2017 Acura NSX
by John Davis
The original Acura NSX made quite an impression on car enthusiasts as it brought a uniquely Japanese perspective to the supercar wars. Thus, the arrival of an all-new 2017 NSX is a major event. Is it more of the same, or has Acura taken a different direction?
In order to gain a proper perspective on the new car, a bit of history is called for. When the Acura New Sport scar experimental arrived 25-years ago, it was more than just an oriental Ferrari knockoff. It was a high-tech, modern take on the European supercar theme with a mid-mounted VTEC V6 in an aluminum-bodied chassis. But it also delivered Honda-level refinement with daily-driver comfort, at a pricing level that no traditional exotic could touch.
The 2017 NSX follows much the same formula, although now that still mid-mounted engine has been rotated from transverse to longitudinal orientation. The 1991 NSX was quite a striking car for its day, and the new one looks even more awesome, but not in any extreme way. It is a highly functional design that manages airflow for cooling electric and internal combustion parts, with vents and scoops strategically placed all around.
Another carryover, at least in spirit, is the interior. It is still cozy and ultra-modern. The low riding cockpit encloses great seats, with all-around outward visibility that puts most other cars to shame.
As for the go-fast hardware, Acura took a currently popular supercar route; a hybrid all-wheel-drive system that uses the now twin-turbocharged V6 to power the rear wheels, and 2-electric motors forward for powering the fronts. Plus, an additional e-motor mated to the engine. It’s similar to the RLX Sport Hybrid, but in reverse.
The V6 now displaces 3.5-liters, and uses that electric assistance mostly at launch to bridge the gap of turbo-lag until its twin boosters spin up to full force, with a total drivetrain output of 573-horsepower. Its 9-speed DCT transmission is Honda’s own design. Suspension is supercar-grade as well with aluminum double wishbones in front, multi-links in the rear, with magnetic coil-over shocks all around. Selectable Drive modes adapt both the driving experience and powertrain performance to suit your style, as well as road or race track conditions. As for track work, two different track tire packages are offered as options.
Our initial track outing proved the NSX went about track work with the quiet proficiency you expect from a Honda product. It doesn’t so much hammer around corners as think its way through them. Even in straight line acceleration, it takes off directly yet smoothly with the easiest to use Launch Control system we’ve yet seen. As for stopping, we highly recommend the optional carbon-ceramic brake rotors.
For our exclusive test of the now American made 2017 Acura NSX, be sure to catch MotorWeek episode #3532 that begins airing on April 15, 2016. For a complete listing of the public television stations that broadcast MotorWeek, go to motorweek.org and click the “About The Show” tab at the top. MotorWeek is also seen Tuesday evenings on the Velocity cable network.
On the global roadmap of supercars, the 2017 Acura NSX clearly resides at the intersection of performance and technology. Moreover, it stays 100% true to its heritage. Even though six-figure pricing may not make it the screaming bargain it once was, and limited numbers will make it harder to acquire, we judge that this new Acura supercar was clearly worth the wait. As for car enthusiast; if you liked the NSX before, you’ll love it now!