Driving the 2017 Acura NSX Supercar on Track
To hear the new supercar’s global development leader Ted Klaus describe the 2017 Acura NSX is akin to listening to an engineering philosopher wax poetic about a hallowed mechanical creation.
As Klaus describes it, the burden of reimagining the legendary NSX nameplate was heavy. But upon being tasked with masterminding one of the most anticipated automotive reissues of the decade, Klaus says Shigeru Uehara, the chief engineer behind the original NSX, conveyed clear priorities. “Uehara-san asked us to appreciate what NSX stands for through two things: being open-minded toward doing things for the emotional benefit of the driver—not being hyperrational—and to being mindful of how to evolve the NSX’s technologies into the future, whether through its electrical architecture or its performance capabilities.”
With a thoughtful reverence toward the original, groundbreaking NSX and an eye toward the future, Acura’s team in Marysville, Ohio, produced a 573 hp technological tour de force that combines a twin-turbocharged internal combustion V-6 with three electric motors. The drivetrain with a 9-speed, dual-clutch transmission requires 10 heat exchangers for cooling and a myriad of computers to ensure all the systems work cohesively.
All that hardware and onboard artificial intelligence begs the question: How does all of this technology affect the driving experience? Slipping inside the NSX’s cocoon-like cabin and pressing the engine-start button initiates an experience that is remarkably seamless, polished, and intuitive. Unlike exotic cars intent on communicating every last nuance of the road to the driver, the NSX delivered a surprisingly refined ride at the Sonoma Raceway. Although it can accelerate to 60 mph more quickly than a Porsche 911 Turbo, the NSX feels fleet and secure, never harried nor violent, with its carbon-ceramic brakes providing strong stops. And despite its cornering prowess, the steering wheel does not convey surface irregularities with any remote sensations of intrusion or perturbation. The experience becomes even more impressive on the road, where the NSX’s ability to corner hard, brake, and accelerate comes across as effortless and seemingly infinite.
Sophisticated, modern, and surprisingly graceful, the NSX (with an estimated starting price of $150,000) may not satisfy those seeking an audaciously vibrant ride, but it certainly matches the original car’s spirit while infusing generous heaps of technology, innovation, and good old-fashioned muscle. (nsx.acura.com)