Our long-term Acura NSX just turned over 20,000 miles, which means it’s almost time to give it back. It’s been trouble-free, requiring just normal maintenance and a set of fresh tires, since Pirelli’s Trofeo R isn’t known for having the best wear pattern. Deputy Editor Bob Sorokanich and I drove it 2500 miles from Seattle to Detroit in July, and now, it resides at our office in New York. I’ve been using it for errands every once in awhile, and even brought it to go look at an old BMW I wanted to buy off Facebook Marketplace (tip: don’t do this, the seller will get the wrong idea).
That’s the thing with the NSX. I could just hop in it and go. I didn’t need to check the weather or plan out my drive to avoid broken roads or traffic. I just hit the start button and put it in drive.
Considering the NSX is an Acura, that’s no surprise. It’s the duality of this car that really impresses. Once free of the city and out on the open road, the NSX becomes one of the most capable cars I’ve ever driven. Its ability to effortlessly decimate a stretch of backroad is something I’ve never experienced before, mainly thanks to all of that AWD hybrid torque-vectoring tuning.
The way the NSX hugs corners is another strange, new sensation I haven’t felt in any normal car. You think it might start to push, but then it just doesn’t. Power is instant, and constant. Gearshifts are fast, and the ratios are tightly packed together so the power never lets up. The limits are so high, you might have trouble reaching them on some tracks. The optional Pirelli Trofeo R tires provide more than enough grip for any public road, while the brake-by-wire carbon ceramics bring you to an abrupt halt, no matter how fast you’re going.
What’s even weirder is just how much feedback the car gives despite all the electronics between you and the road. The steering has real feel, and the regenerative braking system doesn’t mess up the pedal like most others do. It’s not like the car is doing everything for you—at least, it doesn’t feel that way anyway. The electronics don’t dull the experience, they add to it. If you put the work in, the NSX will reward you with lots and lots of speed.
Once you’ve decided you’ve had enough fun, hop into Quiet mode, let the car settle down, and drive back into reality. The suspension softens up, the engine note fades away, and the car becomes easy and docile. Forward visibility is great, and nine-speed transmission always seems to know what gear to be in. That wonderfully styled body, though, remains the same. We get lots of looks in this car.
While the NSX excels in its driving capabilities, the interior does feel lacking. Though spacious and well-appointed, the materials used are less than stellar, and some of the control layouts are flat-out illogical. The infotainment system is taken straight out of my sister’s base Civic hatch, all the way down to that touch-sensitive slider for the volume. The touch screen is at times laggy and unresponsive, but when it does work, the user interface is confusing and unintuitive. In an Acura with an MSRP north of $200,000, I’d say that’s less than acceptable.
Strangely, there’s no height adjustment on the seats. At all. Luckily, the roomy cabin has plenty of room for tall people, and the adjustable steering wheel means shorter folks will be able to see the road. There’s also the sound. That 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 makes a good noise from inside the cabin, but I think the coolest noise comes from the whirring electric motors when the car goes into EV mode. It’s new and different, but not boring.
That’s the beauty of the NSX. It looks futuristic, and sounds the part too. It can be your daily beater and your weekend track monster. It doesn’t lose any of that fun-to-drive feeling at the expense of being different. Instead, it uses all the new tech to make a driving experience like no other. It’s no wonder the higher-ups named it Performance Car of the Year last year. The NSX deserves it.
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