Let’s cut right to the chase.
I was never a fan of the first-generation Acura NSX. In fact, I could rightly be called a critic of the car, introduced in 1990 and produced until 2005. I thought it was boring. A guy who lived down the street from me in Los Angeles owned one and parked it on front of his house. I never once paused to look at it.
Yes, I know the car was a designed by the legendary Pininfarnia. Didn’t matter. I didn’t care.
But the NSX had its fans, and plenty of them. So after a hiatus, Honda (Acrua’s parent company) completely rethought the NSX and rolled out a second-generation of the car. I saw it for the first time at the 2015 New York auto show. My reaction was “Meh.”
Later, I saw different versions of the new NSX. More meh. Images of the interior began circulating. Meh.
Then Acura kindly let us borrow the NSX for a few days.
Oh. My. God.
It was almost head-warping how quickly my mind was changed after just a few minutes with the actual NSX, live and in the flesh, sitting behind the wheel, driving the thing.
It was hypnotically beautiful. It was fast and responsive. It was breathtakingly gorgeous.
The new NSX flat-out ravished me. I can’t remember having such a profoundly rapturous reaction to a car. I could barely speak. Everything I had thought about the car before was wrong, so wrong.
BI’s Ben Zhang sampled the NSX on a fine Connecticut race track and also richly enjoyed the car.
Ultimately, the Ferrari 488 is better. But it’s also hundred of thousands of dollars more expensive. As supercar goes, I don’t think there’s ever been a superior value proposition to the NSX, unless you go for a Corvette Z06 — a front-engined V8 that can be had for under $100,000. The new NSX is of course a mid-engine machine, and consequently more of a proper supercar than than the Vette.
Did I mention that you can extract a ridiculous 22 mpg combined from a car that has a 573-horsepower combined hybrid powerplant!
Did I mention that the other supercars that use the type of powerplant, such as the Porsche 918 Spyder, will set you back a cool million bucks?
There’s just nothing’ you can do with the NSX. Poodle around town? Check. Cruise on the highway? Check. Take it hard into the corners while flipping through the exquisite nine-speed gearbox (well, four or five of them, anyway) and playing with with responsive, juicy throttle response? Check. Punch it in a straight line? Check. Slide around a track? Check. Sit in the driveway and listen to Little Steven’s Underground Garage on Sirius satellite radio? Why not? The seats are pliant enough for napping.
The NSX is also a magnet for the eyes, as the countless passers-by at my house for a few days proved by taking no end of photos and videos of the car. I caught myself looking out the window plenty of times, just to get me a little dose of NSX beauty.
We could call the Audi R8 and maybe the Nissan GT-R or McLaren 570 competitors, but I’d take the NSX any day over those cars. It’s more stylish and comfortable that the R8. It’s far less overexposed than the GT-R. And it won’t beat you into submission like the McLaren 570. Those are all terrific cars, by the way. The NSX is just special-er.
I change my mind all the time. But not about stuff I consider truly fundamental, such as my gut feeling that the old NSX was cultishly unworthy.
But boy, did the new NSX ever do some damage to my pride. And I was more than happy to take the hit.