Reviews

2017 Acura NSX Walk Around

The new NSX is a sharp, clean wedge with an unfortunate extreme and cartoonish grille that destroys any classic supercar style. Acura designers need to go to Ferrari school and learn from the Italians what style is all about. But maybe the grille is appropriate because it serves to announce that this car is nothing if not a huge, successful compromise. It shouts out of a very big mouth, “I’m the hottest and flashiest Acura ever made!”

The massive mesh air intakes at the corners are fine, powerfully functional, and the framed wing-like LED lights are thin and lovely, but the big mouth in the middle steals your attention and makes you want to turn away, like scary clown lips.

From the side and three-quarter rear, when you don’t have to look at the grille, it looks fabulous. Especially from the rear, because it has gorgeous clean hips, broad and chiseled fenders that begin the wedge forward. And the side has sharp aerodynamic edges, with cool ducts all over the place.

Air flows over the low roof and down the backlight, guided into the engine bay and to the clutch cooler, through cooling ducts on the rear fenders; the air comes out through large ducts at the rear. There’s a conservative spoiler that, along with a diffuser and telegraphic taillight slots, generates downforce.

Interior

There was a lot of emphasis put on ergonomics in the cabin, so much that Acura came up with a design name for it: human-centric. One example of this human-centrism is that the head of a six foot-six inch driver can fit under the roof, and his or her legs can fit under the steering wheel and onto the pedals.

That said, human-centric might only apply to humans willing to come up with extra cash in order to be centric in Acura’s eyes. The standard four-way manual seat, with a fixed bottom cushion, isn’t as humanly centric as the optional power leather-and-suede seat with lumbar adjustment.

One shocking contradiction is the Honda Pilot-like transmission pushbuttons. There’s no lever for the right hand. At least there are paddle shifters, in addition to the pushbuttons that you might not be able to bear to use because they remind you that your $160,000 or $180,000 car borrows parts from a Honda SUV.

Another example of Acura’s human-centricism might be the basic arrangement of controls on the center console, what Acura calls Simple Sports Interface. However the 8.0-inch digital display isn’t exactly centered around the human, or even pointed toward him or her; the virtual gauges hang on an odd plane, tilted away from the driver. The screen has a big tach that shows in different colors, based on the driving mode.

The flat-topped and flat-bottomed steering wheel contains controls that function a second screen, for the audio and available navigation. Around that screen there are swaths of metallic trim that also outline the dashboard and the rest of the controls. So is a carbon-fiber trim kit that looks just like similar treatments in other luxury and performance cars. That is to say, relentlessly showy and somewhat inexpensive.

Metallic trim notwithstanding, the cabin is plush, with a lot of leather and Alcantara. Lightly treated leather is available.

With the width of the NSX, there’s good room for occupants, but not so much for luggage or cargo. The trunk is tiny, at 4.4 cubic feet. And while the forward visibility is excellent, with thin windshield pillars and a low dash, the rearward visibility is wretched, with thick rear pillars and the low seating position. The standard multi-angle rearview camera, and parking sensors, are all the driver has to back up. Look at it this way: you never have to turn your head.

The sounds inside the cabin are sweet, including sweet quiet, if that’s what you like, in Quiet mode. There’s also a tube carrying the exhaust into the cabin, if that’s what you like. The irony is that the natural exhaust, heard from the outside, is ordinary, un-supercar-like. It’s enhanced in the cabin. So you’re kind of fooled into thinking your car sounds cool, when it’s really boring to others.

**Based on current year EPA mileage ratings. Use for comparison purposes only. Your actual mileage will vary, depending on how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, battery pack age/condition (hybrid models only) and other factors.

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