2017 Acura NSX
If a 3868-pound, all-wheel-drive hybrid strikes you as a curious sequel to theoriginal bantamweight NSX, you’re not alone. As vehicle-performance lead engineer Jason Widmer tells it, the initial prospect of a gas-electric NSX caused as much hand-wringing within Honda’s hallways as raised eyebrows outside them. In the early days of the new car, NSX mules consistently laid down faster laps without the battery-electric assist system that was supposed to make the thing quicker.
That was more than five years ago, and the NSX’s hybrid-electric system is now a fully developed piece of go-faster kit. The car rolling out of Marysville, Ohio, seamlessly combines two turbochargers, three electric motors, four driven wheels, six cylinders, and nine forward gears to produce bona fide supercar performance. That won’t make it any less controversial; there are an infinite number of ideas as to what a resurrected NSX should have been. The concept that won out is a rolling test bed for the future of performance technology. “You will not find a car in this category in 10 years that won’t have electrification. I’m confident on that,” Widmer says.
So are we. The NSX isn’t the first of its kind to mesh electrons and hydrocarbons in the pursuit of speed, but give Acura credit for so rapidly democratizing the technology. Even with a starting price of $157,800, the NSX is hard evidence of the kind of trickle-down economics that actually works. Sacrificing a fraction of the performance and the pure-electric driving capability of the 2015 Porsche 918 Spyder netted Acura a $700,000 price cut for its mid-engined hero.
Widmer may have been talking about McLarens, Lamborghinis, and Ferraris when he made his 10-year prediction, but the electrification of performance won’t stop at supercars. Defying physics, the electrons are poised to flow into iconic performance cars where there’s even more resistance. Hybridized 911s and BMW M3s are an eventuality, not just a possibility. This NSX is a preview of things to come. Read more...