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2015 Acura NSX Prototype

2015 Acura NSX Prototype

Saturday, December 1st, 2012

When Acura pulled the satiny sheet off of the NSX concept at the Detroit auto show, something unusual happened: There was applause. And we don’t mean the meek golf clap of a couple of newbie journalists or the lone, deliberate thwacking of a smiling PR guy. This was actual, apparently sincere applause for a car. Honda’s U.S. chief, Takanobu Ito, who served on the engineering team for the first NSX, appeared to inflate as he breathed in the goodwill.

Then Acura went for the goodwill kill and revealed that the reincarnation of the first real Japanese supercar would take place largely in the United States. It would be developed and produced in Ohio under the guidance of a guy named Ted. Ted Klaus, that is. He’s the vehicle-dynamics guru alleged to have a backside more golden than anyone else in the company’s U.S. operation. If anyone can pull off a legit new NSX, went the buzz, he’s the guy.

Acura promises that within three years, the NSX will again prowl the world’s highways (and racetracks), looking to embarrass more pure-blooded sports cars. That’s the legacy of the original car that went out of production in 2005. And that’s the high bar that the new NSX will have to surpass to be considered a success.

Unlike the original NSX, which used high technology in pursuit primarily of low weight (aluminum unibody and suspension components, titanium connecting rods), the new car will rely on Honda’s hybrid know-how. Primary power for the rear wheels will come from a mid-mounted, direct-injected V-6. That engine will be bolted to a dual-clutch, paddle-shifted automatic that incorporates an electric motor, similar to Honda’s other hybrid offerings. But that setup will be augmented by two electric motors up front to create a four-wheel-drive arrangement the company is calling, enticingly, Sport Hybrid Super Handling All-Wheel Drive. Perhaps best understood using the more common “torque vectoring” descriptor, this new setup can shuttle acceleration and braking torque from left to right, although here it’s done completely electrically. The system also would allow electric-only front-wheel drive. When the engine is running, we expect the electrified wheels would be called into action only when extra power or traction is needed. This all gets loaded into a tidy package that is ­several inches shorter overall than a Ferrari 458 Italia or a McLaren MP4-12C. That is, if the dimensions of the concept ­represent production specs.

Unlike the nearly half-million-dollar LFA from Acura’s Japanese luxury-car competitor, Lexus, the new NSX should be within reach of the merely rich. We estimate the price to be between the cost of a Porsche 911 and an Audi R8, both prime competitors. So plan on an entry figure of about $110,000. And Acura isn’t shy about saying that the handsome concept is the car it is aiming to build, so don’t expect a design that diverges too much from what you see here.

If the company can manage that, then the hearty round of applause the concept received will have been more than justified. 



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Tags: Acura, NSX, Concept, Prototype

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