The Ram's Eye - A Driver's Blog: 2016 Acura NSX - A little late to the party



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Friday, 20 February 2015

2016 Acura NSX - A little late to the party




I've been asked why I haven't posted about the reveal of this car despite it being very highly anticipated so here's why. I was somewhat underwhelmed to be honest when it came out. Firstly, I make it no secret that I'm a fan of domestics so I typically get more excited about domestics and Ford stole the flashlights with three very special models; the Ford GT, Mustang Shelby GT350R and F-150 Raptor at the Detroit Auto Show. Secondly, and much more importantly, this seems like it's a few years too late in terms of specs (on paper). Acura has been teasing the return of the NSX for years. This builds up hype and expectations and when you don't deliver something really special, disappointment is inevitable. To make matters worse, Acura seems oblivious to the matter.




Mike Accavitti, VP and general manager of Acura, said (and excuse the language) that the NSX is "just badass.. in a luxury kind of way," according to Motor Trend. Acura estimates power to be more than 550 hp. In this day, car guys are spoiled with hp and 550 hp in a supercar is nothing worthy of a second look, at least in my opinion. The last generation Cadillac CTS-V, the one that came out in 2008, had 556 hp. A sedan, not even a bespoke sports car or supercar. A seven year old sedan that is now out of production. I know that power isn't everything and this car will no doubt blow the last generation CTS-V out of the water in every performance category but if I were the spokesman at the event, I would keep the estimate horsepower figure to myself and let the car speak for itself later.




The 550 hp isn't even all engine or even a pure, high revving naturally aspirated engine. It's a twin-turbo V6 that is also assisted by three electric motors; one in the rear and two in the front (providing torque vectoring). If there are three electric motors, how much is the engine making? How could 550 hp be something to brag about? It almost seems like Acura locked up its engineers while they were developing the NSX and they have no idea what power figures are like these days.




Stop talking about power figures, you might say. Okay, let's consider weight. The fact that it is a hybrid supercar means that weight will probably put it in the neighbourhood of hypercars, like the Porsche 918 Spyder, Ferrari LaFerrari and McLaren P1. With the electric motors, batteries and associated electronics and (probably) cooling, this won't be light. The power, though, puts its less than current supercars. The Lamborghini Huracan, for example, makes 602 hp. The Ferrari 458 Speciale makes 597 hp and its replacement, the 488GTB, is just around the corner. That one will make 661 hp. Acura also said it decided against active aerodynamic elements. I've always said that I'm usually against more electronics and more complexity so I should prefer that path but going to a hybrid setup with multiple motors, batteries and turbos is far, far from simple that adding active aero is a drop in a bucket. Why not gain every advantage possible?




To be fair, I am putting too much weight and judgment on the power and weight. This car hasn't even been released to testing yet, let alone sold. It's usually bad enough comparing performance numbers of two different cars on papers or "bench racing," so I am being a very bad offender as far as that goes. With that said, I can't help but be underwhelmed. How could this have a chance of keeping up with cars in its class? That will take a miracle. We'll have to wait and see.


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