The new-generation Acura NSX took its sweet time arriving on the market.
We first saw a concept of a new NSX in 2013, but it took Acura four years to develop a production version. By then, many enthusiasts and potential buyers had grown skeptical and a little annoyed. The Acura NSX is a spectacular car from every standpoint, but it’s not nearly as respected as it should be.
Dealers couldn’t help themselves from buying up every single NSX allotment they received, and then tacking on an extra $25k to the already hefty sticker price. The net result is that two years after the NSX first arrived on the market, more of those cars are still available than there should be. Moreover, the new NSX is far from the investment the first generation was. A quick look around the web tells us that a new-gen NSX can be had for as low as $150,000 with less than 5,000 kilometres. That shouldn’t happen after just a few years with a supercar.
So, what’s the problem? Well, it took too long to bring it to market, that’s one. The quality of the competition is another with cars like the Porsche 911 Turbo, Audi R8 and Mercedes-AMG GT all priced equal or less than the Acura NSX. The brand’s image is a third reason. A construction worker eyeing the NSX in downtown Montreal was stunned by the beauty of the car… Until he made his way to the front and noticed the logo.
“Never mind, it’s just an Acura”. No kidding.
Notice how I haven’t yet mentioned anything tangible about the Acura NSX’ lack of popularity. That’s because from a performance, driving or quality standpoint, I miss everything about the car. It’s one of the most revealing and noteworthy test drives of the year, to be honest.
Yes, Acura took way too long to bring the NSX to the market, but it’s here now. Moving on. Sure, you can get a 911 Turbo, an R8 or an AMG GT for the same price, but none of those cars attract the same level of attention as the NSX. More importantly, they feel decidedly pedestrian and “normal” compared to the Acura. Not from a performance standpoint, just in terms of feeling.
The NSX feels like a supercar, like a McLaren 720S or a Ferrari 488. It feels exclusive, special, and completely different from anything else on the road. Lastly, Acura is no Porsche, Mercedes-Benz or McLaren. Buying a supercar from a brand that also sells a sedan for under $30,000 can be a problem for some. On the other hand, Acura has proven its reliability time and time again, and my instinct tells me Acura NSX buyers haven’t had too many problems with their new ride since they bought it.
The other knock on the NSX is that it is over-engineered. The first-generation was a pure driving machine that gave you absolute control over everything, and felt like an extension of your hands, feet, and mind. The new NSX is a spaceship with three electric motors paired to a 3.5-litre V6 for a total output of 573 horsepower and 476 pound-feet of torque. This unique powertrain works very efficiently in every regard.
There’s an odd hesitation present for a split second when you roll on the accelerator from a standstill, but it’s quickly forgotten as you jet to 100 km/h in just 3.6 seconds. Steering definitely feels electronic, but it’s sharp and quick regardless. You sit low in the NSX and although you feel like there’s a lot of tech around you, you start to feel like you’re getting closer to the feel of the original NSX.
The car shrinks as speed increases, and the overall demeanor is quite predictable. In a good way, the NSX is not an intimidating supercar. The sound, however, is a little sad. You can’t expect much in that department from a V6 and the Acura NSX doesn’t have any magic tricks up its sleeve. It sounds ok, but there’s very little excitement there.
I didn’t get the chance to hit the track, but I did quite a bit of city and highway driving where I immediately noticed the comfort level of the new NSX. Daily driving it wouldn’t be a problem if you don’t need a trunk (the forward compartment can only hold 110 litres) and you don’t have any steep inclines to cross.
There’s no front-end lift in the NSX which can be a problem in a car like this. On the flip side, the interior is as easy to use as an Acura TLX and you can see quality everywhere. It’s more comfortable and refined than either the R8 or Mercedes-AMG GT, and visibility is better as well. Driving the NSX around town isn’t the white-knuckle experience it is in other supercars.
I knew that the Acura NSX would feel… complicated. I knew I wouldn’t find the authentic performance of the first-generation NSX. That proved to be true, but I did discover a car that handles and performs like a true supercar, nevertheless. I also found one of the most comfortable vehicles of its kind available today, and a car that deserves a lot more respect than it’s gotten so far.