The new ‘Acura NSX’ has had very long lead time with a concept version first unveiled in 2012. It brings back Honda’s enthusiast-favorite super-car from the 1990’s and early 2000’s with a new twist: a hybrid power-train.
A new, nine-speed dual-clutch gearbox integrated with an electric motor drives the rear wheels and collaborates with two electric motors that power the front wheels. Total output is a secret, but plan on more than 550 horsepower. The NSX is back to stalking Ferraris again.
So while the 2016 NSX will feature a mid-mounted V6 like its predecessor, there will also be assists from two turbos and two electric motors – including one that will power the front wheels for a super-car-worthy version of Acura’s Super Handling All-Wheel Drive system. Unlike the Ferrari LaFerrari, McLaren P1, and Porsche 918 Spyder, the NSX should bring hybrid-super-car tech to the well-heeled masses. It will compete against “entry level” super-cars like the Ferrari 458 Italia, Lamborghini Huracan, and Audi R8.
The car’s designing has also morphed, the changes including another radiator opening up front and much larger corner and side ducts, plus a couple of hood vents, all to service 10 separate cooling circuits with airflow. Undoubtedly, curb weight is up as well, probably to around 3700 pounds, though the final figure is still guarded.
If the hybrid system turns out to be as clever as it sounds and the production car retains the concept’s knife-edged styling, the 2016 NSX could become another cult classic. Acura is drip-dripping the details on this car, but we know that the 2016 “New Sports eXperience” is considerably wider than the original while suprisingly not much longer, given its new north-south power-train. Acura uses a supposedly novel—also undisclosed—aluminum-casting technology for part of the rear subframe, providing ample stiffness with low weight. The hood and doors are aluminum while the fenders are SMC (sheet molding compound, a common form of fiberglass). Buyers have the option of an aluminum or carbon-fiber roof.
The new space-frame structure, joined by self-piercing rivets, flow-drill screws, welding, and lots of adhesive, is described as aluminum-intensive. That means there’s also high-strength steel in the super-thin A-pillars (another point of pride for the NSX team) and a carbon-fiber floor panel.
Will Acura be able to put enough of these assuredly fabulous NSXs on the road to in any way help the brand’s gazy image? That may be the next big challenge.