Power Play


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The new Acura NSX gives the beloved exotic a powerful (and fuel efficient) update.

After a hiatus of more than a decade, Acura has brought back its exotic sports car the NSX. But this time around there is more power with, believe it or not, four motors designed for instant acceleration. Likewise, the styling of this two-seater is completely different from its predecessor and more striking. And in this redo, the NSX has incorporated many new electronic features.

And speaking of electronics, three of the four motors are electric and spread around—two are in the front and one is in the back by the gas powerplant. Effectively, the motors work together in hybrid fashion playing off each other as needed. The gas engine is a 3.5-liter twin turbo V-6. A nine-speed, dual-clutch automatic transmission handles the total 573 horsepower with power to all four wheels. With the instant torque avail- able with the electric motors, the 0-60 time is a lightening fast 3.1 seconds. Interestingly because of the interplay of the electric motors, average fuel mileage rating is a quite reasonable 21-mpg.

On the styling spin, a low profile with smooth transition from front to back is the dominating theme. A large grille, which starts low and then widens up to the high tech headlights is the main front attraction. Multiple air vents are found on the front, sides, and back not only for looks, but also for cooling and feeding the engines with air. The gas engine in the rear is featured under the rear window, and a carbon fiber spoiler reinforces the performance spin. Many Honolulu residents liked the looks with thumbs up, waves and shakas.

Rather surprising is the interior room—generous for this two-seater. When walking up to the NSX with key in hand, the door handle pops out for easy entrance. As one would expect, the two seats are leather covered with small pukas in the sitting portion, and high side bolsters to hold occupants comfortably in place. Aside from the typical, touch video screens in the center of the dash and the dash pod, there is one feature that draws your immediate attention—a large dial below the dual automatic climate system. With a spin of the dynamic mode knob, the driver can set the parameters for both handling and acceleration. The choices are quiet, sports, sports plus, and track. It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out the impact of the pick on the ride and shifting patterns. And if more acceleration is needed, there is another button called launch control where the engine is revved up then, boom! You blast off.

And speaking of blasting off, pushing the start button gives everyone the impression of power with the V-6 revving up with some notable exhaust note. Instead of a gear lever, buttons on the center console controls the gear selection. Using the large paddles behind the steering wheel can also manually change the gears. In the drive mode, shifting at normal speeds is largely undetected. Steering is a direct as it comes and cornering is absolutely controlled and flat. And depending somewhat on the dynamic mode choice, the ride is clearly tight and controlled without being unduly harsh.

With the new edition of the NSX, Acura has not only brought its sports car up to date, but also foretold the future with a hybrid performance car. The end result is both plenty of power with a move to better fuel economy.



PRICE BASE: $157,800, AS TESTED $184,500

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