Acura is the luxury vehicle marque of Japanese automaker Honda. It was launched in the USA on March 27, 1986, marketing luxury, performance, and high-performance vehicles. In the late 1980s, the success of Acura’s flagship car, the Legend, inspired Toyota and Nissan to launch their own luxury brands, Lexus and Infiniti.
In 1990, offering a highly reliable and practical alternative to exotic European sports cars, Honda introduced the NSX with a mid-engine, VTEC variable valve timing system to the North American market. NSX stood for "New Sportscar Unknown world," with the X being a reference to the mathematical symbol X, which stands for an unknown variable. It benefited from advanced aerodynamics and styling inspired by an F-16 fighter jet cockpit. It was also the world's first mass-produced car to feature an all-aluminium body.
It was presented for sale in 1990, then underwent a performance upgrade in 1997, getting a larger 3.2 L V6 engine. It received a facelift in 2002 before being discontinued in 2005.
Honda/Acura revived it 11 years later, presenting a completely redesigned NSX in 2016. The new NSX is a hybrid sports car powered by 3.5 L twin-turbo V6 engine and three electric motors, two of which form part of the "SH-AWD" AWD drivetrain, providing a Maximum Total System Power of 573hp. The transmission is a 9-speed dual-clutch semi-automatic. Its body utilizes a space frame design, which is made from aluminium, ultra-high strength steel, and other rigid and lightweight materials, some of which are the world's first applications.
With a starting MSRP of $159,495, not many are sold. From 2016 through June of 2019, total US sales figures are 1,171 units. And yet, for those with the means, the NSX represents a touchstone of precision crafted performance and innovation, built with world-first technologies and unique manufacturing processes. The NSX is a pinnacle sports car – a “super hybrid” – equally at home on open highways and on the race track, unabashedly beautiful and meticulously engineered. Acura refers to its supercar as the “New Sports eXperience that can only be called NSX.”
With an EPA-estimated MPG of 21/22/21 city/highway/combined, this is not a hybrid that will save you money. The opposite is true: you’ll spend $4,250 MORE in fuel costs over 5 years compared to driving an average new fossil fuel car! But for consumers who can afford owning one, fuel economy is simply not the point.
Performance is what the NSX Hybrid is all about, and this is often what appeals to its owners, many being performance aficionados.
The racecar’s numbers speak for themselves:
• Zero to 60 mph: 3.1 sec
• Zero to 100 mph: 7.0 sec
• Standing ¼-mile: 11.2 sec
• Top speed: 191 mph
The NSX body has been sculpted for performance. As Honda/Acura says: “Every line serves a purpose, including 10 functional intakes that provide air cooling as well as aerodynamic performance. Engineered seating and steering are complimented by minimalist materials, creating a cockpit that balances secure, ergonomic support and freedom of movement. Exclusive NSX Interwoven wheels and optional ceramic brakes deliver high performance with remarkably low unsprung mass.”
Each car is custom-built; future owners place their order and wait for their car to arrive. Acura offers a truly unique, exclusive feature, unavailable from any other carmaker; via the NSX INSIDER EXPERIENCE, Acura will grant you the in-person opportunity to follow your NSX through its final assembly and testing stages at the Performance Manufacturing Center in Marysville, Ohio. A personal host takes you behind-the-scenes in the factory birthplace of your NSX.
Says Car and Driver reviewer Dave Vanderwerp: “The 2019 Acura NSX Remains Polite to a Fault. A far more grippy base tire and blinding orange paint highlight the modest 2019 updates. The most significant mechanical change is a new standard Continental SportContact 6 tire that replaces the ContiSportContact 5P in the same 245/35ZR-19 front and 305/30ZR-20 rear sizes. It's the same tire that helped the Civic Type R deliver a new front-drive record at this year's Lightning Lap competition and a heady 1.02 g's on the skidpad. The other chassis changes—stiffer anti-roll bars front and rear, and stiffer rear toe-link bushings—were done to match the new tire.”
“There are a few cosmetic tweaks, too, such as a new blinding orange color, available orange-painted calipers for the $9900 carbon-ceramic brakes, and a switch to body color around the top edge of the grille. That last change sounds small, but it really works to further de-beak the front end, particularly in the darker colors. Inside, there's now a red full-leather option, as well as a blue leather-and-suede combo.”
NSX Interior convenience features are extensive. They include:
Automatic Air Conditioning with air filtration system, Push Button Start, Active Sound Control (ASC), Power Windows with Auto-Up/Down, Power Door Locks, Cruise Control, a Tilt and Telescopic Steering Column (manual), Center Console Storage, a Multi-functional storage system, Lockable Glove Compartment, a 12-Volt Power Outlet, a Power Remote Fuel Filler Door Release, a Rear Engine Compartment Window Defroster w/ Timer, a Cargo Area Light, Cargo Area Tie-Down Anchors (4 Total), Illuminated Steering Wheel-Mounted Controls, Cruise / Audio / Phone / Display Audio / MID info, Dual-Zone Automatic Climate Control System with Humidity, Control and Air Filtration, HomeLink Remote System, a Frameless Automatic-Dimming Rearview Mirror, a Leather-Wrapped Steering Wheel, LED Interior Ambient Lighting, a Leather-Trimmed Instrument Panel, Leather-Trimmed Door Panels, an Aluminum Footrest and Sport Pedals, and Alcantara Roof Lining.
The Audio and Technology System includes everything any driver ever needs: a 7-Inch Display Audio with High-Resolution WVGA (800x480) Electrostatic Touch-Screen and Customizable Feature Settings, an ELS Studio Premium Audio System: with 9 speakers, including subwoofer, Bluetooth HandsFreeLink, Bluetooth Streaming Audio, an MP3/Auxiliary Input Jack, a USB Audio Interface, 2 USB ports in car (In glove box) 1.0 Amp charge capability & USB connection without Apple CarPlay & Android Auto connectivity (In console box) 1.5 Amp charge capability & USB connection with Apple CarPlay & Android Auto connectivity, AcuraLink Connected Services, SMS Text Message Function, SiriusXM Radio, Pandora Compatibility, Acura Satellite-Linked Navigation System with Voice Recognition and Honda HD Digital Traffic, HD Radio, Siri Eyes Free, Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay.
Car and Driver reviewer Dave Vanderwerp: “This hybrid setup feels like the way of the supercar future that others are set to follow. And it's endlessly impressive just how seamlessly the engineers have managed to integrate three electric motors, a twin-turbo V-6, and a nine-speed dual-clutch into this mid-engine architecture. In fact, listening to the team articulate its goals, they have very exactly rendered the car they intended to build. It's easy to live with, and ultra-friendly and approachable to drive. But it remains more technically and intellectually stimulating than it is emotionally.”
First written in August 2019
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