When we talk about great cars, what are the first vehicles that come to your mind? For the European super car lover, the names of Ferrari, Maserati, Jaguar, Lamborghini, Porsche, Bugatti and McLaren will immediately be brought up. For the muscle car lovers, we have the likes of Pontiac, Holden, Chevrolet, Oldsmobile, Buick and Oldsmobile. For classic cars, we have the Mercedes Benz, Rolls Royce, Mercer, Stutz and Cadillac.
Whether they are sports cars, classics, antiques, hot rods or muscle cars, seldom will you see a Japanese-made car in the list. Maybe it is because it has not yet established the tradition or garnered the years of experience that the other car brands have mustered. Not that Japanese cars have yet to be accepted in the West as they have actually gained a significant share in both European and North American markets already. Only two, however, have gotten high acclaim for its built and power. These are the Evolution of Mitsubishi and the Acura NSX of Honda.
The Acura NSX Story
The Acura NSX was a mid-engine car built from 1990 to 2005 by the Japanese car giant Honda. The car was actually known as the Honda NSX all over the world, but was marketed as the Acura NSX in North America and Hong Kong. It had a rear wheel drive layout and was powered by an all-aluminum V6 gasoline engine. The engine featured Honda’s patented Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control System, or VTEC.
The car proved to be a hit as the design practically rewrote the book on what an exotic two-seat sports car should look like. The lightweight construction made primarily of aluminum and the VTEC-equipped V6-powered engine were thought to be revolutionary at that time. Other similar cars from Italy that had mid-engines as well boasted of V8 and V12 engines. The Acura NSX more than made up for it by his dependability, easier handling and better maintenance record.
During its successful run of almost 16 years, the Acura NSX remained true to its basic design principles and automotive engineering. Only slight upgrades in the engine and subtle changes in the car aesthetics were made all throughout. There was no need to reinvent the wheel and change the design to an acclaimed and popular car. Honda cashed in on the vehicle until 2005, when it finally ended its production.
Planned Comeback and Upgrade
Two years after ending production, Honda revisited the Acura NSX model and decided it was time to make a comeback. There were arguments however within the company whether to have a new V8 or V10 engine to power the vehicle.
The chairman at that time, Takeo Fukai, decided to go with a new V10 engine to reflect the efforts of Honda which had been participating in the Formula 1 circuit. He ordered the design and engineering team of Acura NSX to build a new model with a target release in 2010.
Not long afterwards, in December 2008, Fukai cancelled both the Formula 1 program of Honda and the new Acura NSX project. He cited the global economic downturn as the main reason behind the decision.
Project Revival and Going Back to its Roots
Takanobu Ito, the successor to Fukai, then decided to revive the project. A new Acura NSX concept car was then born.
Rather than continuing with the conventional V10 engine originally proposed by Ito’s predecessor, the Acura NSX has gone back to its roots and is using the old reliable V6 engine. The engine has a capacity of 3.5 liters and features a rear wheel layout with a seven-speed dual clutch transmission. This time around, however, the front wheels will be driven through the use of hybrid technology.
This system is actually similar in a way to the ones found on Acura sedans. It is called the Super Handling All Wheel Drive, though it is turned around compared to the sedans to allow the front axle driven by two electric motors mounted inboard to be housed in a single casing.
The 2014 Acura NSX prototype also has razor sharp turn ins because it utilizes torque vectoring. The V6 engine in itself is capable of producing 310 hp. When you add the motors, which are powered by a lithium-ion battery pack, to the V6 engine power, an additional 100 hp is generated for a total of 400 hp.
How good will that be? Well, it is so good that tests have indicated that the 2014 Acura NSX can actually accelerate from zero to 60 miles per hour in just about 3 seconds.
Just like the popular Acura NSX of the 1990s and 2000s, the 2014 Acura NSX will be made mostly of aluminum. The footprint should be neat as well. The wheelbase will measure 101.4 inches with overall measurement being 170.5 inches. The car will stand 45.7 inches tall and will have a width of 74.6 inches.
For the wheels, the front will measure 19 x 9 inches while the rear shod will be 20 x 10 inches. The 2014 Acura NSX will use tires measuring 255/35R – 19 for the front and 275/30R – 20 for the back.
Promotion and Production
Those of you who watched the movie “The Avengers” have gotten a glimpse of the 2014 Acura NSX at the end of the movie when the character of Robert Downey Jr. drove off with the character of Mark Ruffalo. Those are Iron Man and Incredible Hulk using a car that is not even in the market yet.
Popular comedians and television personalities Jerry Seinfeld and Jay Leno have also appeared in an advertisement arguing who should get the very first 2014 Acura NSX. Both Seinfeld and Leno are known car enthusiasts, with Leno snapping up all types of collectibles and Seinfeld concentrating mostly on Porsches.
Honda plans to have the car built in one of its facility in Ohio, probably to offset the high value of the yen. Expect the 2014 Acura NSX to command a hefty price, however. Initial reports have it that the car would sell above $100,000.