By Bob Nagy
An all-new, state-of-the-art design, the second generation of Acura’s groundbreaking supercar is a true world-class performance machine that deftly melds a bounty of advanced technology with an even more engaging and exhilarating character. Returning to the lineup after a decade-long absence, this stunning 2-seater wraps its aero-optimized light-alloy/SMC bodywork around a multi-material aluminum/carbon-fiber inner structure that serves as a super-strong and ultra-rigid foundation for its driver-selectable adaptive suspension system. Acura’s Sport Hybrid AWD system supplies 573 horsepower to this mid-engine coupe making it brilliantly responsive and blisteringly quick on the street or on a racing circuit. Designed and built in America, the new Acura NSX serves as the division’s halo vehicle and directly challenges key rivals like the Audi R8 V10+ and Porsche 911 Turbo.
If the combination of classic high-performance and new-age hybrid power in an all-wheel-drive supercar resonates with your inner being, the new Acura NSX deserves a spot on your must-drive list.
For all of its formidable appeal, the new NSX does tip the scales at an admittedly stout 3,809 pounds and lacks some of the overt edginess -- as well as the absolute pony count -- of several megabuck rivals including the Audi R8 V10+, Porsche 911 Turbo S and Lamborghini Huracán.
Making a dazzling and long-overdue comeback to the divisional lineup, the all-new, Gen II Acura NSX blends performance-focused character with outstanding dynamics in ways that put its own distinctive design stamp on today’s supercar formula.
Comfortable, quick, responsive and flat-out fun, the Acura NSX lives up to its Precision Crafted Performance design brief on every level. The Sport Hybrid package leverages an outstanding driving environment...
... by delivering strong, sustained and virtually instantaneous power on demand abetted by split-second cog changes from its well-sorted dual-clutch transmission. The NSX’s SH-AWD system adds a new dimension to the car’s superb dynamics, thanks to Active Torque Vectoring that can independently apply power or braking forces to each front wheel to further enhance cornering prowess, although the system does diminish some steering feedback to the driver. Not so for Acura’s excellent mechanical/regenerative Super Sports braking system that feels great and is extremely positive. Although modest at-the-limit understeer is more evident with the NSX’s standard Continental Conti-Sport Contact tires than its optional stickier-but-shorter-lived Pirelli P Zero Trofeo R or Michelin Sport Cup 2 rubber, there’s no lack of visceral rush in any configuration.
SUPER HYBRID SH-AWD SYSTEM
Blending a gasoline-electric primary power source that drives the rear wheels via a 9-speed dual-clutch automatic with dual electric motors up front, Acura’s performance-tweaked Super Hybrid SH-AWD system gives the NSX both blisteringly quick acceleration -- think 0-60 mph in under 3.0 seconds -- and superb cornering capabilities.
INTEGRATED DYNAMICS SYSTEM
Offering four driver-selectable settings -- Quiet, Sport, Sport+ and Track -- the Integrated Dynamics System controls programming of the steering, blended mechanical/regenerative brakes, throttle response, Vehicle Stability Assist, magnetorheological dampers and Sport Hybrid SH-AWD while tweaking the level of aural excitement routed into the interior as well as to the outside world.
Offering superb sightlines, the NSX’s well-finished, driver-focused cabin is a welcoming realm whether you’re cruising on the street or hanging it all out at the track. Deeply bolstered bucket seats trimmed in perforated Milano leather and Alcantara provide an excellent combination of comfort and support without feeling confining and are complemented by extra padding on the door panels and center console. A flat-bottom multifunction steering wheel with shifter paddles overlooks the NSX’s configurable TFT digital instrument cluster while the central 7.0-inch high-res capacitive touch screen sits above the well-positioned Dynamic Mode selector that controls the NSX’s Integrated Dynamics System.
Although initially penned in Japan, visual and functional detailing of the production-ready NSX was largely handled by Acura Design Studio in Los Angeles. The car’s purposeful appearance is set off by highly efficient full-LED lighting and embraces themes destined to influence the look of future products from the division. Based around a total airflow-management theme, the sleek, aluminum/SMC bodywork optimizes the NSX’s overall aero profile and high-speed stability while ensuring full functionality of the plethora of radiators and cooling devices required to keep its Sport Hybrid powertrain elements and fluids at proper operating temps under all driving conditions.
While focused on delivering high-energy exhilaration, the NSX boasts features that make it equally attractive as a daily driver. Despite 4-way manual seats fitted in the interest of saving weight, comfort/convenience touches include dual-zone climate control, navigation, a 290-watt/8-speaker Premium Audio system that supports Android Auto and Apple CarPlay apps, Siri Eyes Free, Bluetooth phone/streaming audio, keyless smart-entry/smart-start, Active Sound Control and more, including a modestly scaled but fully insulated and surprisingly usable 4.4-cubic-foot trunk that can hold a golf bag. The NSX wears staggered-size forged alloy wheels wrapped in 245/35ZR19 performance rubber up front and 305/30ZR20 boots in the rear.
Built to each individual customer’s order, the NSX offers a sizable selection of extras that can impart unique character to this ultimate Acura as well as enhance its overall performance. Optional seat packages add heated power buckets -- with or without semi-aniline leather -- while an ELS Studio Audio and Technology Package upgrades the sound, navigation and telematics capabilities. While a head-up display remains on the wish list, owners can opt for a selection of mass-reducing interior/exterior carbon-fiber bits, carbon-ceramic super stoppers that bolster braking and chop 52 pounds of unsprung weight, custom wheels and Ultra-Premium Andoro exterior paint finishes.
Sole powertrain in the NSX is Acura’s technologically advanced Sport Hybrid system: a racing-inspired 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 supplemented by three electric motors that are fully integrated to optimize total performance and collectively develop 573 horsepower and 476 lb-ft of torque. The V6 features direct-plus-port fuel injection and dry-sump lubrication that allows it to be mounted low in the chassis to further optimize overall balance. A Direct Drive Motor sits between the engine and the NSX’s 9-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, while the Twin Motor Unit at the front axle independently energizes each wheel to provide additional motive force as well as steering/braking assist via torque vectoring. With their instant-on torque at launch, the motor array virtually eliminates turbo lag and always ensures superb throttle response.
3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6 plus 3 electric motors
573 horsepower (combined)
476 lb-ft of torque (combined)
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/22 mpg
The 2017 Acura NSX has a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting just under $158,000, comfortably below the Porsche 911 Turbo S and Audi R8 V10+ that open in the $170K and $180K+ ranges, respectively, as well as the Lamborghini Huracán and Ferrari 488 GTB, both on the far side of $200,000. However, it is possible to push the sticker on a fully loaded NSX to nearly $207,000, principally by adding things like the full assortment of exterior/interior carbon-fiber bits ($24,500), carbon-ceramic brakes ($9,900), trick paint ($6,000) and the Audio/Technology upgrade ($3,300). Kelley Blue Book has not yet established a Fair Purchase Price or Residual Value for the 2017 Acura NSX. However, earlier this year the division was honored by KBB.com for having the lowest 5-Year Cost of Ownership for any luxury brand, and we anticipate the NSX’s stats will likely fall in line with those of its less-exotic family members.