Acura in the News
Acura NSX Named Road & Track 2017 Performance Car of the Year
The Acura NSX has been named Road & Track‘s 2017 Performance Car of the Year, besting eight of the world’s finest sports cars by exhibiting a potent mix of performance, style and emotion.
The Acura NSX won this year’s competition largely thanks to its unique driving experience. According to the feature in Road & Track, “For the first time in a hybrid automobile of any price or capability, technology has been placed firmly in the service of emotional involvement rather than in place of it.” The magazine goes on to say, “Everything about the car—from the way in which the brake-by-wire pedal lengthens its travel when the brakes are hot to the manner in which the mid-mounted V-6 permits itself a bit of the ol’ barbaric yawp when it’s winding out in fourth gear—is intended to enhance the driver’s involvement.”
“Every aspect of the new NSX—acceleration, braking and cornering—is a precise, new experience,” said Jon Ikeda, vice president and general manager of Acura. “Having the NSX recognized by Road & Track‘s esteemed group of evaluators is not only a great honor for the car, but a testament to the skill, determination and challenging spirit of our team—we are immensely proud.”
Now in its fifth year, Road & Track‘s Performance Car of the Year award is chosen based on testing that takes place over the course of four days, two of which are dedicated to the back roads of Kentucky and Tennessee and two of which are spent on track at the National Corvette Museum Motorsports Park in Bowling Green, Kentucky.
To be considered for the competition, cars need to be brand new or significantly revised for 2016. During the four-day testing process, the Road & Track editors and writers evaluate each car based on a combination of emotion, performance and value.
For the performance evaluation, editors take note of acceleration, braking, handling, shift points, sound level and weight, accounting for the weather conditions present during testing. They also evaluate the engine, transmission, drivetrain, steering, tires and brakes.
The 2017 NSX launched in the spring, challenging conventional supercar thinking with a three-motor, 573 horsepower, twin-turbocharged Sport Hybrid Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) powertraini. Produced exclusively at the Performance Manufacturing Center in Marysville, Ohio, the Acura NSX is the only supercar manufactured in Americaii.
Full coverage of Road & Track‘s Performance Car of the Year can be found in the December/January issue, on newsstands November 15, and online at RoadandTrack.com.
The next-generation electro-mechanical super sports braking system in the NSX delivers powerful and linear stopping performance in combination with highly communicative and easy-to-modulate brake pedal feel and high fade resistance. But how it achieves that end result is really pretty interesting. The high-performance Brembo brakes are seamlessly combined with the front Twin Motor Unit’s (TMU) regenerative braking capability to support the hybrid battery’s state-of-charge and consistent power delivery under demanding driving conditions.
The electro-servo braking (ESB) system has been designed and developed through rigorous testing to provide the driver with superb feedback and brake pedal feel in all conditions, from low-speed city traffic, highway speeds or flat-out track driving.
By supplementing the high-performance electro-servo (friction) braking system with regenerative braking, the NSX recycles electricity and feeds it back to the Intelligent Power Unit (IPU). Unlike many such systems, the NSX blends this capability in a seamless and effective way, resulting in intuitive brake pedal feel with superb feedback. Regenerative braking begins as soon as the driver releases the throttle, to maximize IPU recharging during normal driving.
From the moment you slide into the driver’s seat of the NSX, you can tell that this car is special. From the intuitive instrumentation and modern control layout to the careful application of materials and padding in the sport seats, steering wheel and center console, the NSX provides exceptional, driver?centric ergonomics that support the driving experience.
To develop an interior with exceptional ergonomics, the Acura design team utilized a number of test drivers with wide-ranging driving experience and skill sets to gather information to improve all aspects of driver feedback and support in the NSX.
Attractive as well as structurally rigid and lightweight, the seats in the new NSX are designed to offer superlative comfort and support, with the lateral and fore/aft support needed for a supercar. Developed through extensive testing and pressure-mapping measurements, these seats offer more comfort than those in competing high-performance vehicles while providing the torso and thigh bolstering needed in a high-limit vehicle like the NSX. Leather and Alcantara® were carefully selected for the perfect combination of dynamic driving support and comfort, including ease of ingress/egress.
Acura is only as young as its buyers. The brand is celebrating its 30th birthday with a new marketing campaign—and by touting its leadership in Millennial sales.
Acura says it captures the greatest rate of buyers aged 18-34 than any other luxury car brand, citing data from IHS Automotive. The RDX leads its segment among Millennial buyers, the automaker wrote in a recent release.
As part of its “30 Years Young” campaign, Acura has debuted a 60-second spot narrated by actor Michael B. Jordan, also the new voice of the brand. Acura’s ad runs through the brand’s history, spotlighting the original NSX and the Integra Type R.
Any bored kid who has stuck their hand out a car window on the highway at around 60 mph can tell you about aerodynamic drag. (Stop that, Billy!) But that’s just one data point. If you let little Billy try the same stunt at 180 mph, well, first off, you’re an irresponsible parent. But Billy might tell you that at three times the speed, there wasn’t three times the aerodynamic drag on his tiny outstretched hand. He’d estimate that there was nine times the drag. Then Child Protective Services would take Billy away from you.
Why does aerodynamic drag increase so dramatically as you go faster? Air resistance (drag) increases with the square of speed. It’s a physics thing. Which is why aerodynamic performance was so critical in the development of the NSX. With a potential speed envelope (on a closed course) far beyond that of other Acura models, the NSX was the focus of the most intensive aerodynamic tuning program in Acura history.
But it wasn’t only about creating a slippery shape to maximize acceleration and top speed. A supercar like the NSX needs a tremendous amount of cooling to keep its many components in the correct temperature range. There are a total of 10 heat exchangers in the NSX, and each is supplied with cooling airflow as the NSX moves through the atmosphere. The brakes also have special ducting to help keep heat (and the potential for fade) under control. To keep all of these various parts cool while creating the minimum amount of drag took countless hours of computer, wind tunnel and driving analysis.
Like its forebear, the second-generation NSX is a high-tech tour de force. Although it starts at a hefty $157,800, the NSX is actually a value play — its powertrain combines a twin-turbocharged V-6 with three electric motors (two up front, one in the back) for a combined 573 horsepower — with a hybrid go-fast philosophy that’s similar to those of the Porsche 918 and the McLaren P1, hypercars hovering around a million dollars.
After 15 laps around the Palm Springs Thermal Club racetrack, I can say the NSX’s complex all-wheel-drive powertrain drives like the world’s greatest video game. To correct imbalances if, say, you come into a corner too hot, the NSX generates torque to speed up one or more wheels, which stabilizes the car, decreases the radius of your turn, and allows you to get back on the accelerator quicker. The net effect: You become a better driver, and you exit the car with Dockers intact.
While some supercars prove awkward off the racetrack, the NSX’s full range of character expands on the open road. On a winding, mountainous stretch, its rare, bubble-like forward visibility, aided by A-pillars that robots bend in 3-D to make them stable but as thin as possible, invited hard driving. Since you see more, you drive with more confidence.
According to Acura, the 2017 MDX will feature upgraded luxury appointments, additional comfort features and a new powertrain technology.
Most importantly, it looks like the updated MDX will no long feature Acura’s divisive “silver beak” front grille that has been a fixture on the brand’s cars for much of the last decade.
“We are sharpening our focus on the Precision Crafted Performance DNA of the Acura brand and the 2017 MDX will integrate new styling elements and powertrain technology that takes us another step in that direction,” American Honda Motor Company executive vice president John Mendel said in a statement.