[LOOK THIS] 2017 Acura NSX
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The new NSX isn’t much like the first generation built from 1990 to 2005, If you hadn’t guessed. But the two cars share a common philosophy. Both are Acura’s interpretation of what a modern, everyday supercar should be. Based on the new car, things have changed a lot in the last 25 years.
One of the most incredible parts of the NSX is the crash structure, which uses a technique Acura calls ablation casting. It goes like this: molten aluminum is poured into a sand mold, which is then hosed off while the metal is still liquid. Somehow, the metal sets before collapsing like a failed soufflé. The rapid cooling makes for high elasticity and energy absorption
The NSX is fast. Like, stupid fast. The kind of fast that makes you giggle every time you hit the gas. The kind of fast that makes you think about how the walls at Sonoma Raceway are way, way too close to the track. the NSX is comfortable. The low floor and long doors make getting in and out slightly gymnastic, but otherwise the interior is hitting the easy button. The seat padding is perfect, and a mere four ways to adjust means you can find the perfect driving position easily. A manual-adjust seat will also be available. If there’s one knock to the interior, it’s that there’s little storage, and most of it is hard to access while driving. That too is probably on purpose. The NSX is not a car for taking selfies while you drive, although the standard navigation radio features Android Auto and Apple Car Play.
So back to those neat tricks. There are two big ones with the NSX. The first is the brakes, which feel like conventional brakes but are actually brake-by-wire (the system defaults to a conventional hydraulic system as a failsafe, as required by the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards). The feel comes from a hydraulic feedback mechanism, which portions out pedal stiffness relative to the rate of deceleration. On the other end, a series of valves balances pressure on the friction brakes based on the level of regeneration braking from the TMU and the driver’s pedal input. The brakes are that good.
Like a fly-by-wire fighter jet that needs the computer to maintain stable flight, the NSX uses the electronics to pull off feats of handling that are otherwise impossible. In Sport mode, the car exhibits a soft, friendly understeer. Move to Track mode, and that understeer all but disappears. Klaus says the understeer is baked into the chassis setup, but the SH-AWD can work to make the car behave neutrally.
Are there compromises? Oh yes. For one, you don’t get any steering feedback through the wheel. On our final session around Sonoma Raceway we adjusted to picking up the car’s state of grip through our hips. This is not a car that speaks in the traditional sense, and many people will have a problem with that. On the other hand, the NSX can do things other cars can’t, like cut around a hairpin at speeds that leave other cars plowing in a straight line.
The NSX is fast, comfortable, and obeys your every command. And one thing is certain here: Acura didn’t copy anyone. The NSX a unique supercar, from the way it approaches performance to how it goes down the road. And in that sense, it’s a true successor to the original.
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