The year was 1990 and the supercar future looked bright. While feisty exotics like Ferraris and Lamborghinis ruled the road, a new contender from Japan threatened to turn the supercar microcosm on its ear with fresh styling, an approachable price, and surprising everyday usability. That outsider was the first generation Acura NSX, and its finely tuned approach delivered a stylish value proposition that was nothing short of revolutionary in its day.
New And Improved
The mid-engine contender eventually retired after a 15-year reign, resurfacing like a phoenix in 2015 as the all-new 2017 Acura NSX. During its first go, the NSX challenged a tiny coterie of six-figure cars that barely crested the 300 horsepower mark. Nowadays, the upper end of the market is led by near-1,000 horsepower hypercars, while back on planet Earth, many 500-horsepower beasts can be had for under $100,000.
How did Acura challenge the modern day supercar conundrum? For starters, they clad their new flagship with an arsenal of mil-spec technological hardware. The car begins from a transversely mounted, turbocharged 3.5-liter V-6 (an engine shared by no other Honda product), married to an electric motor at the crankshaft, all of which drives the rear wheels. Up front, twin electric motors fed by a lithium-ion battery pack spin the front wheels. Togehter, the system makes 573 hp, with 500 of those equines coming from the twin-turbo V6, while cumulative torque totals 405 lb-ft.
Runs In The Family
Below the surface, the NSX grows complex fast. Take cooling; there’s no fewer than 10 heat exchangers from 7 major heat sources, including the internal combustion engine, their turbochargers, the 9-speed transmission and the battery and processors. Stopping duties are performed by carbon fiber brakes, and all four corners of the car pitch in to help it around corners: while the rear motor can brake torque, the front motors can push or pull on either side to help tuck the car in and tug it through a turn.