The term "daily driver supercar" is grossly overused, but not in this case.
The term "daily driver supercar" gets thrown about a lot among enthusiasts and journalists alike. The most popular cars that get mentioned under that banner are the Audi R8 and the Nissan GT-R. But we would question the practicality of daily driving a 5.2-liter V10 powered car, and claims that the GT-R is a supercar are dubious at best. The GT-R is a sports car if you don't mind a sports car having a rear seat; otherwise, it's an incredibly fast traditional grand touring coupe. The latest contender is the new mid-engine Corvette, and its classification as a supercar is a whole discussion in itself that will likely take place in the comments section below.
But the Acura NSX is a legitimate supercar. It's production numbers make it a rare sight on the road, it's mid-engined, it's crazy fast, and it holds its own with other supercars on the track. It's also a genuine candidate as a daily driver, as we found out after a recent week behind the wheel. These are the reasons why we consider it as such.
If you're going to drive a supercar daily, then stopping to refuel a couple of times a week and spending a fortune on gas is not convenient. The Acura NSX's twin-turbocharged, 3.5-liter V6 engine and three electric motors combine to deliver a total output of 573 horsepower and 476 lb-ft of torque. It'll hit 0-60 mph in 2.7 seconds, 100 mph in seven seconds, and run the quarter-mile in 11.2 seconds. That makes the NSX quicker than the Audi R8 V10 and V10 Performance, and the R8 manages 13/20/16 mpg city/highway/combined if you resist putting the power down. Contrarily, the NSX will net you 21/22/21 mpg, respectively, which is a lot more acceptable in a daily driver and 2 mpg better than a Mustang GT.
There are realities often overlooked when people dream of daily driving a supercar. On the positive side, you get a lot of attention. On the negative side, you get a lot of attention. Even just filling up with gas can become a chore with people asking the same questions time after time. We've even known exotic car owners being asked by a stranger to fill their gas tank because they assume they are that rich. Then there are people either trying to race you all the time or trying to goad you into showing off because they want to see and hear the car accelerate.
The Acura NSX's sleek but subtle styling doesn't hide the fact it's a performance car, but it's neither ostentatious nor obnoxious. It also has an Acura badge, which impresses people less than, say, a Ferrari or Lamborghini badge. You're not going to stealth your way to and from work or to the coffee shop, but the attention the NSX gets is a lot more manageable.
We recently saw a couple of reviews call the Lotus Evora GT a daily driver supercar, which is laughable. The Evora GT is an incredible car in so many ways, a daily driver it is not. The suspension is designed to be just about tolerable for getting to either a track or an interesting piece of road, then going fast. Acura, on the other hand, doesn't want to beat the driver up with the NSX. It's still stunning in the corners, but when you dial it back to go into town or take a bit of a road trip, the NSX is no harder on its occupants than a modern Honda Accord. Few supercars can boast this level of comfort, save for, perhaps, Ferraris with their 'bumpy road' damping settings.
One of the criticisms that can be leveled fairly at the NSX is the interior in terms of luxury. For a car costing upwards of $150,000, some people will want more style and sumptuous materials. However, it is still a nice place to be for long journeys, and the cabin is large enough not to feel cramped in. Semi-aniline leather sport seats with Alcantara and power adjustment are standard equipment, and they're comfortable and supportive. With a passenger onboard, there's still elbow room to spare, and tall people aren't going to feel like they're cramming themselves in.
That doesn't mean it's as practical as your average coupe, though. Storage space is minimal, and the cupholders clip on to the center tunnel when they're not stored in the glove compartment. However, it's a much airier cabin than you would typically expect from a low-slung supercar. The slim roof pillars are also a revelation, making the NSX almost devoid of blind spots, save for the one created by a mid-mounted engine.
The NSX isn't a loud car, but its performance is explosive. It's breathtakingly quick of the line, has an astounding amount of mid-corner grip to offer, and spits itself out the other side with considerable velocity. It's capable of savaging a back road in a way the average sports car can only dream of, and that's where the NSX earns its supercar stripes. It's what you expect of a highly-strung supercar. What's not expected is how the NSX softens up as you hit traffic, and how stress-free and easy it is to pilot around town. Drop it into the quiet drive mode, and it becomes smoother and more docile than a supercar has the right to be. It's still a joy to drive, but everything, including the steering, which becomes as light and as civilized as driving a Honda Accord. The difference is that when you put your foot down again, not much will keep up with you.
Supercars are, by nature, highly strung and complicated machines. The original NSX bucked the trend of needing short maintenance intervals and many billable hours to deal with complexity when a problem develops. The new NSX is not so simple, though. The hybrid system alone adds a lot of complexity, but so far, it hasn't worked against the current generation. Compared to competitors, it's far easier to service than even more complex supercars from Ferrari, Lamborghini, and McLaren. Consumables like brake components and tires are proportionally more expensive than a typical sports car, but it does come with Acura's reputation for reliability.