Acura NSX Concept: Detroit Auto Show Live Photos, InfoS

Acura lifted the sheet off their new Acura NSX Concept and it's definitely a Tony Stark-esque all-wheel-drive hybrid. Just like we told you. It'll be designed in the United States, built in Ohio, and go on sale within three years.

Ask an enthusiast to picture the Acura NSX and their mind might be drawn to a well-dressed Ayrton Senna casually tossing the rear-wheel-drive sports car around in a pair of fine Italian loafers. It was a pure, simple sports car perfectly aligned with the Honda philosophy.

Where does this latest Acura NSX concept fit into that?

The company describes the two main traits as technologically-supported handling and environmental responsibility. Bully.

It's fitting that Tony Stark drives a convertible version of this car in the new Avengers movie. Stark's character seems to believe any deficiencies in matters of the soul can be obscured by great technology.

So what's the technology? A mid-engined V6 with the company's new SH-AWD system, which uses the gasoline engine to power the rear wheels and provide juice for the two electric motors mounted up front. Acura didn't explicitly say this and, when asked, wouldn't admit to anything until I pointed out the image on a tv screen showing basically that configuration.

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After Acura's long slide into product mediocrity this might finally signal a reversal of fortunes for a once influential luxury brand.

Is an AWD hybrid Acura NSX better than no Acura NSX at all? Anything that's even remotely sporty is a revelation for a Honda product. This new Acura is also unimpeachably gorgeous (it's been a while since we said that about an Acura vehicle).

If it works and it's actually fun to drive when it finally debuts we'll fondly remember the NSX for what it was and cheer it for what it becomes. If not, we'll continue to pine for our long lost NSX.