The New Acura NSX: Coming Fast in 2015
Jay Leno was seen on the lawns of the August 2013 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance; so was a future star, the Acura NSX Concept. The next generation of the luxury sports car had debuted earlier this year in the United States at the 2013 North American International Auto Show, Detroit.
“This further evolution of the Acura NSX Concept design is remarkably true to the original concept styling,” said Mike Accavitti, senior vice president of Automobile Operations for American Honda Motor Co. Inc., at the January show.
“We’re making great progress in delivering on the expectations we created a year ago, with advanced technology that will bring new levels of performance and a unique, dynamic experience to the exotic sports car market.”
The high-tech Acura will be produced in Marysville, Ohio, at the new $70 million, 184,000-square-foot Performance Manufacturing Center near Honda’s R&D Center, which is engineering the car for production.
“We have a very clear understanding of the high customer expectations luxury buyers around the world have for a supercar, and our challenge is to exceed them and create new value for the customer,” says Ted Klaus, Honda R&D Americas chief engineer. “This new Performance Manufacturing Center will be key to this challenge.” His team is also led by the company’s Associate Chief Engineer Clement D’ Souza.
Honda established its first American operations in 1959 and started local production of motorcycles 20 years later. The company operates 14 major manufacturing facilities in North America, four in the U.S., employing more than 33,000 associates, and maintains a network of 272 dealers in the United States. The upmarket Acura lineup features seven models, including the all-new Acura RLX sedan and the MDX luxury sport utility vehicle.
Honda built the first-generation Acura NSX in Japan, 1990 to 2005, and the original supercar was sold as a 1991 model — the first production car with an all-aluminum chassis and body. The aluminum body weighed only 462 pounds, helping the car log 0–60 mph times in less than six seconds. At $65,000 it was the most expensive Japanese car ever.
That first year, Acura sold 1,940 NSX units and car magazines were enthusiastic, including Motor Trend which called it “the best sports car ever built.” Eight years later, in 1999, a limited-edition Alex Zanardi Edition NSX premiered at the Miami International Auto Show with a revised suspension and other unique interior and styling aspects. Only 49 copies were available.
In announcing the temporary close of the model in July 2005, Acura announced that a replacement vehicle was being developed. That NSX is slated for showroom appearance in 2015 and will be shipped from Ohio to customers in North America and worldwide.
This past Aug. 4, an Acura NSX Prototype circled the 2.4-mile Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio, before the Honda Indy 200 race showcasing the new version of the mid-engine supercar. With its blue graphics, the new NSX Prototype shares the same basic styling as the NSX Concept that was displayed at Pebble Beach — and indicated the future racing career of specially configured cars. The first NSXs were very successful on a variety of tracks worldwide.
“With leadership from our R&D and manufacturing teams here in Ohio, we are developing a next-generation sports car that will be equally at home on the street and on the race track, so it is natural for us to showcase the prototype vehicle here at Mid-Ohio,” Klaus says.
“It is exciting for us to see the prototype running on the track, reflecting the great progress we’re making toward the 2015 global launch of the NSX, as we engineer a new sports-car experience for customers around the world.”
Although no specific details are available as yet, the unique powertrain and body structure should provide the new car excellent all-round performance. The Acura NSX will be powered by a mid-mounted, direct-injected V-6 engine mated to Acura’s Sport Hybrid SH-AWD® (Super Handling All-Wheel Drive) system and features a new three-motor high-performance hybrid system combining torque vectoring all-wheel drive with advanced hybrid efficiency.
One motor connects with the engine and two motors drive the front wheels through the all-new dual-clutch transmission (DCT). “The system enables instant delivery of negative or positive torque to the front wheels during cornering to achieve a new level of driving performance unparalleled by current AWD systems,” the company says.
“Consistent with the spirit of the original NSX, our intention is to support the psychological and emotional aspects of driving a super car at the limit, because we are insistent about delivering on the synergy between man and machine,” says Jon Ikeda, chief designer, Acura Design Studio. “Importantly, this will be true of all Acura vehicles moving forward.”
For design, the new NSX is based on Acura’s “Human Support Cockpit” theme, expressing what the company calls “the synergy between man and machine.” “The interior package boasts outstanding visibility, an exotic driving position, and an intuitive ‘Simple Sports Interface’ that minimizes interior clutter, allowing the driver to focus on the driving experience,” the company explains.
“We have a rich history of creating innovative new products for our customers in the U.S. and in markets around the world,” says Hiroshi Takemura, president of Honda R&D Americas Inc. “The responsibility to develop the all-new Acura NSX demonstrates the maturity of our organization, the know-how of our associates and their ability to create an advanced and innovative supercar.”
Acura NSX, www.acura.com.