WE’RE ONLY 5-YEARS LATE TO THE PARTY: 2021 ACURA NSX
Growing up in the 90’s, we were spoiled by the evolution of super cars. They were developed from engineers who were probably drunk most of the time and styled after an 8-year olds imagination. They were mad, radical machines that every time you started the engine, there were a 50/50 chance of crashing into a ditch on the way home from the strip club. In this over technological era however, it’s almost as if super cars are rooster-blocked by the lawyers and the finance department.
The Acura NSX is no longer new news as we head into its fifth year of development since it started production back in 2016, so then you, the reader probably already know more about the car than we do. So then we don’t need to tell you that it’s stupid quick to 60-mph in 3.1-seconds and has over 570-horsepower from more moving parts than a Boeing 747. Or that it can tackle a racetrack like a Formula One race car… at least, what we think would be like a Formula One race car.
Super cars are made to be stimulating, thrilling creatures that even the most highly skilled of drivers can barely tame their furiousness. The NSX doesn’t look like it wants to misbehave; it looks like it wants to teach us how to file our taxes and be sensible human beings. As if. And yet as it catches the eyes of more middle aged men than a Beverly Hills cougar, the NSX is a lustful desire, like a librarian in tight nit stockings. She’s a lady in the streets but a freak in the… you get the point.
You see however, in the daily life of work to home, home to work and maybe a quick stop at the pet store for over price healthy cat food, our life with the NSX was about as mundane as the personalities of the engineers that designed it. We don’t have access to a race track to explore the G-Force limits of our lunch and we wouldn’t dare attempt such irrational behavior on the road for fear we’d become a YouTube sensation without the monetization. So then here we have it, a hybrid super car, capable of increasing our life insurance policy from the moment we open the door, succumbs to the world of bumper-to-bumper traffic and running errands.
Acquiring a super car like the NSX for seven days is a boyhood dream… for most. For us on the other hand, required a daily dose of Advil and an unscheduled massage appointment. Either we’re getting old, or the NSX isn’t quite well fitted for the generation that can withstand the smell of IcyHot. Getting in is half the battle, with the seats not designed for the average plump American, it needless to say, requires an athletic build to fit comfortably in the snug, body hugging seats. Settling behind its estrange cockpit, the NSX, feels very, ahhh, Acura. And not like a modern, current generation RDX, kind of Acura either – like an Acura that pre-dates 2014. So the interior isn’t very comfortable and is about as stylish as a college dorm room – sounds like the NSX is off to a good start for super car life. And no, we’re not being sarcastic. What’s a super car without the constant burden of discomfort and annoyances?
In the grand scheme, the NSX is in a rather funny position when it comes to other mid-engine super cars. While it may be one of the cheapest with a starting price of $159,495, it can easily climb pass the $200,000 range when selecting the right options. Options like $9,000 Carbon Fiber Exterior Sport Package and $10,600 Carbon Ceramic Brakes and Rotors – you’ll want that. In that sense, the NSX starts to target the Lamborghini Huracan and McLaren Artura – and that’s a whole other can of worms as their starting price is where the NSX taps out. So really, the NSX is practically on its own now that the BMW i8 is no longer in production. We could throw the new mid-engine Chevrolet Corvette in the mix, but at nearly 50% the cost of an NSX, we’ll save our thoughts on that for another article.
As some of you probably already know, the NSX has a few engineering flaws. Defaulting to “Sport” mode as its main, normal driving mode, the NSX is anything but sporty. Its ride is no firmer than a TLX A SPEC with a 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V-6 that likes to hush itself inconveniently, activating EV mode at low or cruising speeds. With three on-board electric motors and a generator, the NSX doesn’t hold enough electricity to support a mile of travel distance when traveling slower than 25-mph. And when going through ordinary life, it’s almost as if we bored it to death. And when we go for the go-pedal, it acts grumpy, as if we’re waking grandpa from his mid-day slumber. There is so much communication between the gas engine, the electric motors, the generator, the twin turbos and the 8-speed automatic – we too would be grumpy if you had us thinking that much after a power nap.
Despite there being a “Quiet” mode, we’re not the respecting kind, pulling out of garage at 6:00am waking up the neighbors. Exploring the most out of the NSX is through Sport Plus and the annoying to activate Track mode, all of the over-engineering starts to make sense. Sprucing up our librarian metaphor brings on its frisky nature and requires a tamed professional to control its wild side. One go-around in those modes and we quickly realized, we’re not that disciplined professional the NSX needs. However, for as spicy as the NSX lets on, it’s surprisingly, even for someone as ourselves, quite controllable – its all-wheel drive system keeps you planted even when we think we made a mistake – but best to leave the rough stuff behind closed doors of the racetrack.
So the Acura NSX isn’t the super car of our dreams. It’s quite an expensive Acura for not having nearly as many comfort creatures as a standard ILX. It will give you heartache and make you wish you could lose 300lbs to sit comfortably. But with one not-so-quick turn and a 5-second hold of a dial that catches our attention before we bore ourselves to sleep, the NSX suddenly isn’t the only thing that feels alive.
Vehicle: 2021 Acura NSX
Base Price: $159,495
As-Tested Price: $197,995
Engine: 3.5-liter Twin-Turbocharged V-6 & Electric Hybrid System
HP | Torque: 573-HP |476 lb-ft of Torque
Transmission: 9-Speed Dual-Clutch Automatic
Drivetrain: Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive
MPG: 21 | 22 | 21 (City | Highway | Combined)
As-Tested MPG: 20.3-MPG Combined
Fuel Range: 295 miles
0-60 MPH: ±3.1 seconds
I didn’t even realize that little cup holder was in there. I might not have retrieved it from the center console to install. I remember the Detroit Auto Show when the NSX concept debuted in January 2012. Nine years ago! And though the design evolved a great deal between then and the final production, it did take way too long to come to life. Glad you got some seat-time in this one, even if wasn’t the $200k supercar of your dreams.
Wow! Didn’t realize a long road trip would require so many fuel stops! Nice write up.
So much time waiting for the NSX to arrive, lots of changes in the development, and somehow it has not captured the imagination of the well heeled folks who can afford them. Maybe if Honda had stayed with a gas engine and had a lower MSRP, could have swayed some 911, F Type, etc. buyers to get an NSX.