My Beef With The New Acura NSX

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I really don’t know what to make of the new Acura NSX, which at last, after two years of being paraded around the world, showed up in production guise at the 2015 NAIAS.

On one hand, it ticks all the right boxes you expect from a 21st century supercar these days: it looks wedgy, it’s a hybrid, its engine is turbocharged, the instrument binnacle is digital,  and there are more touchscreen functions and buttons that you can shake a stick at.

Now, here comes the but…

First of all, the tech package: it’s being touted as a technological masterpiece, with a twin-turbocharged V6 and an electric motor powering the rear wheels and a couple of electric motors at the front, which makes it all-wheel drive.

I’m sure I’ve seen this concept before. Oh yes, it must have been the BMW i8. Sure, the internal combustion cylinder count is half that of the NSX and we don’t know the performance figures of the Acura, but even if they beat the BMW (as they probably will), I doubt that this matters much in the real world.

Then there’s the transmission. Dual-clutch gearboxes are obviously mandatory on every new supercar these days but it’s a nine-speeder. Good for consumption and low-low CO2 emissions, bad for when you’re in the mood for changing manually. In my book, that’s at least a couple of cogs too many.

Let’s set them aside as nit-picking, if you will. The beef is with Acura/Honda professing that it is channeling the spirit of the first NSX. Sorry, but I, for one, don’t see it.

The original NSX had a lean shape like nothing you had ever seen before. Its 2015 successor seems like Acura’s design team sat at a table, looked at all the supercars launched in the past few years and started picking up styling cues. Lamborghini Aventador exhaust, anyone? Lexus LFA rear air outlets? Maybe throw in a Ferrari 458 Italia-like profile for good measure? Oh, and those rear lights that are supposed to remind us of the original? They look like Aston Martin’s to me (pick a model, they’re all practically the same).

I am pretty sure it will more than stand a fair chance against its competitors. It may even run rings around them, which will be quite a feat as the bar has been set too high already.

Something is missing, though. I guess that “something” is a feature that will set it apart from its rivals. The first NSX was the supercar that taught Ferrari et all how supercars should be made and how they should handle. What does its reincarnation, other than the name, bring to the ring?

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