During an annual journalist-only event celebrating alternative energy vehicles, I got the opportunity to drive the 2017 Acura NSX – a supercar of the future – and it was a truly marvelous experience.
For those who don’t know, the 2017 Acura NSX is a hybrid supercar that utilizes a V6 engine, two electric motors, uses Acura’s SH-AWD system (super handling all-wheel drive), and has looks that could break hearts.
The body lines look like a cat ready to pounce, athletic being an understatement. Air vents peak in and out of view, and in and out from under body panels, giving you the penultimate in understated aerodynamics. The haunches looked ready to unleash the savage horsepower upon the pavement and the V6 engine sat silently beneath a glass roof.
On the inside, the 2017 Acura NSX’s leather-filled interior wasn’t technologically overdone. The Alcantara had semi-aniline leather in the middle (a $1,500 option) keeping me glued in place during our on-ramp speedup (and brake test), but was supple and beyond comfortable. It was less like a spaceship cockpit and more like sliding into your favorite pair of shoes; comfortable, pleasurable, a known-quantity that keeps you coming back.
There weren’t a million buttons, it didn’t look like the cockpit of a spaceship, and it didn’t ooze technologically-advanced. And I sincerely thank Acura for that. You have technology at your fingertips, but instead of being so advanced that you want to play with it. Acura gave the 2017 NSX the technologies you want but made it good enough that it fades into the back of your mind. There was a touchscreen infotainment system, but it’s not in your face. All these creature comforts of modern cars existed but weren’t all-encompassing.
Leaving you able to concentrate on what you really want to think about: Driving.
The 500-horsepower, longitudinally-mounted twin-turbocharged V6 engine, number 00000, screamed the song of its people from behind my ears. Two electric motors near each wheel give extra oomph and power while the rear wheels are powered by the V6, combining for 573 horsepower and 476-lb.ft. of torque at your fingertips.
And we say fingertips due to the brand new, 9-speed dual-clutch transmission that Acura engineered just for this vehicle. The flappy paddles, should you choose to use them, are mounted on a flat-topped and bottomed steering wheel dashed with stitchless Alcantara and carbon fiber for feeling and viewing pleasure.
500 horsepower can be tamed with a ‘quiet mode’ which would be good for those early morning start-ups so your neighbors won’t be angry. Or, if you have car-enthusiast friends, they may thank you for having the best sounding alarm clocks on the block.
The big thin, though, is stopping: Going fast is all good, but coming back down from there safely and quickly is sometimes really needed. As a wise man once said, “Speed never killed anyone, suddenly becoming stationary; that’s what kills you.”
Carbon-ceramic rotors surrounded by big brakes ensured that when I pressed the pedal to the floor, my face felt like it didn’t realize it was attached to my skull. Yes, you’ll stop impressively. Quickly.
Now, combine the amazing braking with the independent motors at each wheel and the V6 in the rear, and I’m sure track days or road trips will never be the same.
You can start configuring (and even ordering) your NSX. Acura suggests a $156,000 starting price with a completely customizable vehicle. We tried it out (at nsx.acura.com) and… the build was substantially more than even the $196,000 pre-production model driven in Portland. What can I say; I have expensive taste.
While the streets of Portland and one on-ramp gave me a buzz from this battery-packed supercar, I hear I’ll get a chance to test it out on the rolling roads around Mount Hood later this year (where I fully expect this infatuation to grow into something stronger).
What I can tell you is that the 2017 Acura NSX does inspire the raw emotion car enthusiasts are looking for, and delivers it in spades. The looks will make you swoon (but you already knew that or you wouldn’t be reading this) and the engine and motors will make your heart flutter like a school girl’s, but that’s how it should be.
Stay tuned for a September drive with the NSX around Mt. Hood.