by James Allen
It's been a long time coming, but the Acura NSX is a thoroughly impressive supercar that was well worth the wait.
As a technical showcase, the Acura NSX is a mightily accomplished vehicle, with its gasoline-electric hybrid setup being a remarkable piece of automotive engineering. However, what really impresses is that there's more to the Acura NSX than its advanced powertrain. On top of being comfortable and usable on a day-to-day basis, the Acura NSX is exciting and engaging to drive, with a handling setup that's currently unique on a supercar at this price point. Admittedly, the Acura NSX is a rather expensive vehicle, and especially when you consider the performance and interior material quality of less expensive rivals. However, if you're a tech-savvy supercar buyer or want to own a very special supercar that's destined for future classic status, the Acura NSX should be on your radar.
3.5-liter Twin-Turbo V6 Hybrid
The Acura NSX's cabin is tailored to making the driver feel safe and comfortable.
The Acura NSX's cabin is tailored to making the driver feel safe and comfortable. Overall, the layout is very driver-focused and the sports seats have high bolsters to keep you properly in place during cornering. The steering wheel is also chunky and has lots of adjustment. However, despite the Acura NSX's high price tag, the cabin does feature some interior plastics that don't feel like they belong on a car as expensive as this.
Sadly, interior space doesn't fare amazingly well here.
The center console is home to a high resolution 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system. It's easy enough to control and navigate, but offers enough depth for buyers looking to fine tune things. Sadly, interior space doesn't fare amazingly well here. That said the Acura NSX does have storage bins behind the seats, and a set of golf clubs can just about fit into the 4.4 cubic feet trunk. Plus, there's admirable amounts of head and leg room on offer for the driver and passenger.
The steering is very responsive regardless of which mode you put it in.
As expected from a high-tech supercar, the Acura NSX provides an amazing driving experience. The steering is very responsive regardless of which mode you put it in, and the standard steel disc brakes have lots of initial bite and offer lots of stopping power. Buyers who want even more prompt deceleration or will be taking their Acura NSX on the track regularly can specify even more powerful carbon ceramic disc brakes as an optional extra.
The Acura NSX is still very comfortable by supercar standards, and can be supple enough to be used as a day-to-day car.
The Acura NSX's body control is also very good, with the adjustable setup doing an admirable job on its tautest and sportiest setting of controlling lean during cornering and body motion over bumpier sections of road. Sadly, the ride quality doesn't fare as well (even in its softest setting, there's a slight amount of fidgeting when driving on rough road surfaces), but the Acura NSX is still very comfortable by supercar standards, and can be supple enough to be used as a day-to-day car. Likewise, whilst the wide tires do generate a bit of tire roar, overall noise insulation is again quite good in comparison with its rivals. Visibility is also rather impressive by mid-engined supercar standards, with the large windows being a particular highlight. Only the blind spots caused by thick pillars hinder the driver's ability to see out of the Acura NSX.
The Acura NSX has an array of electric motors to complement the 3.5-liter turbocharged six-cylinder gasoline engine.
Unlike most supercars, the Acura NSX has an array of electric motors to complement the 3.5-liter turbocharged six-cylinder gasoline engine. In total, this system produces a very impressive 573-hp and 476 lb-ft of torque, which is enough for the Acura NSX to pull in some incredible performance statistics. 0-60mph can be dealt with the just 2.7 seconds, and Acura claims a top speed of 191mph. The figures only tell part of the story, however. Courtesy of the electric motors and turbocharged gasoline engine, a lot of the aforementioned torque figure is available low down in the rev range, so there's plenty of pulling power to call upon when overtaking on the highway, and the standard-fit all-wheel drive system means there's plenty of traction to call upon in slipperier conditions. Whilst the engine also emits an appropriately raucous exhaust note at higher revs, the 3.5-liter six-cylinder is also surprisingly docile for such a powerful unit at cruising speeds in the top gear. For sure, it isn't whisper quiet, but the powerplant is serene enough to not grate on the ears on longer journeys.
Fuel economy, though, is very impressive by segment standards.
Fitted to every Acura NSX is a nine-speed automatic transmission that fits the character of the engine rather well. With so many ratios to choose from, the engine is always in its optimum power and torque bands, and the transmission is responsive to inputs when you're selecting gears with the paddles behind the steering wheel. The transmission also does a good job at selecting the most appropriate gear when left in fully automatic mode. However, in comparison with similar transmissions in some rival cars, the Acura NSX's admittedly isn't quite as smooth or as seamless as the best offerings in this class. Fuel economy, though, is very impressive by segment standards. With claims of 21mpg in the city and 22mpg on the highway, the Acura NSX is by far the most efficient supercar at this price point. However, whilst the car can be driven on electric power alone, Acura hasn't quoted an official range, so the electric range of the Acura NSX will likely be too short to be of any real use.
Inside the Acura NSX the power sports seats are the first part of the safety, the high bolsters will keep occupants where they're meant to be during hard cornering. If things do go wrong, there is an array of front, side and curtain airbags.
There's also traction control, hill start assist. We'll never know how safe the Acura NSX is, however, as vehicles as rare as this never undergo official crash tests.
There are areas where the Acura NSX does lag behind its chief competitors. Overall, the interior isn't quite where it should be in terms of intuitiveness and trim material quality, and there are other supercars on sale today that are substantially faster than the Acura on top of being noticeably cheaper. However, that doesn't mean the Acura NSX should be discredited. By most objective measures, it's a very capable machine that's also an incredibly advanced piece of kit and very special to drive. As a result, whilst it isn't the outright greatest car in its class, we do still reckon you should consider the Acura NSX – and especially if you're after a quirkier and extremely innovative mid-engined supercar.