Think of the Acura NSX as an everyday supercar. It’s got eye-popping good looks, neck-snapping power and curve-hugging handling, yet is surprisingly comfortable on potholed pavement and puts up solid fuel economy numbers.
The original NSX, introduced back in 1990, was Japan’s first true supercar. It ended its run in 2005 and wasn’t revived until 2016. The replacement has a dramatic new formula that pairs three electric motors with a twin-turbo 3.5-liter V-6. The mid-mounted gas engine and a single motor power the rear axle. In addition, the front wheels each have a motor. All told, the powertrain produces 573 horsepower and 476 pound-feet of torque. As electric motors produce maximum torque the moment they’re turned on, you suffer none of the dreaded torque lag of the turbo engine. That means you can hit 60 in a mere 2.7 seconds and race to a top speed of 191 mph.
The unusual powertrain layout creates a rear torque bias that maximizes power to the pavement. The front motors provide the grip of all-wheel drive and allow the NSX to “torque vector.” In a corner, the outer wheels spin ever so slightly faster, helping push you into the turn. Handling is crisp and precise, especially in sport mode, which also speeds up shifts and tightens up the
electronically controlled suspension.
A conventional hybrid, the NSX needn’t be plugged in, but EV mode can only run short distances before the gas motor must fire up again. Nonetheless, when driven serenely, it offers unexpected fuel economy numbers: 22 mpg on the highway, 21 in the city.
Visually, the NSX is a real head-turner, with its low, sleek profile, distinctive six-bulb LED headlamps and big air scoops just behind the doors. Inside, the NSX is comfy, if a bit claustrophobic. The cockpit layout ensures that all gauges and controls are easy to spot. The power seating is firm, with plenty of bolstering to hold driver and passenger firmly in place during even the most aggressive maneuvers.
Made largely by hand at a special performance center that parent Honda has set up near Columbus, Ohio, the NSX has a hefty MSRP, starting at $159,495. The good news is that there are few options beyond a special palette of paint colors. No-fade carbon-ceramic brakes will add another $9,000, but are worth every penny when you steer this screamer onto the track.