I was born in the 1990s, which means I’m probably younger than some of you. That also means that the Acura NSX was one of my ultimate hero cars as a kid, alongside cars like the Supra and RX-7. It was a car that did something in my young psyche that no car had ever done before. It just…worked.
So when Acura debuted the new NSX concept in 2012, I was enthralled from the beginning. My hero was back to save the automotive world from blandness and obscurity.
Here’s the thing, though—there are some people being very critical of the new NSX, for reasons I don’t really understand. Yes, it’s going to be a hybrid. No, it won’t have a manual transmission. Welcome to the future, sorry you’re disappointed. Not to mention no one has even had a chance to drive the damn thing yet.
But the one that really grinds my gears, is the argument that the Acura NSX won’t be a good halo car. It will a perfect halo car, and here’s why.
Cars like the NSX arrive every few years in order to rejuvenate a brand. We saw it with the Audi R8, we’re seeing it with the Jaguar F-Type, and we’re about to see it again with the new NSX. But the general consensus is, that in order for the NSX to be successful, it needs to have a solid mainstream lineup behind it, or at least one solid mainstream car. That’s only partly true.
Between 2002 and 2005 when the NSX was new and on sale, Acura—as a whole—sold almost 210,000 cars in a single year (2005). If you remember the Acura lineup in the early 2000s, that’s almost unbelievable. The only shimmer of hope being the TSX. But somehow, just having the NSX as a calling card worked, and consumers flocked.
Today, Acura is managing to move over 25,000 TLX sedans already this year (according to GoodCarBadCar.net), which is respectable. The car itself is good looking, leaps and bounds above where Acura used to be in terms of luxury, and from what I’ve heard, it’s not that bad of a drive either.
It’s definitely not the best option in the segment, granted, but Acura is betting on the TLX to move the brand in the right direction on the back of the NSX. Acura’s new faux sporty marketing scheme will help with that too.
I think Acura Executive VP Erik Berkman said it best when he said, “Moving forward, you can expect premium products that place even greater emphasis on dynamic design, premium content, and exhilarating performance.” It may not be 100% true, but the NSX has been the centerpiece for this new direction from the day it was imagined, and other cars will follow suit.
We can probably all agree that Acura’s lineup isn’t perfect, but it’s not terrible; definitely not as bad as it was in the early 2000s. The NSX is going to be the car to turn it all around, and the TLX will go home with a few thousand naive buyers while Acura continues to work out the kinks going forward.
Don’t underestimate the power of the NSX, people.