Driven: Acura NSX
There seems to be one optimal aerodynamic shape for cars these days, so most of them end up looking pretty similar. It’s refreshing, then, to see something really different. The new Acura NSX is unusual, but in an awesome supercar way—like how a Lamborghini shouldn’t even be on the same road as other cars. The NSX has a low hood, sharply raked windshield, small carbon fiber roof, raked rear window covering a mid-mounted twin turbo V-6 engine, short rear deck, and lift-reducing rear spoiler. Its sharp angles and smooth curves give it a striking, exotic look from any perspective.
Everything in the NSX’s design is intended to make it fast and fun to drive. I didn’t notice a cup holder, which is fine; if you’re driving this car, you should be enjoying it, not drinking coffee. Everything an enthusiast could want in a super car, save one, is here. Gorgeous, sexy looks? Check. Unbelievably powerful engine? Check. Superbly balanced handling with all-wheel drive grip and taut, extremely communicative steering? Check. The only thing it lacks is a manual gearbox. A driver’s car like this begs for interaction and control, both of which are maximized with a stick. The NSX does offer paddle shifters if you want to work the gears yourself, but I’ve always considered these kind of like kissing your sister.
Everything else about the NSX driving experience is superb. Gobs of power emanate from the twin turbo V-6 assisted by three electric motors, one in the back and one on each front wheel. Thanks to the mid-engine configuration, handling is sublime and steering is responsive and satisfying. Torque vectoring can shift power forward, rearward and right to left on the rear wheels. Brakes, especially the optional ceramic ones, feel like they could stop time. If you want to really unleash the beast, a launch control feature allows you to rev the engine almost to redline, release the brake and then be catapulted forward like a bullet. The instantaneous torque of the electric motors really helps.
The NSX also can be a refined, reliable car for commuting. It comes with four driving modes that affect the suspension, braking and transmission. Amenities include dual automatic climate control, navigation and a backup camera. A very small trunk is located behind the engine. Though it’s not the easiest car to enter and exit due to its very low stance, it’s worth the effort.
A motoring enthusiast I know bought a new NSX after owning two first-generation models. His first comment about it was, “It’s a blast!” He says there are a lot of differences between the old and new NSX, but the only negative thing is the lack of manual transmission. With the NSX, you get the exotic looks and performance of a supercar, but with Honda reliability (Acura is Honda’s premium division) at a fraction of the price. According to Nicolas Dubrouillet, sales consultant at Frank Leta Acura, “The NSX is the only supercar built in the U.S. With its different driving modes, it can be driven every day and at the track. It’s an eyecatching car, and each one is now made to order.”
technicals: acura nsx
» base: $158,000 including delivery
» As driven with options: $183,000
» 21 city
» 22 highway
» Mid engine; all-wheel drive
» 3.5-liter hybrid V-6 twin turbo engine
» 500 horsepower plus 3 direct drive electric motors for 573 total horsepower
» 9-speed dual clutch automatic transmission
Robert Paster (robertpaster.com) is also an attorney in private practice, concentrating in estate planning and probate.