Acura NSX Hybrid’s Long Wait Almost Over
The Acura NSX supercar is taking a long time to reach the reality of showrooms, years after the automaker’s late-2011 announcement that it would be offering a successor to the original NSX. It’s now expected to begin manufacturing in Marysville, Ohio in spring 2016. When it goes on sale in a time frame that sees competitors introducing early 2017 models, NSX fans will have been waiting over four years to witness the model’s rebirth. By all indicators it will be worth the wait.
Acura has taken a rather innovative approach in creating the NSX successor that replaces the previous generation last seen in 2005. The new NSX is an all-wheel-drive hybrid with power supplied by a 3.5-liter, mid-ship V-6 and three permanent-magnet synchronous AC electric motors. It will produce an expected 500-plus horsepower.
The V-6 is all-new and shares nothing with other Honda/Acura engines. Its 75-degree 3.5-liter DOHC V-6 features dry sump lubrication, twin turbochargers, and intercooling. The engine is mated to a new, nine-speed dual-clutch transmission integrated with the rear electric motor. This motor, mounted at the front of the transaxle, can power the NSX up to 50 mph for only a few miles since the car’s lithium-ion battery is limited in capacity. The rear motor’s primary purpose is to add torque when needed for maximum performance.
Up front there’s a Twin Motor Unit consisting of two smaller electric motors, each powering a front wheel via a planetary gearset. When used with the rear brakes, this provide a torque-vectoring capability. The driver can select between quiet, sport, sport-plus, and track modes to tailor the driving experience.
Much has been done to keep weight down and the center of gravity low. For starters, there is a carbon-fiber floor panel and part of the rear subframe uses proprietary aluminum-casting technology for stiffness and low weight. The aluminum-intensive space-frame structure is joined together by self-piercing rivets, flow-drill screws, welding, and much adhesive. High-strength steel is used in the super-thin A-pillars. The hood and doors are aluminum while the fenders are SMC, a common form of fiberglass. An aluminum or carbon-fiber roof can be ordered.
Performance is expected to include a 0–60 mph time of 2.7 seconds, 0–100 mph in 6.4 seconds, and a 190 mph top speed. Plus, as if that kind of performance excitement isn’t enough, an even hotter version is planned. For those who can afford the price of entry, the coming Acura NSX will mean that gasoline-electric hybrid power has never looked so good.