New & Used Acura NSX: In Depth
First official photo of the new Acura NSX prototypeEnlarge Photo
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The Acura NSX is the Honda luxury brand's mid-engined sports car. Initially introduced as a 1990 model, the first NSX was sold until 2005, only mildly updated over its long production run. In 2015 the NSX will return anew, though substantially different from the aluminum-bodied original.
The first NSX came as an outgrowth of Honda's smashing success in Formula One racing in the 1980s. It was inspired by the Ferraris that the company's racing teams faced regularly on F1 tracks around the world, but with Honda's usual application of its own hallmark intensive engineering.
The NSX first was shown at the 1989 Chicago Auto Show, and entered production later that year. When it was introduced as a 1990 model (and sold as an Acura in the U.S.; most of the rest of the world knew it as a Honda NSX), the sports car wore an aluminum body, drew its power from a 270-horsepower 3.0-liter mid-mounted V-6 engine, sent that power to the rear wheels via a five-speed manual transmission, and had what some drivers felt was the best handling of any of its contemporaries.
The NSX was a critical hit, and sold enough for Honda to keep it essentially unchanged for the next 15 years. A few updates were made: a targa model was added, a four-speed automatic became available, the five-speed became a six-speed, horsepower rose by 20 (except on automatics, which were already downrated at 252 hp) and a minor facelift came in 2002. Otherwise, the NSX lived on, some said too long, in its nearly original form, as the performance world changed around it.
In the late 2000s, Honda began to toy with the idea of an NSX replacement, and went far in developing a V-10-powered successor. It scuttled the plan as the 2008 recession began, but recasting its efforts as part of a plan to turn around the Acura division, it approved a new NSX concept, which took its bow at the 2012 Detroit auto show.
This time, the Acura NSX is said to be on a steady track for production, with development taking place at Honda's American engineering arm in Ohio. The new concept car--which should translate into the final production version largely intact--offers a new direct-injected V-6 with a dual-clutch transmission and a built-in electric motor as well as motors on the front axle, which makes the NSX a through-the-road hybrid of sorts--one in which the electric motors can be used at the front wheels to provide all-wheel drive. The same basic setup is found on Acura's new RLX luxury flagship sedan, although the four-door instead has its engine and transmission mounted up front, with the extra electric motors providing torque vectoring and all-wheel-drive functions at the rear axle.
The new NSX will measure 170.5 inches long, 74.6 inches wide, 45.7 inches tall, on a 101.4-inch wheelbase. That compares with the original car's 174.2-inch overall length, 99.6-inch wheelbase, 46.1-inch height, and 71.3-inch width.
Production is expected to begin on the new Acura NSX no later than 2015.
Acura NSX II concept - 2013 Detroit Auto ShowEnlarge Photo