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- Sexy as hell
- Seamless sub-3-second acceleration
- Effortless high-speed grip
- A technological tour de force
- A launching pad for a new Acura?
- Very expensive, before the carbon-fiber add-ons
- An even-tempered supercar, for better and worse
- Lacks supercar cachet, for some
- Hybrid gas mileage doesn't pan out
- Tires can make or break its road feel
The 2018 Acura NSX is an engineering tour de force that blends hybrid components with a turbocharged V-6 to create a track-ready supercar that can also be driven daily.
The first generation of the Acura NSX was a 1990s supercar that represented mechanical purity. It had the chops for the track, but introduced comfort to the supercar set. Moreover, it was simple, with a mid-engine layout and a naturally aspirated 270-horsepower V-6 engine. Acura brought back the NSX for 2017, and the second-generation car could hardly be more different. It combines turbos, motors, servos, clutches, and batteries to create a high-tech all-wheel-drive supercar that synthesizes driving feel instead of delivering it naturally.
And yet, it’s also comfortable and it delivers performance that first-generation car could never approach. That’s because Acura engineers have done a masterful job of integrating all those systems to create an even-tempered supercar that scores a solid 8.4 in our book. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
In the second model year after its release, the 2018 Acura NSX carries over unchanged. That’s just fine because Acura put a lot of work into all that technology. In fact, the NSX’s only rivals in terms of complexity are the McLaren P1 and Porsche 918 Spyder, both of which are no longer sold and cost way more when they were available. In the real world, think more in terms of the Audi R8, Porsche 911 Turbo, or even the Ferrari 488 GTB.
The supercar styling is unmistakable. Low and wide, the NSX flows to the rear in a wedge shape borrowed from other supercars. The body is made up of aluminum and composite panels and can be ordered with a carbon fiber roof. Designers sculpted the body to balance downforce front and rear while minimizing aerodynamic drag and taking in the air needed to cool the performance bits.
Those bits are extensive. It all starts with a turbocharged V-6 engine mounted longitudinally on the rear axle. Between it and the 9-speed dual-clutch transmission is an electric motor, and two more electric motors are located on the front axle. The front motors provide motive power that enables all-wheel drive, as well as torque vectoring. A lithium-ion battery sits in front of the rear motor. Total system output is 573 horsepower and 476 pound-feet of torque.
How does all that tech come together? The NSX is a well-ordered supercar with handling as progressive as its worldview. It melds electric and gas power into a seamless stream of scorching performance. The NSX likes to be driven rhythmically, with even inputs. It can push a bit in a turn, but once you lift off the throttle the electric motors cut that corner tighter with their torque vectoring magic.
The NSX has an astonishing performance envelope, which ramps up through four driving modes: Quiet, Sport, Sport+, and Track. The NSX is capable of a 3.0-second 0-60 mph time and a top speed of 191 mph. Despite the hybrid system, fuel economy is just OK, at 21 mpg combined.
The cabin blends luxury and technology. It is covered in leather, with carbon fiber trim optional, and has a pair of digital displays, but the same shift buttons as the Honda Pilot. Oddly, power seats cost extra, though it is has plenty of space for two adults. A blocked view to the rear makes a rearview camera and parking sensors necessities.
That’s about as much safety gear as Acura offers. No active safety features are on the menu, and the NSX will probably never be crash-tested.
You can option it up, though. The base price is around $158,000, and adding options can make it push $200,000. Among the expensive options are carbon-ceramic brakes, the carbon fiber roof, carbon fiber interior and exterior kits, a Technology package, and an Alcantara headliner.