Cars

The 2017 Acura NSX Rubs Elbows with New Fans in Detroit

The production version of this long-awaited sportscar made a stylish American debut at the Detroit Auto Show.

Acura NSX is Polished and Speedy Sports Car Luxury

There weren’t very many exciting cars this year at the Detroit Auto Show. Ford’s GT and Lexus’ LC 500 were both inspiring offerings; so was Hyundai’s Genesis Vision G.

Acura, though, had perhaps the best-placed new sports car—the 2017 production NSX. This is the pace car from the Pike’s Peak Hill Climb last year; Acura used the race as a way to show off its nimble, fast, super gutsy then-prototype.

The Ford Motor Co. 2017 GT vehicle sits on display during the 2016 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, Michigan, U.S., on Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2016. Last year's auto show featured 55 vehicle introductions, a majority of which were worldwide debuts, and was attended by over 5,000 journalists from 60 countries. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg
The 2017 Acura NSX will begin production later this spring.
Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

At the time it was covered in crazy racing stripes that screamed speed—after all, the car was the lead in arguably the most dangerous road race in the US (drivers or motorcycle riders die nearly every year). It had some rough edges along the side and rear; things like the side-view mirrors weren’t exactly in-tact all of the time.

Back then, too, even though I rode in the car with professional driver Sage Marie up and down that 14,000-foot peak, I couldn’t so much as take one photograph inside the car. Acura forbade any photographs or video of the interior because of how unfinished it was, with a few wires peeking out of the sides and less-than-luxe trim on the seats and dash.

An Acura NSX is photographed with a long exposure as it rotates on a turntable at the company's display at the 2016 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
An Acura NSX is photographed with a long exposure as it rotates on a turntable at the company's display at the 2016 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
Photographer: Geoff Robins/AFP/Getty Images

What a difference a year makes.

This time we saw the NSX in all its full glory: Gleaming Casino-white paint over a body sculpted to such precision that even the gas cap folded in half to fit perfectly along the rear hip line. The front of the car dips down in the most debutante-ball elegant bow as the body lines shoot toward the angled back; the rear ends in a gentle point at the middle of the car, pushing it forward visually along with the rest.

This car has sport packages that give it ample amounts of carbon fiber—along the floorboards, along the grill line, and totally encapsulating the roof. Plus it has carbon-ceramic brakes with red calipers, multiple smart drive modes, and combination leather-Alcantara sport seats that are among the most comfortable, most supportive I’ve ever felt. (The Alcantara grips; the leather cools. It’s a perfect combo.)

The NSX has a V6, 573-horsepower hybrid engine.
The NSX has a V6, 573-horsepower hybrid engine.
Photographer: Todd Korol/Toronto Star via Getty Images

Acura has given the NSX a turbocharged 573-horsepower V6 engine that is also paired with three electric motors. I have yet to officially drive this car, but based off my experience in Colorado, the immediate torque of an electric motor combined with the sustained power of a turbocharged engine is incredibly fast and furious, with maximum thrust at the low end of the 9-speed transmission and all-wheel-drive. The 0-60mph sprint time will be right around 3 seconds. Feel free to compare it directly to something along the lines of the Audi R8 (Acura says the car was also developed to go against the Ferrari 458, though that might be a bit of a stretch).

Pricing on the NSX starts at $156,000 (with upgrades it’ll hit $195,000). Production starts later this spring.

Michelle Christensen designed the 2017 Acura NSX.
Michelle Christensen designed the 2017 Acura NSX.
Photographer: Bob Chamberlin/LA Times via Getty Images
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