In 2017, Acura finally revived the iconic Japanese supercar ; the 1990 Honda NSX. However, when the world got a closer look, they realized the new one was a completely different beast than the simple original NSX they were familiar with. It had a twin turbo V6 and three electric motors, all commanded by a computer. The 2018 Acura NSX is a carry forward with a starting price of $156,000.
The combination of one combustion engine and three electric motor produces 573 bhp ; not an eyebrow-raising number among the current crop of hypercars. However, the instant torque of electric motors helps it enter the coveted sub 3 seconds 0-60 mph club. The electric motors can also help eliminate understeer while producing regenerative braking.
However, with all these complexities, the new NSX is not as stimulating as the rivals. At this price range, along with capability, a sense of occasion is also important. And the Lamborghini Huracan with its screaming V10 is surely more dramatic. Similarly, the R8 and the Nissan GTR are more adept at making you giggle.
2018 Acura NSX hybrid Features
With a starting price of $156,000, the 2018 Acura NSX is the most expensive Acura and costs almost $50,000 more than its Japanese sports car rival – the Nissan GTR. However, it’s also $50,000 cheaper than the Italian exotic rival – the Lamborghini Huracan. While there are no trims or powertrain variations to choose from, you can still spend over $200,000 on your NSX.
“The way it responded to steering inputs, hung on around curves at speed, rocketed out of bends, allowed late braking for corners and planted a smile on my face won me over -- for the most part.” - CNET
Engine and Transmission
The powertrain of the new Acura NSX is the polar opposite of the original simple powertrain of the 1990 NSX. While the old NSX was all about pure mechanical simplicity, the new NSX uses a mid-mounted dry sump 500 hp twin-turbocharged V6 with a boost pressure of 1.05 bar, a lightning fast 9-speed Dual Clutch Automatic and three electric motors.
Audi R8 (coupe)
The Direct drive motor uses an extra torque of combustion engine to recharge the battery pack and the Twin Motor Units harnesses electricity when you brake to keep the battery pack juiced up. All these ensure the Acura NSX horsepower rating of 573 hp remains fully usable on track days. Oh, you can also drive the NSX in electric mode at speeds of up to 50 mph. One 47 hp electric motor is directly mounted on the V6 crankshaft to fill in the lag at low engine speeds. The other two 36 hp electric motors are mounted on the front axle to make this an All-Wheel Drive supercar. If you are worried that the electric motors will quickly drain out the 1.0 kWh Lithium-ion battery pack mounted low behind driver during a track day, don’t be.
A 9-speed Dual-Clutch automatic is mounted just behind the combustion engine and is integrated with a limited slip differential. The dual clutch transmission fires instant shifts and its first eight gear ratios are closely spaced to keep the engine in the meat of power-band. The 9th gear is tall and is meant for effortless and efficient high-speed cruise.
The Acura NSX can effortlessly do 0 to 60 mph in 3 seconds. That puts it into the coveted sub 3 seconds club and Acura NSX launch control makes posting that number easy. Only the Nissan GTR is faster with a 0-60 time of 2.9 seconds. There are some tricks to achieve such impressive numbers. First is the Direct Drive Motor.
Audi R8 (coupe)
It fills in the torque void when the combustion engine is at low revs and out of boost. In fact, during initial moments of full-bore launch, the Direct Drive Motor provides the majority of acceleration. Also assisting with the initial launch is the Twin Motor Unit driving the front axle. Once the vehicle gets going and the turbos start developing full 1.05 bar boost, the combustion engine provides the majority of acceleration.
Ride and Handling
The Acura NSX satisfies some fundamental requirements of a good handling car. First is the low center of gravity and weight distribution. The engine uses dry sump lubrication and hence can be buried deep within the chassis low to the ground. This along with low mounted heavy components like the battery pack help it achieve an extremely low center of gravity.
Owing to the mid-engine layout and careful placement of heavy components, the NSX also has a very low polar moment of inertia (i.e. it is not nose or tail heavy) and a great 42/58 front/rear weight distribution. All these means the car does not roll much (low center of gravity) or yaw much (front/rear weight distribution) during hard cornering.
After this comes the light and rigid chassis. Although the NSX does not use fancy carbon tub, it has an exceptionally rigid and lightweight all-aluminum space frame with all aluminum suspension components mounted directly to it without an intervening sub-frame. All these means there is no chassis flexing and the NSX delivers benign and communicative steering.
Finally, the Acura SH-AWD actively helps the Acura hug corners tighter. It makes use of the aforementioned Twin-Motor Unit. While diving into the corner, the inside front wheel is braked harder than the outer wheel to pull the car into the corner. Similarly, while powering out, the system delivers more torque to outer wheel through twin motor unit to ensure tighter turning.
The NSX delivers excellent brake pedal response even with the regenerative braking in action. And it stops within an impressive 103 feet in a panic braking situation despite weighing 3800 pounds – a result of all the added hybrid hardware. You can even option the carbon ceramic brakes if you plan to use Your NSX on track days.
Audi R8 (coupe)
60-0 MPH (ft.)
2018 Acura NSX hybrid Fuel Economy
While a normal hybrid car is tuned for maximum efficiency, the NSX uses it for extracting maximum performance. Still, the NSX delivers 21 mpg in city and 22 on the highway. That’s considerably better than the competitors delivering similar levels of performance.
Audi R8 (coupe)
2018 Acura NSX hybrid Interior
"Acura’s designers have managed to create a warm and welcoming cabin with a modern, high-tech vibe. There’s nothing retro about it; still, the shapes and overall design offer a connection to the interior of the original Acura NSX, which was introduced in 1991"- KBB
Like a thoroughbred race car, you drop low into the seat in the NSX. Once the doors are closed, the cabin ambiance becomes focused with a large rev counter, sporty steering and large pedal shifters urging you to just drive it.
And the outside visibility is phenomenal. That’s because of the unusually thin A-pillars. Modern cars have thick pillars to adhere to the safety regulations. So how does Acura managed to keep the pillars thin but still strong? By using the world first 3D quenched ultra high strength steel in the A-pillar.
However, if you overcome that urge to drive and decide to look around, you will find plenty of switchgear lifted from more mundane Acura cars. That’s not good at this price range and competitors have more sense of occasion. That said, seats are supremely supportive and comfortable for aggressive driving.
Audi R8 (coupe)
Passenger Volume(ft. cube)
Elsewhere, you will find plenty of swooping surfaces that can be covered in either supple semi-aniline leather or tactile Alcantara. Like every modern supercar, you can also opt for the carbon fiber trims that adorns the steering wheel and center console.
The original Honda NSX was known for its immense usability. Sadly, that is not the case with the new NSX. You will find a 4.4 cubic feet trunk just behind the see-through engine cover and that’s about it. In other supercars, a trunk is provided under the front bonnet. In NSX, that space is occupied by the Twin-Motor Unit. Even the existing trunk gets hot due to close proximity to the turbo V6 and poor insulation.
Audi R8 (coupe)
Trunk Volume : ft³
The first impression you will have of the 7-inch touchscreen in the NSX is that it resembles the one in the Honda Civic. On top of that, the interface is unintuitive and there are no redundant buttons. However, audiophiles can get a 9-speaker ELS Studio audio system replacing the standard eight-speaker audio system.
2018 Acura NSX hybrid Exterior
"Low and hard-edged with a wide stance and a cornucopia of scoops and flares, when it comes to design the new 2018 Acura NSX checks all the supercar boxes"- KBB
Dimensions and Weight
The Acura NSX looks as exotic as its price suggests. Everything about it is the stuff we have grown to relate with a high-performance supercar – its low slung, has the front face that looks its ready to slice through the atmosphere and the mid-mounted engine can be viewed in all its glory through see-through engine cover.
Audi R8 (coupe)
Weight Distribution % Front
Weight Distribution % Rear
Track width(in) F/R
The Forged Aluminum Wheels have staggered size with 19-inch at front and 20-inch at the rear. Although the NSX does not feature lightweight carbon fiber elements for performance enhancement, you can have them to spice up the looks. Air vents are bountiful to extract the prodigious heat generated and the aerodynamic detail extends down to the flush mounted door handles.
2018 Acura NSX hybrid Safety
Despite being the most expensive Acura, the NSX does not get adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning or automatic emergency braking. Neither the NHTSA nor the IIHS crash tests high-end cars. Hence, no crash data for 2018 Acura NSX is available. That said, 2018 Acura NSX does come with following safety features:
VSA Electronic Stability Control (ESC)
ABS And Driveline Traction Control
Side Impact Beams
Dual Stage Driver And Passenger Seat-Mounted Side Airbags
Tire Specific Low Tire Pressure Warning
Dual Stage Driver And Passenger Front Airbags w/Passenger Off Switch
Curtain 1st Row Airbags
Outboard Front Lap And Shoulder Safety Belts -inc: Pretensioners
Airbag Occupancy Sensor
Driver Knee Airbag
2018 Acura NSX hybrid Competition
Acura NSX vs Audi R8
Like the 2018 NSX, the R8 is a mid-engine supercar. However, unlike the complex powertrain of the 2018 NSX, the R8 has a sole naturally aspirated V10 mated to a 7-Speed Dual Clutch Automatic. The R8 may be slightly less powerful than the NSX but feels faster due to its screaming V10 uninterrupted by a scavenging turbo. But as a daily driver, the R8 and the NSX are on an equal footing.
Acura NSX vs Nissan GT-R
The Nissan GT-R R35 is now nearing the end of its lifespan. However, the Godzilla still packs a menacing turbo V6 and prodigious traction with All-Wheel Drive. The GT-R offers an exhilarating driving experience when you are in the mood. Unfortunately, when you are not in the mood, the GT-R remains vocal and can get tiring. The NSX offers more refined everyday drive but costs almost $50,000 more.
Acura NSX vs Lamborghini Huracan
The Huracan brings all the drama, flair and sex appeal you expect from an Italian exotic car. It looks unbearably special with an unmistakable raging bull styling theme, it’s got a sonorous naturally aspirated V10 and from inside, it has an otherworldly ambiance. However, with a starting price of $200000, it’s also as rude to the wallet as that raging bull badge suggests.
2018 Acura NSX hybrid Final Verdict
The 2018 Acura NSX may be a successor to the original 1990 NSX but it bears little resemblance to the old one. It’s teeming with electric motors and computers. However, this time, these electric motors and microcontrollers are engineered to intoxicate your soul rather than talk about mundane numbers like fuel efficiency and emissions.
With the immediate torque of the electric motor assisting the high strung turbo V6, the new NSX delivers tremendous thrust at any speed. And with technologies like the SH-AWD, the NSX holds the tarmac with immense resolve. All these helped it to dominate the 2017 Pikes Peak hill climb race.
That said, if you are spending such amount of money to get the ultimate hair-raising motoring experience, competitors like the Huracan overshadow the relatively discreet NSX. The NSX may be supremely capable both in a straight line and through the corners, but it lacks the playfulness many desire from a mid-engine supercar.