Motor Trend's Review of the 2017 Acura NSX
A New Type of Automobile
When hybrid and electric cars first started coming out the automotive world was a bit skeptical about their performance capabilities. We really didn’t know what to expect and a majority of us didn’t want to change our views on what made a performance car awesome.
That changed when Ferrari, Porsche, and McLaren introduced their hybrid hyper-cars. Their hyper-cars were perfect, combining the nostalgic characteristics of a combustion engine with the modern capabilities of an electric engine. We now had cars that could deliver instant power and torque at low rpm thanks to the electric engine, while still having amazing top end power due to the combustion engine. We also got to keep that sweet exhaust note produced from fossil fuels, while improving gas mileage.
Of course the cost of owning a hybrid hyper-car is a bit out of the price range for most consumers, but like most technology it becomes cheaper over-time. In the automotive world that technology will gradually trickle down to more affordable vehicles and more auto companies will use it in their various platforms.
This is good news for us auto-enthusiasts as it allows for more powerful, faster, and simply better cars while still meeting tightening government regulations on emissions. The 2017 Acura NSX is one such car. Although it receive a rather skeptical review from Motor-Trend as seen in the video below; I for one am looking forward to it and other cars like it (like the upcoming Nissan GT-R replacement that supposedly will feature hybrid technology).
Priced at $157,800 without options the 2017 Acura NSX isn’t cheap. With options it tops out at $207,500. That’s Lamborghini and Ferrari territory. Those premium brands also command a bit more respect in the automotive world in comparison to the Acura, even one with the model name of NSX behind it.
I believe the Acura NSX falls into a similar category as the Nissan GT-R. They both are amazing cars, but not well recognized by the mainstream consumer, in other words the non-auto-enthusiasts. It’s going to be a difficult sell to most consumers at that price range. I’d personally prefer to spend a bit more money on a Lamborghini Huracan (MSRP $237,250). I think the 2017 NSX should have been priced closer to the $100K range in line with the Chevrolet Corvette Z06, Nissan GT-R, Dodge Viper, etc. It would have been a better bargain at that price and more affordable to most consumers. Since it’s not, the question will be is whether the NSX gains notoriety like the GT-R has due to the technology offered or will it be just a cult following. First, let’s take a look at the technology just to see what we’re getting for $157K+.
The looks of the 2017 NSX are going to be based upon opinion. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder after all. Although it’s been scorned by reviewers due to it many scoops and deviation from its previous Pininfarina design, I like it. To me a super-car should look fast standing still and I think it does that. I questioned the C7 Corvette Z06’s look when it first came out and many Corvette fans did as well. When I saw one on the road for the first time though that immediately changed because it looked good. It looked good standing still and amazingly sexy when driving down the road. The Nissan GT-R on the other hand is the opposite; its looks don’t excite me at all. The 2017 Acura NSX I believe will be like the Corvette and more and more people will like it as it becomes more mainstream. It fits the part of what a super-car should look like. To me this is a win for Acura.
Performance is what most gear-heads are really curious about when a performance oriented car is considered. The 2017 NSX doesn’t disappoint here. The NSX features a 9-speed dual-clutch automatic with traditional paddle shifters. It’s powered by a rear-mounted twin-turbo V6 delivering 500 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque, along with 3 electric motors delivering 73 hp and 163 lb-ft of torque. Total output is 573 hp and 569 lb-ft of torque. With a 0 to 60 mph time of a manufacturer estimated 3 seconds using launch control and a top speed of 191 mph the NSX is pretty quick.
What makes the NSX unique is the hybrid design of the electric motors. One of the electric motors is in the back providing 50 hp and 109 lb-ft of torque. Two of the motors are up front for each of the wheels, delivering 36 hp and 54 lb-ft of torque each.
The two electric motors in the front allow for torque vectoring. To explain torque vectoring is when you slow-down or speed up one wheel to get the car to move in the direction of the slower traveling wheel. Previous cars used torque vectoring by braking. In the direction you want to turn, the brake is applied, slowing down one wheel and forcing the car to turn because the other wheel is traveling at a higher rate of speed. The NSX uses torque vectoring by having one of the electric motors speed up the wheel it’s attached to. This is a better way of achieving torque vectoring because applying the brakes to go faster isn’t very efficient.
(If you need further explanation of how this works go to the 6-minute mark of Motor Trend’s video. They use a wheelchair which helps clarify the process a bit more.)
However, it doesn’t really work at higher speeds due to amount of power the engines produce. It’s a good idea, but need improvement for racing applications. Most drivers of the NSX will probably never experience this as it’s hard to legally achieve those speeds on public roads.
The electric motor in the back coupled with the engine allow for smooth linear power delivery with no turbo lag. The coupling is so amazing reviewers have described the engine characteristics to be that of a big V8 and not a V6. Hit the gas and the car just goes with plenty of pep and enthusiasm.
The exhaust note however still sucks. It doesn’t sound anything like a performance car should, which seems to be the norm on most hybrid cars and the V6 doesn’t help. It doesn’t sound like a super car. It doesn’t sound like a throaty V8 or high-pitched Ferrari.
Steering on the 2017 NSX is also described as numb. This is because it’s all computer controlled and it has to be. The torque vectoring in the front would cause the driver to lose control of the vehicle if computers weren’t there to assist. The steering wheel could be ripped from the driver’s hand when the front engines kick in with maximum power and torque.
Brakes are also controlled by a computer. In fact the entire brake pedal is a simulation. A computer is telling the brakes how to feel. This is done because the NSX features regenerative braking and traditionally they suck when giving feedback to driver.
The NSX also has adjustable shocks with magnetic dampers. The shocks area pretty sophisticated, able to react multiple times in a bump. This allows for extreme flexibility on handling. You can have comfortable ride where the shocks absorb each bump or a very stiff ride for track use. The shocks remind me a lot of what’s on the BMW HP4 super-bike as they were leaps ahead of the competition.
The good news about all these computers is everything is customizable. Performance on the 2017 Acura NSX can be as nonchalant as a Toyota Prius or as extreme as a Nissan GT-R. It’s completely customizable and can be done with the flip of a switch.
Like the Nissan GT-R, Porsche 911, or Corvette Z06 the Acura NSX was designed as an everyday supercar. This is both good and bad.
The good is it has all-wheel drive and a smooth automatic transmission. It achieves an estimated 19/26 city/highway mpg. It has a mode selector that can start the car up in Quiet, Sport, Sport +, or Track mode. Most of the modes are like you expect, with the Quiet being the most restrictive. It starts the car with a closed exhaust utilizing mostly electric operation, and prevents the engine from going over 4,000 rpm. Perfect for city driving when you’re sitting in traffic.
The bad is it has all-season sport car tires. The tires are designed for use in the rain and snow. That’s not necessarily a good thing when performance is what you’re after in car, especially one that may never see snow. That automatic transmission is also nothing to get excited for. Yes it has paddle shifters and 9-speeds, but it’s nothing like a good ole stick shift, but that seems to be the way of things these days.
I’m not sure most people want an everyday supercar. Maybe those with a stable of supercars do, but most consumers have one amazing car and one everyday vehicle. That one amazing car sits in their garage for nice weather/weekend use only. The other is used to go to work and haul the kids or groceries around. I’d personally prefer a super-car with a stick shift for use on the weekend as it’s simply exciting to drive in comparison to a paddle shifted car. Yes it’s slower, but it’s fun.
Whether the 2017 Acura NSX becomes a success story remains to be seen. Perhaps it will go the route of the Nissan GT-R and be praised for its advanced technology, maybe it will become only a fan favorite, or simply another car in the increasing number of supercars currently available. I’d hate to see it go the route of the dying Dodge Viper as I believe each brand needs a Halo car. I do know we’re better off with the current number of performance autos available to us. There are so many amazing cars these days it’s hard to choose. I guess we’ll find out as the car comes into production later in 2016 as a 2017 model.
Hopefully we get one here at Envy Exotics so we can test it out and have it available for other auto-enthusiasts who simply love cars.
Take a look at Motor Trend’s video on the new NSX and let us know what your opinion is. What do you think of the reviews it’s been getting? Would you purchase one? Would you like to drive one?
Journalist's Reviews of the 2017 Acura NSX
Motor Trend's Review: http://www.motortrend.com/news/2017-acura-nsx-first-drive-review/
Car & Driver's Review: http://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/2017-acura-nsx-first-drive-review