Competes with: Audi R8, BMW i8, McLaren 570S, Mercedes-AMG GT
Looks like: The 2017-18 NSX
Drivetrain: Twin-turbo V-6 with three electric motors for a combined 573 horsepower; nine-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission and all-wheel drive
Hits dealerships: October 2018
Acura says it updated its NSX, a supercar in just the third model year of its second generation. If that seems too early for a mid-cycle update on the svelte two-seater, well, simmer down. The visual changes are minimal, while a few mechanical changes aim to fine-tune the NSX's handling. More standard features for 2018 amount to some $4,700 in additional value, Acura claims, at the cost of $1,500 to base MSRP. As such, the NSX starts at $159,300, including a $1,800 destination charge, and tops out with factory options at more than 200 large.
On sale in October, it's available for order starting right now.
Picking out the visual changes on a 2019 NSX versus the 2017-18 car is a game of "Where's Waldo" — on one of the harder drawings at that. The bespectacled globetrotter, in this case, is the upper garnish on the NSX's grille: It's now body-colored instead of silver. You also get a new glossy finish on the front and rear bumper openings. For visual changes that apply to every NSX, that's it.
Other visual tweaks involve colors, and they require you to pony up for options ranging from $700 for new paint to $12,600 for wide-ranging carbon-fiber accents. (If you had to ask how much, an exotic supercar probably isn't for you.) Thermal Orange Pearl joins the roster of available colors, with newly available orange calipers if you get the optional carbon-ceramic brakes. The regular brakes can now have red calipers, too; those previously came only with the carbon-ceramic brakes. Finally, the carbon-fiber decklid spoiler and carbon-fiber ground effects, both optional, have a glossy finish instead of the previous matte look.
Changes for the NSX's two-seat cabin involve colors and equipment. Alcantara-and-leather upholstery can come in regular or semi-aniline leather grades, the latter with a new color (blue) for 2019. Full semi-aniline leather seats remain optional, with red (previously available with the leather-and-Alcantara choice only) now available. Power-adjustable seats, a navigation system, ELS Studio premium stereo, proximity sensors and aluminum pedals also join the list of standard equipment.
Track enthusiasts can still get the NSX's lightweight manual seats as a no-cost option. Sadly, common-sense enthusiasts still can't get physical stereo controls, which Acura parent Honda has introduced elsewhere for this head unit amid a return to sanity. The 2019 NSX keeps its touch-sensitive stereo controls, including an infernal volume slider — hardly the first slider to stink, but hopefully the last.
Under the Hood
With standard torque-vectoring all-wheel drive, the NSX continues to pair a twin-turbo V-6 with three electric motors: one with the engine to drive the rear wheels, plus one apiece to drive the left and right front wheels. A nine-speed, dual-clutch automatic transmission gets the drivetrain's combined 573 horsepower and 476 pounds-feet of torque to the ground. Four driving modes — Quiet, Sport, Sport Plus and Track — change myriad components to turn the NSX from a daily driver to a track machine. (Yes, really.)
Rejiggered hardware for 2019 includes thicker stabilizer bars at both axles plus stiffer rear toe-link bushings. That joins recalibrated settings for the AWD, adjustable shock absorbers, power steering and electronic stability system. Finally, new Continental ContiSportContact 6 tires replace the outgoing ContiSportContact 5P rubber. Dimensions are unchanged, and Pirelli P Zero Trofeo R tires remain optional. Acura claims the sum total of changes make for better precision at the limits when you try to modulate understeer or slide the tail around with throttle inputs.
The 2019 Acura NSX is set to make its debut at Monterey Car Week in California.
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