After a 12-year hiatus, Acura returns to the mid-engine supercar market with the 2017 Acura NSX. While the original version of the car was fairly elemental, though sensationally executed, the new NSX dispenses with tradition in favor of advanced technology.
That means all-wheel drive, a 500-horsepower twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V6, a nine-speed transmission and a trio of electric motors that continually monitor and optimize the NSX's traction. The V6 powers the rear wheels alone, while each front wheel has its own electric motor. This lets the computer carefully accelerate or decelerate each wheel to keep the NSX on course during high-performance driving.
A third electric motor pairs with the V6 engine in common hybrid-electric fashion, adding torque at low speeds and enabling seamless engine starts. The combination of gasoline V6 and electric motors generates 573 hp and 476 lb-ft of torque.
Like the original NSX, the new model relies on steel and aluminum construction and mostly eschews the lighter, stiffer carbon fiber that helps reduce the weight of premium sports cars. Combined with heavy electric motors and batteries, the NSX weighs 3,803 pounds.
Inside the NSX cabin are two comfortable seats mounted low to the floor, making for challenging entry and exit. The car is fitted with plush leather upholstery, but any luxury pretenses are undermined by off-the-shelf Acura switchgear. The steering-wheel-mounted shift paddles, for example, are made with plastic that looks and feels cheap instead of aluminum or magnesium more common to this class of car.
Putting the engine behind the driver contributes to a low cowl and correspondingly excellent forward visibility, which is helpful when piloting the NSX at the speeds it easily achieves.
Magnetically adjustable shock absorbers create a supple ride that is unexpectedly absorbent for a car of this performance caliber. The brakes, which use electronics to connect the pedal to the actual brakes, give the driver the feeling of absolute confidence, with none of the sticky grabbing common to high-performance brakes.
The hybrid electric components contribute to the NSX's outstanding performance numbers, including zero-to-60-mph acceleration in 3.0 seconds and EPA fuel efficiency of 21 mpg city and 22 mpg highway.
That relatively thrifty hybrid-electric drivetrain and all-wheel-drive system conspire to rob the NSX of some of the visceral thrill that leads drivers to buy cars like the NSX, however. There's a nice bit of sound from the V6, especially when switching the NSX to Track mode. The Quiet mode will surely be appreciated by neighbors when it lets the NSX creep out of your garage on electric power alone in the wee hours, but the car's overall character is somewhat muted for a sports car.
When it's time to pick your new sports car, Edmunds has all the details you need on the 2017 Acura NSX and its competitors.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.