Ever since the new NSX debuted in concept form, it has been one of the most highly anticipated sports cars among enthusiasts. Fortunately, Acura retained much of the styling found on the concept that debuted in 2012 at the Detroit Auto Show. The first production version was shown three years later at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show and although production has been delayed, it will arrive as a 2017 model year next spring.
The original NSX made its debut 25 years ago sporting a mid-mounted transverse V6 engine and was considered Japan’s version of an exotic to battle against the likes of Ferrari and Lamborghini. Standing for New Sports eXperience, the 2017 Acura NSX has a lot to prove, as it has big shoes to fill. Here’s what you need to know about it:
1. It Has a Twin-Turbo Hybrid Powertrain
Everyone has been waiting to hear about the 2017 Acura NSX’s power output. The 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 engine will provide 500 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque, while each of the two front electric motors will have 36 hp and 54 lb-ft of torque apiece. In the rear, the third electric motor will generate 47 hp and 109 lb-ft of torque, with total system output quoted at 573 hp. That means it will be good for a zero-to-60-mph time of around three seconds, although the Japanese automaker hasn’t released a final time yet.
2. It Uses an Aluminum-Intensive Space Frame
At the core of the 2017 Acura NSX is an aluminum-intensive space frame that utilizes extruded and cast parts to provide exceptional rigidity and light weight. According to Acura, the new NSX’s curb weight is 3,803 pounds without options, and it boasts a 42-percent front, 58-percent rear weight distribution. The space frame’s torsional rigidity surpasses anything in its class and even the front floor panels are constructed from a carbon fiber core. All of the aluminum space frame components are joined by Robotic Metal Inert Gas (MIG) welding, the first time it has been applied in a mass-produced automobile on this scale.
3. It has a ‘Human Support Cockpit,’ Not Just an ‘Interior’
Acura calls the interior a “Human Support Cockpit” that features a minimalistic and contemporary design. Much attention was paid to the steering wheel for the human-centric, ergonomically enhanced cockpit so the driver has maximum grip, thanks to a more ergonomic shape with increased surface contact for the hands. The paddle shifters were also optimally placed so they’re easy to operate, while forward visibility has been maximized through specially designed A-pillars made of ultra-high-strength steel. Compared to the original NSX, the new pillars are actually a full inch thinner.
4. Sport Hybrid Super Handling All-Wheel Drive
To give the 2017 Acura NSX on-rails cornering, it incorporates the Japanese automaker’s Sport Hybrid Super Handling All-Wheel Drive technology. The front wheels are mechanically independent from the rear power unit components with two electric motors up front. With the technology, the NSX has zero-delay performance in virtually any driving scenario. For example, when the vehicle is accelerating, the system provides instant torque through all three of its electric motors, maximized at all four tires. When a driver is trail-braking into a corner, the system will use the front twin motor unit (TMU) for enhanced deceleration.
5. It has the Lowest Center of Gravity in its Class
Since the new NSX is a mass produced vehicle aimed to be driven on the streets, it maintains ground clearance similar to the highest volume sports cars and offers enough head room to accommodate a 95th percentile American male. Despite all that, the new NSX has the lowest center of gravity among its core competitors. Helping contribute to that is the engine’s wide V-angle of 75 degrees, a dry sump lubrication system and an optimally designed and placed fuel tank. To find the ideal weight distribution, center of gravity, shape and placement of the fuel tank, Acura used twin tanks composed of a specialized resin material that gave the automaker tremendous flexibility to shape the fuel tanks optimally. Those two tanks are centrally located between the engine and the Intelligent Power Unit (IPU).
6. It has Standard Brembo Brakes, 19-inch Wheels
Along with the advanced front and rear suspension with Magnetic Ride dampers, the 2017 Acura NSX will come standard with six-piston Brembo monoblock calipers in the front with two-piece floating iron disks with an aluminum center measuring 14.5 inches in diameter. The rear will be outfitted with Brembo four-piston calipers along with 14.2-inch diameter rotors. Available as an option are carbon ceramic discs with an aluminum center measuring 15 inches in the front and 14.2 inches in the rear. Standard tire size in the front is 245/35/19, while the rear gets much wider and larger 305/30/20 units.
7. There is 3.9 Cubic Feet of Cargo Volume
Does anyone shopping for a 2017 Acura NSX really expect to have cargo space? You’d be surprised. The new model will have 3.9 cubic feet behind the rear engine compartment. That is equivalent to a standard top-loading washer or your popular compact refrigerator. Sure, it’s not a whole lot, but the casual traveling businessperson can easily fit a carry-on back there or a set of golf clubs.
8. It has Revolutionary Styling
It’s hard to believe it has been 25 years since the Acura NSX first debuted. The first-generation NSX entered production as a 1990 model year and remained mostly unchanged until it received a facelift in 2002. That’s when Acura decided to get rid of the signature pop-up headlights for fixed xenon HID units, a change that not everyone agreed with. With the second-generation model, Acura has truly changed things up, which should be expected for a model that has been missing for more than a decade. Compared to the previous model, the new NSX is truly revolutionary in the styling department, although you can see how the previous generations helped inspire the new model. The look is unmistakably NSX, but the design is still a completely modernized version of an icon.
9. It Has a “Quiet” Mode
In total, the 2017 Acura NSX has four selectable driving modes: Quiet, Sport, Sport+ and Track. This is a sports car in the truest form, but you have to be impressed that Acura compromised by offering a more realistic Quiet Mode. When selected, it prioritizes electric-only driving at lower speeds, helping maximize energy efficiency and minimizing cabin sound. By using the TMU to launch from a standstill, the NSX can still use the engine when power is needed, but the motor will operate more quietly and has a maximum engine speed of 4,000 rpm. To help quiet it even more, the Active Exhaust and Intake Sound Control valves are closed when the car is in Quiet Mode.
10. It’s Stunning
We likely don’t have to tell you this, but the 2017 Acura NSX is simply stunning to look at. Ever since it was introduced to the world more than three years ago, it has garnered attention worldwide by being featured in Marvel’s The Avengers, even though Tony Stark later dumped it for an Audi R8. Maybe he was also sick of waiting for the production Acura NSX to roll around. The best news is that it’s just a matter of months now before we start seeing NSXs on the streets, and we would like to believe that it was well worth the wait, even if all we get to do is stare at it.