Nearly 30 years ago, Honda’s upscale Acura division pulled the wraps off a car that wedded the reliability of the company’s road vehicles with its racing heritage and brought exotic sports car performance and looks to a new, more accessible price point.
Fast forward to 2017 and the introduction of a second-generation NSX that once again challenges the exotics of the world, but with a price tag more befitting of its high-tech nature and supercar performance.
Just two years in, Acura has made a number of changes to the NSX, most of which it says were conceived to make the car better to drive. But the updates also include a new Thermal Orange paint colour that can be carried through to the calipers in the optional carbon ceramic brake system; the standard steel brakes now come with red calipers as standard; there’s a body colour grille to replace 2018’s silver one; and the car’s carbon fibre exterior elements gain a high-gloss finish.
Inside, blue leather and Alcantara interior trim is a new option. Further, four-way power-adjustable seats, navigation, premium audio, front and rear proximity sensors and aluminum pedals all shift from the options list to become standard kit.
As for changes to the car’s dirty bits, Acura says it has fitted thicker roll bars front and rear, stiffened the rear suspension toe link bushings and boosted the rigidity of the rear hubs. To take advantage of those changes, engineers tweaked the NSX’s hybrid drive system, adaptive suspension dampers, electric power steering and stability control system.
Also new are the NSX’s tires, a bespoke Continental model called the SportContact 6 that Acura says promise better handling on road and track and in dry and wet conditions.
Even with all of those extras, the NSX carries forward last year’s starting price of $189,000.
What hasn’t changed is this supercar’s gas-electric hybrid powertrain. Three electric motors (one at each front wheel and another in back) work with a turbocharged V6 to make 573 hp and 476 lb-ft of torque. A nine-speed, dual-clutch automatic transmission connects the engine and its electric motor to the rear wheels.
The supercar landscape looks a lot different now than it did when the original NSX was a going concern. You can still consider this a competitor for any number of cars from brands like Porsche, Aston Martin, Ferrari and Lamborghini, but a new comer will soon arrive from Volvo’s new Polestar brand: The Polestar 1 promises a similar level of performance from a powertrain that, on paper, is nearly identical to the Acura’s.
Acura still hasn’t told us what the second-gen NSX’s fuel consumption estimates are, for any of the model years it’s been available so far. Maybe they figure -- and rightly so, we think -- buyers are more interested in the car’s claimed 2.7-second 0-100 km/h acceleration time.
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