the long pedal and the NSX accelerates like a rocket. The electric motor integrated into the NSX's transmission automatically engages on takeoff, eliminating any sensation of turbo lag. And with both turbos fully spooled, the NSX can really scoot.

The NSX's accelerator pedal actually has a built in "step" point for fully activating the twin electric motors at the front end. Push the pedal past that clicking point and the NSX' entire hybrid system works in tandem to shoot you to the horizon line as quickly as possible. Acura isn't releasing 0-60 figures for the NSX but, with launch mode engaged, we wouldn't be surprised to see figures in the low 3-second range.

The NSX is equipped with torque vectoring systems at both ends, which really helps in the corners. At the rear axle the NSX is cable of braking the inside wheel, while the electric motors up front are cable of apply negative force to 1 wheel and positive force to the other. The end result of that electronic wizardry is a car that is extremely easy to hustle through tight turns.

Since it uses an electric power steering system, the NSX doesn't offer a whole lot in terms of steering feel, but the tiller is spot on in every other regard. Any inputs are met with a proportional response from the front wheels and the "gearing" is just about as perfect as you can get -- no hand shuffling is necessary here, just put your hands at 9 and 3 and keep them there for every turn of the track.

The NSX checks in at a rather portly 3,800 pounds (nearly 700 pounds more than a Lamborghini Huracan), but most of that mass is packaged extremely low in the NSX's chassis, so it carries its weight well. That heft does tend to rear its head through fast corners though, with mean Mr. Physics providing a subtle but constant tug toward the outside. If you do cross the limit, the NSX is forgiving; drifts are easily controlled and the all-wheel drive system is quick to pull you back in line.

Our test cars were fitted with the NSX's optional Pirelli P Zero Trofeo R tires, which proved to be the most responsive of the 2 tires we tested, the other being NSX's standard Continental tires, but more on that later. Michelin Sport Cup 2 tires are also available for buyers that are planning to do some track driving.

The NSX's optional carbon ceramic brakes had no issues with the car's big bones, hauling the nearly 2-ton supercar down from speed with ease. We were limited to about 4 laps per track session, but during that time we never experienced any signs of fade. Regenerative braking is also included in the NSX and never felt obtrusive.

The NSX's 9-speed transmission works well in either its automatic or manual settings. But truth be told, we probably prefer the automatic setting to the NSX's steering wheel-mounted paddles. The NSX is so technically advanced that it's just best to leave it to its own devices.

The aural experience can be just an important as the driving sensation in a supercar, and this is 1 area where the NSX could use some improvement. The V6 sounds decent in the mid-part of the rev band, but its howling can be borderline annoying once the RPMs really start to climb. Part of the problem stems from tubes that transmit intake sound from the engine compartment to the cabin, terminating just behind the head of the driver and passenger. As a result, it's almost impossible to hold a conversation while driving above 5,000rpm. And despite all that noise, you really don't hear much from the twin-turbos, which seems like a missed opportunity. We'd gladly trade some of the NSX's intake noise for the chirping of the turbochargers.

So how is the NSX on track overall? Very good, but somehow lacking that emotional connection that makes it a truly moving experience. That feeling will obviously vary from person-to-person, but the NSX didn't beg us to keep pounding lap after lap.

However, there is good reason for that. Although the NSX is track-capable right out of the box, it was really designed with street use in mind. And out on the roads of the real world, it really shines.

Rather than thinking of the NSX as a full-on supercar, think of the NSX as a super grand touring car -- fast, but with plenty of space and comfort. When you just want to cruise around town, flip the NSX's dial to Quiet mode and it will loaf around as silently as an RLX sedan. And with its 3rd-generation magnetic ride dampers, the NSX is just about as comfortable as Acura's flagship sedan.

Sport mode livens up the NSX's drivetrain, but keeps the active exhaust flaps mostly closed, so the car's cabin isn't flooded with engine noise.

Sport+ prods the NSX's powertrain a little more, while also livening up the car's suspension and steering. With Sport+ mode engaged and a winding mountain road ahead, the NSX really comes into its own. The AWD system instills gobs of confidence while the NSX's torque vectoring seems to bend the laws of physics -- tight turns are no match for this car. Moreover, we didn't experience any moments of turbo lag or even transitions between the gas-electric powertrain, resulting in a linear connection between our right foot and a rush of forward movement.

The NSX's standard Continental rubber provided enough grip on the road, but lacked some of the feeling offered by the Pirellis. Since there isn't a ton of road feel to begin with in the NSX, we'd probably keep the car's track tires fitted at all times.

Again, our only real complaint about piloting the NSX at speed is its off-putting engine note. Unlike the Lamborghini Huracan, which only gets more soulful as its pistons spin toward redline, the NSX doesn't really compel you to hold an engine note to full crescendo. But other than that, the NSX makes for a near-perfect canyon carver.

Leftlane's bottom line
In a world flush with supercar options, the NSX manages to carve out its own unique niche. Although not as impassioned as some of its European counterparts, the NSX brings to the table a (comparatively) affordable hybrid drivetrain and the the kind of space, comfort and reliability that makes for an everyday supercar. Hopefully Acura doesn't make us wait another 10 years for another bite of the carrot.


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Discussion Starter · #11 ·

Rushing down some backwoods highway in the California canyons, the feeling of rock and pine flashing by at warp speed past the window—we were moving at speeds any California Highway Patrol officer would conclude to be ‘reckless.’ I didn’t care, the Acura NSX I was piloting didn’t seem to give a damn either, it continued to push the limits of what was possible; on the corners, in the straights, and everywhere in between.

If you were looking for a lightweight supercar similar to the NSX you saw a decade ago, this wasn’t it. This was something far more advanced, seemingly from another era far beyond our time. A twin-turbocharged engine, 2 electric motors, and space-ship like design. This was a car built for the future, and here I was, in 2016, driving it quick.—dangerously quick.

For Acura, the NSX comes at a very important time. The brand is struggling to reinvent itself, because sometime between 1990 and 2016, Honda’s luxury marque strayed into the desert to do some soul-searching, eventually finding itself by creating vehicles 1 would consider far from ‘acceptable’ in the realm of luxury manufacturers.

It’s definitely a tough pill to swallow for everyone involved. But the 1st part of reinventing yourself is realizing your mistake. The 2nd part is putting that signature Honda “power of dreams” slogan to good use, proving to everyone that anything is possible. Things like the NSX are possible.

To understand this car you have to understand the entire thought process behind it. The new NSX was built in Ohio (yes, that’s the United States), at a facility designed specifically to build the new NSX. This further reassures everyone that Acura wants to continue its separation from the Japanese-built original. And that’s not a bad thing.

For 1, the technology on this car is bar none. It’s almost as if McLaren shrunk down its P1, made it look better, and slapped an Acura badge on it. The 3.5-liter V6 shares space with 2 electric motors—1 in the front, 1 in the back—to which a total of 573 horsepower and 476 lb-ft torque are produced. That’s not slow, and even without an official 0-60 mph figure to work with, I can tell you safely it’s somewhere in the 3 second range.

With an ample amount of power on hand, 1 of the things the NSX truly excels at is launch control. It’s as easy as transferring the car into Sport+ mode, mashing your left foot on the brake, right foot on the gas, and waiting for a sensor to tell you to get your ass up and go. As soon as you release the brake, a full G of force is thrust onto your chest. There’s no wheel spin, no fuss, no nothing to convince you that this isn’t 1 of the best systems money can buy.

Putting to use both the electric motors and the 3.5-liter V6, Acura’s power distribution is something of wonder. If you were looking for turbo lag—look somewhere else. Power is immediate and aggressive, just like any good supercar should be. The dual threat of electric and gas gives you gobs of power. Comparably, it’s a more efficient, though slightly convoluted approach to power than any of its segment competitors.

Hold the 9-speed gearbox to 7,500 rpm and it cycles through gears while the speedometer climbs faster than you can blink. It works flawlessly in the straights, putting down the right amount of power right when you need it. But that isn’t to say Acura’s 9-speed autobox is perfect. Far from it, in fact.

It took Acura only 18 months to develop its new gearbox, and it shows. In the corners—specifically on the track—it seemingly wanders around under the hood, searching for the right gear at the wrong time. Holding 1 for too long, not downshifting quick enough for another. By then, you’ve already clipped the apex going 2 or 3 mph slower than you should be. You can combat that by using the paddle shifters, but even then, it’s not even comparable to cars like the R8 or 911 relative to preciseness.

The steering rack follows a similar issue. Unless you’re in Sport+ or Track, which is quick and precise, it doesn’t feel a whole heluva lot like a $150,000 supercar. Depending on the type of person you are, that may ore may not be a good thing. Sport mode is comfortable, definitely, and Quiet mode is efficient, sure, but the steering is numb, and the all-wheel drive system doesn’t work well in unison with the suspension, leading to a healthy amount of understeer.

Acura’s saving grace for its senseless steering rack comes in the form of a $2,900 optional steering wheel. You get more than just a steering wheel, of course, (carbon fiber accents, etc.). But it’s the most important part. The steering wheel feels as if it was designed for you specifically. Yes, you. The way it contorts to your hand—every inch of your palm and fingertips are connected at once, giving you a better sense for the road. It’s like Acura engineers looked at a glove and said, “how can we make this into a steering wheel?” And they did.

Sure, a steering wheel might sound like a trivial thing, but this is the single best steering wheel my hands have ever touched in a road car.

There’s definitely a lot of detail in the new NSX. Arguably, too much for a single review. But when it comes down to the brass tacks, negativity aside, the NSX really is a marvel of engineering. 80% of the time it works every time. Even after tracking it, and moving at a healthy clip through the canyons, it returned 19 mpg, showed off its faultless all-wheel drive system, and looked good doing it. Really good.

For $156,000, with all the technology and over-thinking, the NSX doesn’t herald back to the original in the way you were hoping. But that’s ok. The way it does share similarity with the original product is its push for new technology. A feat of engineering—just like the original—but in a very different way.

It’s attractive and sustainable and previews a future—whether you like it or not—that’s coming right for you. Culminating performance, efficiency, and design, into a well-thought out, fun-to-drive package. That’s the true beauty of the Acura NSX.

Engine: 3.5L Twin-Turbo Hybrid V6
Horsepower: 573
0-60: 3.0 Seconds (est.)
Price (base): $156,000

Stunning design
Advanced technology
Track focused

Numb steering rack
Cheap interior plastics​


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Discussion Starter · #12 ·

To Generation X, the letters “NSX” meant something. Maybe to the men and women of Minato, they meant “New Sports eXperimental,” but to us, they represented the dreams of our adolescence. Even in the 1990s, an elegant era of Japanese car design that brought us the best versions of the Mazda RX-7 and the Toyota Supra, the NSX stood alone as a paragon of technology and fascination. Talk about a tough act to follow for this new 2017 Acura NSX.

To those of us old enough to remember, yet young enough to wonder, the original NSX represented more than any marketing materials, any aspirational branding or any numbers on a spreadsheet ever could. The exotic from Acura, and not the offerings from the European, Paleozoic brands of Ferrari and Porsche, was the car that many people my age pictured ourselves owning someday as the sign that we had made it.

Thus, when it was announced in 2007 that Honda would be bringing the NSX nameplate back to life before the end of the decade, anticipation was palpable. So was skepticism. It had so much to live up to. 1 thing that helped was the exciting revelation that Honda would be using a new V10 engine to power its reincarnated supercar.

So we waited. And we waited.

Rarely has there been so much hype, buildup, and anticipation for a car as there was during the not quite decade of time that we’ve waited for this new NSX. Promises were made, broken, and then made again. A global recession and then a devastating Japanese earthquake sent Honda back to the drawing board more than once.

2010 came and went, and with it, the idea of the V10, making way for a twin-turbo V6 hybrid. Maybe we wouldn’t be getting a big, thumping, brute force-powered supercar after all, but rather a refined, technological, marvelous scalpel? Then when it finally seemed within our grasp, Acura completely re-engineered the entire thing.

Well, it’s now 2016, and Acura has at very long last, delivered on a new NSX. But have they possibly delivered on the promise of the NSX as well as the name?

(Full disclosure: Acura needed me to drive the new NSX so badly they provided airfare to Palm Springs, 3 nights at the Ritz-Carlton Rancho Mirage, and enough food and wine to feed a small village, and also make said village drunk-dial neighboring small village and tell them how much it misses them.)​

The Specs That Matter

The new NSX is powered by a system that’s truly unlike anything we’ve ever seen in a car that stays south of the $200,000 mark. The Sport Hybrid SH-AWD power unit is made up of an all-new, NSX-exclusive, twin-turbocharged, mid-mounted 3.0-liter V6 engine paired with an all-new 9-speed dual clutch transmission and an electric Direct Drive Motor which not only provides instant torque, but also charges the hybrid batteries.

Supplementing this are 2 electric motors at the front of the car, which Acura calls a “Twin Motor Unit”, that provide power independently to the front wheels, meaning that it that is capable of providing real torque vectoring to all 4wheels whenever a driver needs it.

So what does all that techspeak really mean? I’m sure that there’s some ecologically responsible reason for all of this hybridness, but what I suspect you really care about is that the power comes on, like, now, with literal neck-snapping acceleration forces of over 1G. And it also provides a very non-supercar-like combined 21 MPG.

The complete package comes in at 3,803 pounds, which, quite frankly, sounds more Mustang than NSX. The heft does nothing to slow it down in a sprint, however, thanks to a combined 573 horsepower and 476 lb-ft of torque from the SH-AWD system.

Aided by a wickedly good launch control and, of course, all-wheel drive, the NSX will thump out a0-60 MPH jaunt in exactly 3 seconds flat.

Visually, Acura has created a captivating car. The exterior manages to be appropriately exotic while still cutting a silhouette that recalls the Japanese supercars of yesteryear—there’s no mistaking it for almost anything from the Continent.

If you want to turn heads, the NSX will undoubtedly make waves, even in a desert town like Palm Springs. Every time I parked the NSX out in public, camera phones started clicking like Beyoncé had just arrived. (For everyone who saw that I was not, in fact, Beyoncé, sorry to disappoint.)

The seats are also exquisitely designed. There’s enough lateral support for the most spirited of driving, yet comfort isn’t sacrificed at the altar of performance. Cross country drives aren’t just possible in the NSX, they’ve been done.

Acura engineers drove from the Ohio factory to Utah and back in order to do some testing at the former Miller Motorsports Park. In leather-trim, this is an interior that’s cool enough for pretending to be Johnny Tran, but sophisticated enough for listening to Johnny Mathis.

If you want your own NSX, well, it’s not just as simple as going down to the Acura dealer and picking 1 off the lot. Each NSX will be a special order, with much of the car being handmade in Ohio to its new owner’s specifications. Sticker price will start at $156,000, but to get the brakes, carbon fiber, and audio that you really want, be prepared to pony up closer to $200,000.

Track Tested

My New Sports eXperience was to begin bright and early at the Thermal Club, a private, country-club track nestled in a jarring juxtaposition between fields tilled by immigrant workers who begin their workday before the break of dawn, avoiding the sweltering heat of a town bold enough to call itself “Thermal.”

Acura arranged for Pirelli World Challenge RealTime Acura Drivers Ryan Eversley and Peter Cunningham to conduct the lead/follow session. Each of us was given 3 15-minute sessions on track, as Eversley and Cunningham took it in turn to cut a virtual set of ski tracks through the asphalt of the South Palm Circuit for 3 drivers at a time to follow.

The track is an exercise in patience, with plenty of run off in every tight, slow corner, giving very little chance for any journalist to mangle a 6-figure, pre-production car.

As is often the case at press drives, the on-track experience of those in attendance ranged from “never on track before” to “Indy 500 top-5finisher Alex Lloyd.” As such, I wasn’t able to gain much perspective about the driving performance of the NSX on track until my 3rd and final attempt, when I was situated directly behind Eversley, who was taking recently minted Acura VP and GM Jon Ikeda around in the passenger seat of his new baby.

“Game on, sucker,“ I said as I situated myself in the driver’s seat of the NSX for what would be my final track session.

“I’m sorry?” said 1 of the chief designers of the NSX, from my passenger seat.

“Um, nothing.” Damn. Kinda forgot you were sitting there, bro.

I used the large dial in the center stack of the NSX’s console to select Track Mode (the most aggressive and certainly the loudest of the 4 NSX drive modes), turned the VSA traction and stability control to “OFF,” and followed Eversley out onto the track. Game on, indeed.

Although the Thermal Club’s layout wasn’t necessarily conducive to an all-out track battle, Eversley didn’t let that stop him from going all out, daring me to stick as close to him as possible.

“Bark, I’m going to ask you to back off his bumper just a bit,” my passenger shouted over the shrieking twin-turbo V6 slung low behind us. “We’ve lost some windscreens this way.”

I saw what he meant—the massive 305 series Pirelli track tires of Eversley’s red Barchetta hurled rocks from the less-than-spotless surface of the circuit as we transitioned back through the esses into the straightaway.

My attempts to continue to carry on any sort of conversation with my passenger became hopeless as soon as the chase began. The sound of the twin-turbo V6 isn’t as awe-inspiring as the V10 of Audi’s R8 or as guttural as the Corvette Z06’s LT4, but, in Track Mode, it is assuredly as loud as you’d want it to be.

It creates a tone that reminds 1 of a car from the Jetsons-ish future that never was—well mannered, scientific, and methodical.

Better, Smarter, Faster... Than You Are

The SH-AWD system pulled me through corners with the merest application of throttle, allowing the torque vectoring to urgently direct power to the front wheel that needed it most. It’s almost never wrong to put the power down in the NSX on track. The car only gave me as much power as the traction could handle. Earlier was nearly always better.

In a few turns, our fellow NSX drivers had become mere blips in my mirror, and by the end of the 1st lap, they were gone. And Eversley, had he been so inclined, could have made me a blip, too.

What I realized in my futile attempt to chase down a World Challenge driver was this: on track the NSX does everything better than you, the driver, can.

Acura took aim squarely at Porsche’s PDK with their bespoke 9-speed transmission and it doesn’t disappoint. It downshifts and matches revs far better than any mortal. While the NSX tends toward a less hairy understeer in the turns, give it just a little trail braking into any corner and watch the oversteer come on slowly, but surely, and more importantly, predictably.

It even brakes better than you can, taking your inputs as little more than powerful suggestions as it applies the proper amount of pressure for you. It sloughs aside your sloppy throttle inputs at apex and dials in the throttle just so, positioning the car on exit exactly where it should be.

But even though I had a smile on my face as I returned to the pit road, I couldn’t help but feeling that it was all a bit Paint-By-Numbers. On track, the NSX drives like the fastest Japanese sedan you’ve ever driven—ever careful to mind its manners and provide a comfortable driving experience, even at the 140+ MPH the NSX effortlessly nosed past going into Turn 7.

The engineers told me that they had benchmarked it against the 911 Turbo S and the 458 Speciale, and it’s entirely possible that the NSX could be just as fast as those supercars on the course—maybe even faster.

But the visceral experience just wasn’t there. The sound wasn’t quite raucous enough. The grip wasn’t loose enough. The visibility was—well, I could see out of this supercar! That just isn’t right, you know?

Driving a car this fast and this expensive is supposed to be somewhat of a chore, the kind of chore that you humblebrag about to your friends (“Oh, that 1st-class flight to Milan was just murder.”)

And then I realized why I was pouting. The NSX was just too easy to drive on that track. I was genuinely pissed off by the fact that the electronic nannies were making me a better driver, that all my track time and laps behind the wheel of cars costing less than 1 10th of the NSX were rendered somewhat irrelevant by the NSX’s superior intelligence.

It’s not a 991 GT3, ready to whip its tail out at a moment’s notice to punish its driver for his sins. It’s not a Shelby GT350R, wailing at pitches previously only known to banshees. It’s a perfectly composed, neatly packaged, dare I say… luxurious track car.

And when you understand the purpose of the NSX, you begin to understand that Acura got it exactly right.

It Wins On The Street

The NSX wasn’t designed to be purely a track car. While the typical NSX owner may track his car anywhere from 3 to 4 times per year, the rest of the time, the NSX is intended to be a real, viable street car that owners can comfortably and easily daily drive, while still obtaining the feeling of maximum performance. So it was time to leave the track and test the NSX in the environment for which it was truly engineered—the road.

As I exited the Thermal Club, I was given a route through the San Jacinto Mountains to return to the hotel. Since we had left the track, I switched the NSX into “Sport Plus” mode, plugged my iPhone into the USB port, activated Apple CarPlay, and let the combined sound of the Christian McBride Big Band blasting through the 580-watt ELS Surround Sound System and the motor wash over me as the NSX and I became symbiotically 1 through the undulations of the mountain roads.

The true greatness of the NSX lies here. Not on the track, but in the real, dirty, non-antiseptic world. The magnetorheological suspension digests every bump, every divot, every patch of gravel with not only ease, but indifference.

While the 991 and the 458 might be the more organic way to make one’s way around a circuit, it’s hard to believe that the NSX couldn’t show its rather attractive hindquarters to either in the hills and canyons of southern California.

The confidence that it inspires is intoxicating. No matter the turn, no matter the camber, no matter the debris strewn across the road, the NSX simply sticks. The speeds that the Acura makes possible on public roads are not just illegal, they’re felonious. But if 1 simply must have a felony on one’s record, this would be the way to get it.

The Verdict

So is this NSX a fitting descendant of the older car that I loved so much growing up? Yes. Well, maybe.

After the road drive was completed Acura was kind enough, or perhaps foolish enough, to toss me the keys to a company-owned 2005 NSX. It was not a museum piece. It was a 47,000-mile example. The seats weren’t perfect. The steering wheel had faded over the years by the California sun.

And while the original NSX may have been a technical marvel in its day, to drive it now serves as reminder of a time when the best cars communicated in analog fashion. They reacted to your inputs. They had a dialogue with you. They became 1 with you, the driver.

This new NSX asks you to become 1 with it. To envelop yourself in its comfort, its luxury, its technology, to become as much of a hybrid as it is.

What Acura has done with this new NSX is to take a driving experience that was previously only accessible to the gifted and allow the ordinary (if rather wealthy) man to fly just close enough to the sun to revel in its power and beauty. And if, in order to fly that close, 1 has to wear a suit of technological armor, is that a price that they should be willing to pay?

That’s up to you. Me? I say it, quickly and easily, without hesitation: hell yes.


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1,199 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·

It’s been a hot minute since Acura launched a true supercar. The last time we saw a salacious, ceiling-smashing, mortgage-busting 2-seater from Honda’s upscale outfit, Ayrton Senna and McLaren were dominating Formula 1.

That was 1990, when the Acura NSX crashed the supercar party. It was a revelation for Honda—a company known more for thrifty, utilitarian cars that ran forever—and an unexpected challenge to contemporary exotics from those guys in Italy. The NSX combined groundbreaking tech like an aluminum chassis and titanium engine valves with the comfort and reliability of an Accord to create a supercar you could commute in.

The original NSX, amazing as it was, eventually became a historical relic, unable (or unwilling) to compete in the horsepower wars of the past decade. The 2017 model faces the challenge of living up to its predecessor, matching potent rivals, and delivering driving emotion before the machines take the wheel from humans.

Quarter-Century Cycle

In the 25 years since the 1st NSX drew auto enthusiasts to the east, hypercars from Ferrari, Porsche, and McLaren have evolved from thirsty, big displacement beasts to smart, sophisticated hybrids with all-wheel drive and bogglingly complicated drivetrains.

The 21st century take on the NSX, which starts at $156,000, follows the same path. 3 motors join the mid-mounted, twin-turbo V6 in sending power to all 4 wheels. It’s a convincing package. The engine is good for 500 horsepower and the motors offer another 73, propelling the car to 60 mph in 2.9 seconds and a top speed of 191 mph.

All manner of computerized logic helps with acceleration, cornering, and lap times. There’s a lot of thinking to do. Just to cite 1 example, 2 of the 3 electric motors drive the front wheels, each operating independently to ensure torque goes exactly where it’s needed. During hard cornering, extra power goes to the outside wheel. Meanwhile, the motor driving the inside wheel flips into generator mode, slowing the wheel to make the car turn in faster and sending the recuperated kinetic energy to the battery.

Behind the Wheel

Climb into the NSX’s 2-seat cabin, an overwhelming sense of Honda-ness greets you. The integrated, center-mounted shift control mechanism, those familiar graphics on the shape-shifting digital display, the accommodating, ergonomic friendliness that speaks of benign functionality.

The vanilla overtones are spiced with pleasant details, like the peekaboo aluminum structural member in the dash between a swath of Alcantara and leather, which designers say is a nod to naked sport bikes, and the way the cool display morphs its design between drive modes. A sense of restrained tautness governs the cabin.

The NSX lets you drive in full electric mode, and, in addition to standard modes like Sport, Sport +, and Track, there’s Quiet. As in, chauffeuring your mother-in-law quiet, or don’t-wake-the-neighbors-as-you-head-to-work quiet, or Airwolf air-to-ground surveillance stealth mode quiet. Your demographic may vary.

On the Track

My 1st go at Sonoma Raceway reveals a buttery smooth ability that complements the raw power numbers. The combination of internal combustion and electric motivation delivers a smooth whoosh of energy leading up to peak torque, between 6,500 and 7,500 rpm. There’s no lull or soft spot within that crescendo, no surge or spike, just a constant pull of power.

Away from the track, the NSX is commanding and confident on public roads, devouring s-curves and straights as though the frunk were piled with get-out-of-jail-free cards.

Launch control is similarly drama-free. All 4 wheels fling the car forward like an aircraft carrier catapult. When you reach the corner, just turn the wheel and feel the surprisingly porky NSX (3,802 pounds) obey without question. The 9-speed transmission does its part, downshifting with a quick and smooth throttle blip and upshifting nearly instantaneously as the computers send just enough power to the wheels that need it most.

Track mode delivers sharper jolts of torque and tire sliding. Though the engine soundtrack cranks up by 25 decibels compared to Quiet mode, the aural mood is more deliberate aircraft than blatty, burbly racecar. Sure, there are some throaty, compelling acoustics emanating from the engine (aided by intake sounds directed into the cabin), but the overall tone is 1 of focused fierceness, not heedless fury.

Switch off all the electric aids and things get sloppier; tracking the car through a corner takes more attention, the car feels looser. But you’re never entirely alone. When I intentionally lift the throttle mid-corner, ready to reapply gas and countersteer to right the car, the damn thing catches itself. Back in the pits, I try in vain to convince Nick Robinson, head of dynamic development, that a car that starts at $156,000 should, for better or worse, let the driver disable all of the nannies and experience the unrestrained glory of 573 horsepower. (Ed.

Anyway. Away from the track, the NSX is commanding and confident on public roads, devouring s-curves and straights as though someone filled the frunk with get-out-of-jail-free cards.

I wonder if the NSX is over-rationalized, a too-smart-for-its-own-good expression of brain over brawn.

1 decision perplexes: The standard tires, Continental’s 4-season Conti-Sport SP, give up grip far too early when driven hard. The solution comes with the more aggressive (and optional) Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires. Making all-year rubber the standard is like cladding an Olympic sprinter with hiking boots. Oh, Honda.

The Supercar, Cerebralized.

The team behind the NSX is eager and inventive, but I wonder if the NSX is over-rationalized, a too-smart-for-its-own-good expression of brain over brawn. Soft-spoken NSX project lead Ted Klaus is an airy auto philosopher, with lines like, “How can you have something that’s basically complicated and fundamentally heavy that provides a sense of lightness?” Chassis guru Robinson is similarly cerebral, describing his team’s approach to the human machine interface as, “We wanted a degree of linearity so it could be driven not from the upper brain, but from the brain stem.”

If this were a piece of music, the Japanese redux would be less Van Halen’s “Runnin’ With the Devil” and more Bach’s “Well-Tempered Clavier.” And while I miss the sound, fury, and madness of its Italian counterparts—the howling engine, the dance-in-your-hands steering, the enfant terrible street cred—there is something to be said for the Acura’s Porsche-like rationality.

The 2017 NSX is a monument to engineering, refinement, and ultimately, a certain kind of invisibility. While Aston Martin and Bentley build cars with enough panache to considered supercars for the gentleman set, the Acura NSX is the thinking man’s exotic. Or, perhaps, an everyman’s supercar, exploring the themes of refinement and restraint rather than boom, bombast, and extroversion.

Will history be as kind to the new kid? It will take time, patience, and a whole lot of miles to find out.


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1,199 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·

The 1st Acura NSX is clearly as popular now, perhaps even more so than when it was 1st introduced, and it still maintains a substantial fan base. Avid devotees mourned the disappearance of the original iconic sports car from Honda’s luxury division, constantly clamoring for a worthy replacement. Well, the long wait has finally ended. Spring has sprung and thankfully, so has the new Acura NSX. The return of the highly anticipated Japanese sports car is now a reality, following the absence of that 1st example more than 2 decades ago – the last of that 1st NSX run came with the 2005 model.

What has now become the 2017 Acura NSX made its debut strictly as an exercise in design in the form of a concept vehicle at the 2012 Detroit International Auto Show, that had yet to be given approval for production. It received such an overwhelmingly positive reaction at the show, however, that the decision to proceed with its development followed shortly thereafter.

The original course of action for the 2nd generation NSX was always for it to be a hybrid model, but significant changes took place over the lengthy period of its metamorphosis, and about halfway through the development process, a more revolutionary approach, with advanced technology became the focus, trumping what was to have been a more conventional hybrid vehicle. Among its many innovations, this latest iteration NSX showcases a “man-machine synergy” approach with its Sport Hybrid Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (Sport Hybrid SH-AWD) – the 1st such technology in the normal realm of supercars, a categorization that it now justifiably warrants. This necessitated changing from a normally aspirated engine in a transverse orientation to a longitudinally mounted, twin-turbo V6, essentially, requiring a completely new clean sheet design.

This next generation Sport Hybrid SH-AWD power unit is comprised of the all-new twin-turbocharged, mid-mounted V6 engine that’s mated to an also all-new 9-speed, paddle shifted dual-clutch transmission and Direct Drive Motor that generates instant engine torque response. It also functions as a generator to constantly maintain the hybrid batteries’ charge state as well as consistently supporting driver initiated demands. These rear power unit systems work in conjunction with the 2 front electric motors and the mechanical limited-slip differential, which are enhanced by the capabilities of the front-mounted Twin Motor Unit (TMU).

Encapsulated by the TMU are 2 electric motors that independently supply power to the left and right front wheels, ultimately providing “active AWD”, increasing forward acceleration, and continuously varying both positive and negative torque directed to the front wheels. This action results in a “direct yaw control” effect that enhances agility, stability, performance, and response, or true torque vectoring, which is available at any speed in both throttle-on and throttle off scenarios. The TMU additionally provides regenerative brake force, assisting in braking demands, while at the same time recharging the hybrid battery.

The 9 DCT transmission is purpose built, utilizing a new design, that places the clutch and differential side-by-side in a common housing, with a parallel shaft gear set arrangement.

The key hybrid component is the Intelligent Power Drive Unit (PDU) that contains the lithium-ion battery pack. This advanced battery pack consists of 4 modules, each with 18 individual battery cells contained within a specially-designed, caseless structure utilizing the vehicle body itself for a sturdy lightweight housing. The hybrid system’s PDU incorporates a compact “3-in-1” design, converting direct current to alternating current, supplying all 3 electric motors.

All of this is based on a space frame chassis composed primarily of aluminum in a new application – ablation cast aluminum frame members fore and aft combined with 3-dimensional bent and quenched frame members, yielding a high rate of torsional rigidity.

The total motive force delivered by the combined systems is 573 horsepower and 476 pound-feet of torque.

Like the space frame, a mix of lightweight materials for the body’s exterior makeup, including: sheet hydro-formed aluminum for the outer door skins; aluminum stampings for the hood and roof (with a carbon fiber roof optionally available); sheet molding compound for the fenders and deck lid; a carbon fiber front floor panel; and a high-temperature-resistant ABS plastic utilized in proximity of the engine. The composite twin fuel tanks are mounted behind the rear bulkhead in front of the engine.

The NSX’s suspension componentry consists of an all-aluminum double wishbone arrangement with double lower control arms up front and an independent multilink setup aft. Active Gen III MR coilover magnetorheological dampers are placed at all 4 corners, with 2 adjustable settings that vary with different drive modes. The Acura supercar rolls on staggered Continental ContiSport tires as standard fare, with Michelin Pilot Sport2 high-performance rubber, and Pirelli P-Zero TROFEO ultimate performance donuts optionally available.

The 2017 Acura NSX is in a word, dramatically drop dead gorgeous. Okay, that’s 4 words, but the car actually warrants more, like futuristic, fantastic, incredible, sexy, and awesome.

The exterior design is a harmonious blend of sharp angles and voluptuous curves while being a case study in function dictating form, with total airflow management as a key element in delivering the level of aerodynamics required for effective and efficient thermal control necessary for the proper operation of its hybrid system. There are 6 different heat sources to be managed: the twin turbo engine, the 9DCT, the PDU, and the 3 electric drive motors. Providing sufficient cooling for these elements, airflow is handled through 10 heat exchangers positioned in the front grille area, side “flying C-pillar” air intakes, as well as through the engine compartment. Getting the air out is just as important as getting the air in, and there are outlets positioned in the upper rear quarter sail panels, beneath the rear spoiler lip and in the lower rear fascia in the form of a large horizontal grille flanked by 2 large vents.

The NSX features 1 of the lowest centers of gravity in its class making ingress and egress somewhat difficult for ectomorphic individuals, but once situated inside, the interior exhibits the same dedicated attention to detail and functionality as the exterior styling. Interior Designer, Johnathon Norman pointed out that controls and switchgear are optimally placed for intuitive use, and the leather sports seats with Alcantara inserts are perfectly contoured and formed to provide excellent support for both boulevard cruising and race track exercises. The steering wheel shape and size feels just right.

During the media drive program, a group of ten automotive journalists was treated to experiencing the new NSX in both real-world driving scenarios as well as in high-speed race track laps, and launch control demonstrations.

The day began with each journalist donning a helmet and rolling out of pit lane and onto the 1.8-mile, 9 turn course at the exclusive Thermal Club’s West Palm track about 30 minutes out of Palm Springs. Each journalist rotating through 3 cars similarly equipped for 4 laps each in a lead/follow format following none other than noted IndyCar racer Graham Rahal at increasing rates of speed and ultimately reaching a top track speed on the long back straight in excess of 130 mph. The track cars were Venetian Red metallic, Casino White Pearl and Nouvelle Blue metallic, each with a base price of $156,000, and each was outfitted with the carbon ceramic brake system, carbon fiber exterior sport package, carbon fiber roof, carbon fiber engine cover, carbon fiber interior sport package, Acura ELS Studio Audio & Technology Package with Sirius /XM, colored Brembo brake calipers, semi-aniline leather and Alcantara power sport seats, ultra premium “Andaro” paint process and destination charge, bringing the final total before sales tax and license to $200,700.

SUMMARY: The 2017 Acura NSX is performance that is precision crafted. It is incredibly smooth and wickedly fast. Every step of the way, the new NSX does everything that a supercar should, and does everything exceptionally well. On the track, the engineers that developed and perfected the final product served as ride-along instructors with each lap. I was 1 of the 1st out on the track, with Jason Widmer, Principal Engineer and Complete Vehicle Performance Leader riding shotgun; my next ride along companion was Nick Robinson, Lead Engineer, Vehicle Dynamics, followed by pro race driver and instructor Ryan Lewis. Jared Cox, Lead Engineer, Structure and Sound later supervised the Launch Control exercises.

Forward visibility is outstanding thanks to the super thin “A” pillar design while the rear side view is somewhat limited by the large flying “C” pillar. I discovered that the visors are minimally useful depending upon one’s height. Ingress and egress are much easier than with most other supercars. There’s plenty of headroom for those up to 6’5”, even with a helmet on, which can pose some difficulty when entering and exiting the vehicle.

The NSX expands the range of available driving experiences with its Integrated Dynamics System, whose 11 systems provide uniquely tuned experiences for each driving scenario, controlled through a circular knob in the center stack. The left 2 positions are Quiet and Sport, while the right 2 positions are Sport + and Track, which are all pretty self-explanatory. Sport+ provided the most enjoyment for challenging twisty roads, with the Track setting optimizing elevated performance level capabilities. The individual settings also deliver a wide range of tunable sound levels, with a 25dB range between Quiet and Track modes.

Pressing the center button of the IDS dial once places the 9DCT in automatic operation, while pressing it twice enters into manual mode, with control achieved via the wheel-mounted paddle shifters. Even in the automatic mode, it is possible to dive further toward a turn at full speed before braking, and it is possible to apply heavy throttle even before exiting the turn, going almost immediately to full throttle. Overcooking a corner, 1 can feel the car twitch, but it immediately recovers thanks to the AWD system. Braking is phenomenal with the ElectroServo System’s 6-piston Brembo calipers clamping onto the 14.5-inch front ceramic rotors, combined with regenerative braking, and with no indication of fade after hard use. Minimal oversteer may be encountered during trail braking, but again, the AWD comes to the rescue.

Handling is awesome and you can forget about shuffling hands about on the wheel, as turns are conquered simply by turning with hands in a fixed position. The ride quality is most forgiving with the coilover magnetorheological dampers at each corner – railroad track crossings and bumps in the road are barely noticeable.

The Launch control is the smoothest I’ve encountered to date, with any complicated process or settings to fiddle with. Simply set the IDS to D1, fully depress the brake pedal, mash the accelerator pedal to the floor, and when the IP signal displays the launch ready prompt, release the brake. Keeping the throttle nailed, the NSX takes off like a rocket with no tire slip, ripping down the track while shifting gears at expressly the right moment along the e-ticket ride. There’s no sensation of strain on the running gear, and in fact, the process can be repeated over and over again with no ill effects.

In the final analysis, the Acura team has positively nailed it, for what may well be the perfect supercar, and even at the fully loaded price north of $200,000. I predict an early depletion of the planned production supply. Only 800 are currently slated for the U.S. market, with another 800 for the remaining global market. Jay Leno and Jerry Seinfeld have already placed their orders, so if you want 1, don’t wait too long. The revolutionary 2017 Acura NSX truly delivers the “new sport” experience. All other supercars beware.

On the TFLcar scale of:

Buy it!
Lease it!
Rent it!
… or Forget it!​

I give the 2017 ACURA a ‘Buy It!‘. If you can afford it, if not, stealing 1 might be an option. It’s an incredible sport hybrid supercar that handles and rides with exceptional precision in virtually any scenario.

Base price 	$156,000
Price as tested 	$200,700
Powertrain 	Sport Hybrid SH-AWD Power Unit
Engine 	3.5L twin-turbocharged DOHC 24-valve V6


	500 @ 6,500-7,500 rpm


	406 @ 2,000 – 6,000 rpm
Direct Drive Motor 	Permanent magnet water-cooled electric motor/generator


	47 hp @ 3,000 rpm


	109 lb-ft @ 500 – 2,000 rpm
Twin Motor Unit (TMU) 	Permanent magnet, oil-cooled electric motor/generator – independent twin motors in a single package


	36 + 36 @ 4,000 rpm


	54 + 54 lb-ft @ 0 – 2,000 rpm
Transmission 	9-speed DCT transmission
Drivetrain layout 	Mid-mounted V6 w/Direct Drive Motor / front-mounted TMU / AWD
Total system output 	573 hp, 476 lb-ft torque
Curb weight 	3,803 lbs (without options)
Acceleration 0-60 mph 	3.4 sec (manufacturer estimate)
EPA-estimated fuel economy 	20/22/21 mpg (city/hwy/combined)
Combined range (gas-electric) 	Approximately 400 miles

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