The Detroit Auto Show could really be summed up just by repeating Ford GT Ford GT and Ford GT until you run out of breath, but I still think the 2016 Acura NSX is a stunning supercar we should take a good look at now. Can it possibly be as great as the first one?
Okay, so let's get Acura's colossal mistakes out of the way first, because I really can't think of too many more ways one can fuck up the introduction of a brand's halo car.
You know how their stand looked like at the Detroit Auto Show in 2012?
Care to take a look at their offering the next year?
Of course teasing is what carmakers do nowadays, but this wait felt more like Acura got us all hooked on heroin — long, painful and ultimately self-destructive. I mean, even Iron Man switched back to Audis after his adventures with the Avengers!
As it turns out, most of the waiting was due to some packaging issues. They say it took them three years to develop. In reality, it was more like 18 month just to completely redesign their original concept.
But did Honda just miss their train completely despite the 2016 NSX being better looking than all their previous concept cars?
Why Acura decided to launch its pride just a few hours after Ford gave the world its new GT is beyond me. All their hard work and anticipation swept away by another twin-turbo V6 in a blink of an eye. Just look at our numbers from yesterday, which are current as of this writing:
Ford GT: This Is It : 623,568+ views in less than 24 hours.
Acura NSX: This Is (Finally) It: 81,900+ views in roughly the same time.
Maybe it was big in Japan. Had they dropped the NSX bomb on us when it was ready to go, or at least closer to gametime, you know interest would have been tremendously greater, much like the GT revival yesterday.
So Honda messed up a bit. But honestly, who cares if the engineering department did its job and the NSX turns out to be everything we wished for?
What we know so far is that it has the combined output of 550+ horsepower thanks to a twin-turbocharged 75-degree V6 linked to a three-electric motor hybrid system and a 9-speed dual clutch transmission. Therefore it comes with all-wheel drive just like a BMW i8, but without the expensive carbon tub or a heavily turbocharged three-cylinder engine.
It's built up on an aluminum and ultra-high strength steel space frame with a carbon fiber floor and body panels made of composites and aluminum, which puts the NSX more on the traditional side of the field despite the added electricity. Some even find it to be outdated by the time it reached the production stage.
The final car is also 3 inches longer and an inch wider than the NSX Concept shown in 2012, also down to switching from a transverse to a longitudinal layout.
The tires are 245/35Z R19s at the front and 295/30Z R20s at the rear, the brakes are massive carbon-ceramics and you also get individual wheel braking with your all-wheel drive system to help with fast cornering. There's no active aero, the downforce comes entirely from the hood vents, front fender vents, side air intakes and the deck spoiler.
Inside, you get launch control and a choice of dial-operated setting including Sport, Sport+, Track and Quiet modes. The latter is exciting because what the new NSX needs to be the most apart from a superbly balanced driving experience is your new everyday supercar. There are people out there who don't want a 911 Turbo S or an Audi R8 V10, and if the price is right, the NSX can easily turn out to be their preferred weapon of choice.
Of course Senna drove the original NSX because his McLaren was powered by Honda and it was only natural for them to involve him in the development process. But the resulting car also reflected Senna's attitude and priorities towards going fast, not to mention Soichiro Honda's wisdom and legacy on the engineering side. It's safe to assume that Ayrton Senna didn't mind fulfilling this part of his contract at all.
Acura calls the new NSX the rebirth of an icon. If only Senna could comment on that.