The Truth About Cars » Acura NSX http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Fri, 12 Sep 2014 16:56:11 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Acura NSX http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Acura NSX Prototype Flame Broiled on Burgerkingring http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/acura-nsx-prototype-flame-broiled-on-burgerkingring/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/acura-nsx-prototype-flame-broiled-on-burgerkingring/#comments Fri, 25 Jul 2014 13:35:04 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=872898 It’s been years now since Honda introduced a new generation Acura NSX as a concept and it looks like it may take even more time to reach production since the prototype that was recently spotted testing at the Nurburgring circuit has been pretty much destroyed, apparently the victim of an engine compartment fire.   The […]

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It’s been years now since Honda introduced a new generation Acura NSX as a concept and it looks like it may take even more time to reach production since the prototype that was recently spotted testing at the Nurburgring circuit has been pretty much destroyed, apparently the victim of an engine compartment fire.

 

The fire looks to have been unrelated to the electric drive that powers the all-wheel-drive hybrid supercar’s front wheels. Germany’s Motor Talk reports that the test drivers were able to exit the car without injury but that the NSX prototype appears to be a complete write-off. Though Honda would not comment, a photographer who witnessed the incident said that the fire started in the engine compartment and subsequently spread into the passenger compartment and trunk.

While fires involving the Chevy Volt, Fisker Karma and Tesla Model S have raised the issue of electric and hybrid vehicles’ fire safety (mostly out of proportion to the actual fire risk of EVs), the batteries that supply current to the two electric motors up front in the NSX were reportedly not involved in the fire.

The incident has incidentally has allowed us a look at the NSX’s construction. Composite body panels (which melted in the fire) are mounted to an aluminum unibody, not entirely unlike the Pontiac Fiero, thought the little mid-engine Pontiac had a superstructure made of steel.

More photos here.

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can get a parallax view at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading – RJS

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2015 Acura NSX Spied At The Burgerkingring http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/2015-acura-nsx-spied-at-the-burgerkingring/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/2015-acura-nsx-spied-at-the-burgerkingring/#comments Wed, 23 Jul 2014 18:25:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=872322 My own hearing isn’t quite good enough to pick up on the engine noises here, but I swear I heard a few turbo sounds in this very short clip. Maybe Acura will get around to releasing the damn thing soon enough.

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My own hearing isn’t quite good enough to pick up on the engine noises here, but I swear I heard a few turbo sounds in this very short clip. Maybe Acura will get around to releasing the damn thing soon enough.

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Chicago 1989: Where Are They Now? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/chicago-1989-where-are-they-now/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/chicago-1989-where-are-they-now/#comments Thu, 06 Feb 2014 17:10:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=735185 The 2014 Chicago Auto Show marks the 25th anniversary of the introduction of two of God’s most perfect creations: The Mazda Miata and the Acura NSX. Long-time readers will know that I have a strong affinity for both of these cars. The Miata was the first car I ever owned, while the NSX remains a […]

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The 2014 Chicago Auto Show marks the 25th anniversary of the introduction of two of God’s most perfect creations: The Mazda Miata and the Acura NSX. Long-time readers will know that I have a strong affinity for both of these cars. The Miata was the first car I ever owned, while the NSX remains a focal point in my relationship with the automobile.

Automobile Magazine takes a look at both of those cars, as well as three others – the Lexus LS400, the Infiniti Q45 and the Nissan 300ZX – in what is considered to be a very strong draft class for the Japanese auto industry. Four of the five cars still exist in one form or another, with the NSX said to be just around the corner – though that’s been the word since it was discontinued roughly a decade ago.

Perhaps the most remarkable aspect is that even today, these cars still stand the test of time, whether it’s a pristinely preserved Miata or a tired LS400. Get behind the wheel of any of them, and they still manage to thrill and excite, even if they don’t seem quite so fresh.

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Next Acura NSX To Get Twin-Turbo V6, As Honda Moves Towards Forced Induction http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/next-acura-nsx-to-get-twin-turbo-v6-as-honda-moves-towards-forced-induction/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/next-acura-nsx-to-get-twin-turbo-v6-as-honda-moves-towards-forced-induction/#comments Tue, 19 Nov 2013 16:59:42 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=655930 The naturally aspirated engine has always been a cornerstone of Honda’s engineering philosophy, but the company looks set to abandon that in the near future, with a move to turbocharged engines happening by the end of the decade. Mainstream applications will see a 1.0L 3-cylinder engine  and both a 1.5L and 2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder engines, […]

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The naturally aspirated engine has always been a cornerstone of Honda’s engineering philosophy, but the company looks set to abandon that in the near future, with a move to turbocharged engines happening by the end of the decade.

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Mainstream applications will see a 1.0L 3-cylinder engine  and both a 1.5L and 2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder engines, with the 2.0L variant making as much as 280 horsepower. The big-bore application will be debuting in the next-generation Civic Type-R, and all three engines will incorporate VTEC variable valve timing. North American applications have yet to be confirmed.

The 1.5L engine will be a go for North America, in vehicles like the Acura ILX, Honda Civic and even the Accord. Honda envisions the 1.5L unit as a replacement for naturally aspirated 1.8L units, delivering 15 percent gains in fuel economy while besting it in torque by as much as 45 percent.

A new 8-speed dual-clutch gearbox will debut alongside the 7-speed unit Honda has developed, though according to Automotive News, the 8-speed unit will be mated to a torque converter to help increase smoothness. Dual clutch gearboxes will be prominent in vehicles with engine sizes ranging from 2.0 to 3.0L, while CVTs will be the main gearbox in smaller vehicles, even replacing manual transmissions. On larger vehicles like the Odyssey minivan, the automatic transmission will remain.

Perhaps the most exciting news is that of the NSX and its future powertrain. Honda will be going with a longitudinal layout (rather than the old NSXs transverse layout) for its V6 engine, which will now pack twin turbochargers. Honda hasn’t announced displacement figures for the V6, only saying that it may not be larger than the RLX’s 3.5L unit. With a similar Sport-Hybrid All-Wheel Drive setup, the RLX is good for 370 horsepower while getting 30 mpg combined. With turbocharging and perhaps a more aggressive hybrid setup, the NSX could easily top 500 horsepower, while being substantially lighter.

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A Trip To The Honda Museum http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/06/a-trip-to-the-honda-museum/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/06/a-trip-to-the-honda-museum/#comments Mon, 17 Jun 2013 14:19:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=492083 Two weeks ago, Honda kind enough to throw open the doors of their museum in Torrance, California, which houses a collection of significant vehicles sold by the company. There’s something for everyone here, from the smallest N600 to the NSX, along with all sorts of detritus located in a secret corner of the warehouse space. […]

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Two weeks ago, Honda kind enough to throw open the doors of their museum in Torrance, California, which houses a collection of significant vehicles sold by the company. There’s something for everyone here, from the smallest N600 to the NSX, along with all sorts of detritus located in a secret corner of the warehouse space. Allow us to take you on a virtual tour below the jump.

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The N600 – one of Honda’s first efforts in North America, and a striking doppleganger for the original Mini, no? It wouldn’t surprise me if Honda was “inspired” by Sir Alec’s creation.

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The funkier looking Z600.

LosAngelesJune6th 046Speaking as someone who was born long after these cars had oxidized, I was amazed at how thin the door panels were compared to modern cars.

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In the corner were some wheels and tires for a 1973 Civic. They don’t look much bigger than my go-kart tires.

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A 1973 Civic. That same year, one of my Grandfather’s congregants approached him and said “Rabbi, I am selling a new car, from Japan. It’s called the Honda Civic.” My grandfather was a die-hard Detroit guy up until then, but he took a chance on Mr. Reddinger’s new car. People laughed at him…until winter came, and he had no problems with traction. Or filling up the gas tank. My grandparents drove the car until it literally fell apart. My grandfather’s last car was a 1991 Accord that he purchased off my Dad.

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A Civic wagon.

LosAngelesJune6th 058The interior is, as Bring-A-Trailer would say, “period correct”. I haven’t seen red/burgundy upholstery since the early 1990′s Chevrolet Lumina.

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Hang on to your hands, B&B. A brown wagon with a manual transmission. This one has 68 original miles.

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I am digging the houndstooth fabric seat covers. It looks like one of my father’s old sport coats.

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A Civic Si hatch.

LosAngelesJune6th 067These EF sedans were a staple of my childhood. Every year, my mother would get a new one, always in white.

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Sadly, this car is automatic.

LosAngelesJune6th 070Inside the museum is a replica of the first American Honda store at 4077 West Pico in Los Angeles. Outside sit an N600 and something on two wheels.

LosAngelesJune6th 072Inside is a veritable treasure trove of Honda goodies…

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All those 10 Best awards for the Accord? They have to go somewhere.

LosAngelesJune6th 076Badges of all kinds.

LosAngelesJune6th 074An oil painting of Senna during the McLaren years

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Old brochures

LosAngelesJune6th 079And even this diorama. I suppose that’s Asimo about to dock a spacecraft with a Ridgeline.

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Across from the Civics was a row dedicated to the Accord. What a metamorphosis it’s gone through, from hatchback

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To brown sedan

LosAngelesJune6th 093To tan sedan (with flip-up lights)

LosAngelesJune6th 096To station wagon (another relic of the Kreindler family. My brother and I threw up in the back of countless examples of these)

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To coupe. And they all had 4-cylinder engines.

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Acura wasn’t forgotten either.

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Nor were Honda’s greener efforts.

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But this is what I was really here to see.

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Next to the Insights and fuel cell concepts sat a 1991 NSX with 80,000+ miles on it. Almost like a middle finger to the green cars. The outside looked pretty, but the inside was actually fairly worn and ratty.

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Not that it matters. Honda has this 78-mile 2004 example as well.

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And what might be the last unmolested Integra Type-R.

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The iconic RealTime Racing cars were in attendance

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As well as a more dubious example of a “race car”

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This, however, is the real deal.

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A beautiful example of a CRX Si.

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Alongside it, an earlier Si as well as a real-life Mugen version.

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Behind them, an original ad for the U.S. built Accord coupe, which was exported to Japan briefly.

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I asked the curator if I could drive an NSX during my visit. Unfortunately, they didn’t have enough time to prepare one, but they did have this kicking around. So, you’ll have to excuse me.

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Arigato gozaimasu, Honda-san

Thank you to American Honda and Brad Long for opening their doors to TTAC!

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NSX Gives Acura A Branding Headache http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/05/nsx-gives-acura-a-branding-headache/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/05/nsx-gives-acura-a-branding-headache/#comments Mon, 27 May 2013 17:15:35 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=489717 When the NSX was last available for sale, the rest of the world knew it as a Honda product. But now that the next-generation NSX is intended to be a flagship for the Acura brand, Honda has run into a small problem – Acura doesn’t exist in much of the world. So far, Acura has […]

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When the NSX was last available for sale, the rest of the world knew it as a Honda product. But now that the next-generation NSX is intended to be a flagship for the Acura brand, Honda has run into a small problem – Acura doesn’t exist in much of the world.

So far, Acura has expanded into China, Hong Kong and Mexico. Plans are in place to roll the brand out in Russia, the Ukraine and the Middle East, but Western Europe is off limits for now due to the region’s economic slump. But plans are in place to roll out the Ohio-built next generation NSX across the globe, and Honda will have to make a decision about whether to badge it as a Honda (like last time) or roll it out as a stand-alone Acura vehicle.

Honda dealers in the UK are reportedly taking orders for the car already, despite not having any distribution for Acura products. One way or another, it seems like the NSX will get a global roll-out.

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Ayrton Senna’s NSX Road Tested In Brazil http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/04/ayrton-sennas-nsx-road-tested-in-brazil/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/04/ayrton-sennas-nsx-road-tested-in-brazil/#comments Thu, 18 Apr 2013 11:00:26 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=485257 Fans of the Acura NSX have long wondered about Ayrton Senna’s personal NSXs. Little information was known, aside from a couple rumors on his Wikipedia page, and a few Youtube videos showing him driving both a red prototype and a white NSX-R. While often seen with a red example, it turns out that Senna’s personal […]

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Fans of the Acura NSX have long wondered about Ayrton Senna’s personal NSXs. Little information was known, aside from a couple rumors on his Wikipedia page, and a few Youtube videos showing him driving both a red prototype and a white NSX-R.

While often seen with a red example, it turns out that Senna’s personal ride in Brazil was a black version (the best color, in my opinion). This 1993 model has just 5600 km on the odometer and slightly different headlamps compared to North American models. The red one was apparently kept by Senna in Portugal and was for sale at one point. The black one is under the care of Senna’s family. While the write-up is in Portuguese, running it through Google Translate won’t yield too much new information about the car. Nevertheless, it’s a cool bit of trivia for fans of Senna, or Honda’s legendary sports car.

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Happy Birthday Ayrton Senna http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/03/happy-birthday-ayrton-senna/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/03/happy-birthday-ayrton-senna/#comments Thu, 21 Mar 2013 13:46:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=481936 Ayrton Senna would have been 53 today. To celebrate the life of an extraordinary man, here’s a video of the world’s best racing driver piloting my all-time favorite car around Suzuka.

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Click here to view the embedded video.

Ayrton Senna would have been 53 today. To celebrate the life of an extraordinary man, here’s a video of the world’s best racing driver piloting my all-time favorite car around Suzuka.

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NAIAS Winners And Losers http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/01/naias-winners-and-losers/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/01/naias-winners-and-losers/#comments Wed, 16 Jan 2013 14:00:03 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=473975 2013′s edition of the Detroit Auto Show is the first I’ve covered for TTAC, and it serves as a nice break from the world of low-cost cars, overcapacity and Bertel’s daily demands for Facebook photos of my attractive female friends. Since I was the sole journalist covering the show, most of the coverage was limited […]

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2013′s edition of the Detroit Auto Show is the first I’ve covered for TTAC, and it serves as a nice break from the world of low-cost cars, overcapacity and Bertel’s daily demands for Facebook photos of my attractive female friends. Since I was the sole journalist covering the show, most of the coverage was limited to photos and a brief bit of information on the car. But since you all come here to read my semi-informed pontifications for some added context regarding the auto industry  I’ve assembled this handy guide to NAIAS 2013, free of any regurgitated press release info or PR pap. Enjoy, and send any angry criticisms/threats of press fleet acesses revocation to derek at ttac dot com

Winner – Ford: Without a doubt, the big winner at NAIAS is Ford. The F-150 is America’s best-selling vehicle, and the Atlas concept is an early preview of what to expect. Sources tell me that the concept was so hush-hush that most employees heard about it only through Ford’s internal news channels or car blogs. The same source claims that while things like wheel-mounted active aero shutters are still in flux, we will see more exotic metals like aluminum and magnesium in play for the next F-Series.

Winner- Cadillac: The General’s lone bright spot at the show. Cadillac’s ELR is what an advanced hybrid/electric/range extender (whatever you want to call it) vehicle should look like. Power is up, all-electric range is down (due to the 20″ wheels and increased power perhaps?) and if enough celebrities are seen driving it, it could be the next status symbol for those wealthy enough to advocate for green causes. The ATS also won North American Car of the Year. Not my choice, but another trophy for GM’s cabinet.

Winner – VW/Audi: VW and Audi were mobbed for so long after their press conferences that it was hard to get photos of their debuts (which will come later). Volkswagen debuted a new Crossover concept with three rows of seats, while Audi debuted the SQ5 and the RS7. All of the vehicles on the Audi stand were immensely desirable and made the BMW and Mercedes products look like reasonable facsimiles of desirable luxury vehicles. I am more convinced than ever that Volkswagen Group’s goal of 1 million units in America by 2018 is feasible, and Audi will likely reach their 200,000 unit sales goal as well.

Loser – Electric Vehicles: Where were the EVs? Nissan announced a price drop for the Leaf to $28,200, but that was the big news for EVs. Tesla had a Model X on display, but its profile was minimal compared to pretty much every other product at the show. While hybrid powertrains continue to go from strength to strength, EVs are slowly losing their grasp of the limelight, existing largely as a PR/Government relations tool rather than a viable transportation alternative.

Loser – Mercedes-Benz/BMW: The unrelenting thirst for volume comes in the form of brand-debasing cheapo lease specials. The CLA and 320i will sell…err, lease, in serious numbers to legions of insecure strivers who can pay $399 a month. But at what cost to the “premium” image of the two brands?

Loser – Chevrolet: Reaction to the C7 Corvette has been “mixed”. Reaction on the internet was positive, but the buzz on the show floor was not as enthusiastic. Personally, I think it is overwrought, riddled with too many vents and gills and crap. Yes, the interior has been improved…at the expense of the exterior. The GM trucks are just as underwhelming in person as they are in photos, and they stayed locked for most of the press days. Not an encouraging sign. With the Ram 1500 now competitive, and the F-150 as good as ever “good enough” is a recipe for diminishing market share in the full-size truck market.

Draw – Infiniti Q50/Lexus IS: Two new luxury sedans competing in the same class. The Infiniti’s exterior is striking and agressive, while the Lexus has the better interior. Traditionally, the Lexus could be written off as the inferior car for the enthusiastic driver – but with the overall competence of the GS, it’s impossible to rule the Lexus.

Draw – Hyundai HCD 14 Genesis Concept/ Acura RLX: A Hyundai source tells me that a lot of the outlandish details of the HCD 14, will not make it to production, but the next generation Genesis will not be as staid and generic as the current car. Let’s hope the overall profile remains, but that front grille has got to go. Meanwhile at Acura, the RLX was utterly ignored, no thanks to the generic exterior styling. Inside, however, is a different story. The cabin is beautifully finished, with immense amounts of leg room in the rear seat. You really feel like you’re in a luxury car. The SH-AWD could be a ground breaking car technologically, but I can’t imagine this car selling in any sort of volume.

Draw - Honda: Honda was back…and nobody noticed. The Accord is riding high on a wave of praise, the Civic is no longer the automotive media’s official whipping boy and the NSX could be viewed up close by appointment only. And the appointment book was pretty much full. Yet nobody seemed to pay too much attention to Honda’s new debuts, from the RLX, the MDX (nearly identical to the current version) and the Urban SUV Concept (a surprisingly fresh and interesting design from a company not known for such things).

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Acura NSX Concept, Now With 100 Percent More Interior http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/01/acura-nsx-concept-now-with-100-percent-more-interior/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/01/acura-nsx-concept-now-with-100-percent-more-interior/#comments Tue, 15 Jan 2013 15:46:44 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=473896 Contrary to rumors, Acura is not debuting the production NSX at NAIAS. Instead, it’s another iteration of the NSX concept, this time with an interior (shown above). Very LFA-esque.

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Contrary to rumors, Acura is not debuting the production NSX at NAIAS. Instead, it’s another iteration of the NSX concept, this time with an interior (shown above). Very LFA-esque.

Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail NSX Interior. Photo courtesy AutoExpress. honda-nsx-front

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How I Used Godzilla To Crash The Toronto International Film Festival http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/09/how-i-used-godzilla-to-crash-the-toronto-international-film-festival/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/09/how-i-used-godzilla-to-crash-the-toronto-international-film-festival/#comments Fri, 14 Sep 2012 15:06:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=459944 For one week every September, the residents of Toronto are paralyzed with awe, any notion of rational thought gone with the proverbial wind, as The Centre of the Universe braces for an influx of Hollywood A-Listers, B-Listers and A-List hanger-on types during the Toronto International Film Festival. TIFF, as it’s known, is a great attraction […]

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For one week every September, the residents of Toronto are paralyzed with awe, any notion of rational thought gone with the proverbial wind, as The Centre of the Universe braces for an influx of Hollywood A-Listers, B-Listers and A-List hanger-on types during the Toronto International Film Festival. TIFF, as it’s known, is a great attraction for the city, bringing in free-spending tourists and some mild cultural cachet to a city that still battles a wicked inferiority complex.

Not that said inferiority complex isn’t still warranted. Any illusions harbored anywhere that Toronto is a “world-class city” on par with New York, Paris or London are immediately shattered by the presence of throngs of starfuckers, stacked six-deep outside the city’s luxury hotels. Wide-eyed, open-mouthed, cameras (some of the mobile phone variety) in hand, waiting to catch a glimpse of somebody, anybody famous. Naturally, I just drove right past them and pulled up to the damn door.

The GT-R may not wear the most prestigious badge in the wuuurrrrrllddd, but the general public all knows what it is. Well, let’s be real. Men between the ages of 18 and 34 all know what it is. Our ride to the Ritz was plagued by bad timing at the stop lights, and every single halt brought an onslaught of catcalls from this demographic, with some combination of “sick” “ride” and “bro” used each time. The adoration of the Axe-washed masses was gratifying. The ride quality, not so much.

Toronto’s roads, perpetually pockmarked and pot holed, are the great undoing of the GT-R’s chassis. Even with the shocks set to “Comfort”, it rides like the back of a short bus, with the bumpstops seemingly made of limestone. “Damping” is a theoretical concept here, since the car seems to crash over every single imperfection in the road.

It took some time to get out of the downtown core and escape its busted roads, but once we were free, the GT-R’s mythical performance characteristics duly emerged, and revealed a resemblance to another Japanese legend; the Mitsubishi Evo MR. It makes sense, really. Both the Nissan and the Mitsu have turbocharged powerplants, twin-clutch transmissions and all-wheel drive. Both have their roots in much more pedestrian offerings — the Evo is a tarted up Lancer, while previous GT-Rs were tarted up Skyline family sedans and the current car shares some aspects of the Infiniti G37’s platform which are deliberately ignored by the majority of the Internet. And, of course, both offer superlative driving experiences.

They’re not that different either. In the Evo, you hit the paddle to execute a downshift, wait for the decidedly non-best-of-breed dual clutch gearbox to downshift, wait again for the turbo to spool, and soon you’re propelled down the road at speeds that endanger the lives of everyone in your vicinity. There is more turbo-and-intake wooshing and driveline whine than actual engine growling, but it seems appropriate for a car that is more digital than analog.

The GT-R is much bigger, and much faster, but the gearbox still feels a little slow and antiquated, and it doesn’t project it’s voice in the way a Z06 ‘Vette or a European exotic would. Did I mention it’s fast, planted and utterly foolproof to drive quickly? My initial drives in a GT-R were a little underwhelming, in that it felt like a point-and-shoot sports car that required zero finesse or skill. After many miles on the road and a few on a road course, I still feel that way, but boy is it fun to stomp the throttle and annihilate everything in sight. The Mitsubishi claws back some of the quantitative gap in the qualitative aspects; where the Evo has a steering system that can be adjusted in microns, the GT-R feels a little ponderous and numb. Porsche may need to look over their shoulder with regards to Nuburgring lap times, but even the EPAS in the 991 (wrongly despised by those who don’t know better) has the GT-R beat hands down.

From the anonymous crush of the Gardiner Expressway, it was a quick hop to the Ritz, where we pulled in to the driveway and were greeted by an onslaught of valets. They didn’t take us for anybody important (all the VIPs are being shuttled in black Audis, courtesy of the brand’s sponsorship agreement with TIFF), but they were excited to see the GT-R. It ended up being parked in a row with an all original Acura NSX, a C5 Corvette and a McLaren MP4-12C. Anyone looking for an example of model bloat should put these three in a row. My crappy iPhone camera couldn’t capture them all properly, but the GT-R is absolutely gargantuan next to the lithe aluminum Acura.

The crowds nestled behind the barricades weren’t as astute as the valets. As my co-driver and I prepared to exit the car, we saw rows and rows of cameras and camera phones at the ready, waiting for someone important to exit the GT-R. When they saw our hairless scalps emerge from the cockpit, there was a barely audible sigh as they realized we were merely a couple of shmucks looking to quaff a couple of overpriced Mojitos. Before we could process our 15 microseconds of public adoration, all cameraphones swung in unison to catch Kate Hudson popping out of the hotel’s front door. We headed inside to the bar. The crowd of nobodies seeking somebodies was thick enough that we were forced to stand next to a table and drink. The patron next to us was wearing a vulgar Breitling chronograph. He complained incessantly that we were casting shadows over him and his companion, who was a veritable R35 GT-R in proportion to Ms. Hudson’s slim R33. Will we return to the TIFF next year? Possibly not. Even when you’re driving the star of Japan’s A-list, celebrity is overrated.

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Eco-Friendly Supercars: A Fool’s Errand? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/08/eco-friendly-supercars-a-fools-errand/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/08/eco-friendly-supercars-a-fools-errand/#comments Fri, 03 Aug 2012 16:54:51 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=455415 In the eternal quest to adhere to “sustainability”, Lamborghini will apparently be fitting the Aventador with a start-stop system and cylinder deactivation. Am I the only one that finds the recent trend of eco-friendly supercars ridiculous? We can argue over their relevance in today’s wider world, what direction they should take (lightweight and pure, like a […]

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In the eternal quest to adhere to “sustainability”, Lamborghini will apparently be fitting the Aventador with a start-stop system and cylinder deactivation. Am I the only one that finds the recent trend of eco-friendly supercars ridiculous?

We can argue over their relevance in today’s wider world, what direction they should take (lightweight and pure, like a McLaren F1 or obese but rapidmissiles like the Bugatti Veyr0n) and what even qualifies as a supercar when there are record numbers of Ferraris and Gallardos being built, to the point where they no longer turn heads in major urban centers.

One thing we can agree on is that the supercar, in all its forms, is the absolute zenith of what the automobile can achieve in terms of performance and technological achievement. That doesn’t mean that they can’t strive for greater efficiency. I see no negative effect on making cars more efficient. But it must be done in the right way, rather than in a manner that panders to the pseudo-religious zeitgeist that demands we be “green” without ever really explaining why, beyond a bunch of theoretical doomsday scenarios that would send us back to pre-Industrial agrarian communities (which is a positive development for some hairshirt green types…but that’s another topic). That path is why we have all kinds of technological solutions which impose significant weight penalties while returning minimal gains in fuel consumption and emissions reduction.

Nowadays, you can’t attend a Porsche product demonstration without hearing their spiel about a committment to the environment and the planet. It’s so transparently contrived and disingenuous that it’s almost nauseating. My driving partner and I sat through it at the 2013 Porsche Boxster launch, and after a minute of dealing with the start-stop system, we promptly hit the “Off” button. On the other end of the spectrum, we have silly systems like GM’s eAssist, which are pseudo-hybrid systems that don’t give the car a competitive advantage in terms of “MPGs”, but take up weight and space.

The one true path to creating a “greener” supercar – or any car – is light weight. There is no way around it. Yes, cars have become heavier, and despite what the auto-dork purist crowd will tell you, it’s not all bad; you probably won’t be horribly mutilated or killed in an impact anymore, and they’re quite nice places to be, what with satellite radio and heated  and cooled seats (which are apparently more efficient than using the climate control system) – but something has to give.

Imagine if the next Acura NSX didn’t have a hybrid system; just an Earth Dreams V6, making 350 horsepower (say we sacrifice some efficiency in the name of power) but the car was radically light weight – kind of like what Honda did last time around. Yes, the NSX wasn’t terrible fuel-efficient by our standards, but the powertrain and the mindset behind it, is now 20+ years old. What could be done with current knowledge in the fields of engines, aerodynamics and lightweight construction, minus the heavy battery packs and hybrid motors?

The NSX is a supercar that can theoretically be driven every single day. The Aventador isn’t. Focusing on a efficiency for a car that will be used sparingly seems like a foolish misallocation of brainpower and resources. Even if it does get 11 mpg around town (likely less with all the revving at stoplights and burst of acceleration the cretin owners are likely to engage in), it’s on the road for perhaps a couple of hours at a time, once or twice a month. The net gain in carbon emissions is inconsequential. The V12 engine is an endangered species, and anyone looking for that carnal blast of noise would be let down by the pedestrian drone of a V6 once the cylinder-deactivation system kicks in.

This is why the Lexus LFA is so admirable. There is a contingent that cannot look past the numbers, and can only type out a spastic admonishment that “(Insert supercar here, or a Nissan GTR) would smoke this thing”. The accomplishment at hand is lost on them, as well as those who rightfully appreciate the amazing, hand-crafted V10 and gorgeous styling. The LFA mostly exists as a test bed for carbon fiber vehicle construction, a way to justify the costs of all of this R&D in the guise of a halo car marketing exercise for Toyota and Lexus.

Subsequent breakthroughs will allow us to have our cake and eat it too; all the safety and supplemental comforts that we are used to, with no drop-off in performance and efficiency. It is expensive, difficult and time-consuming, which is why most car companies are unable to explore radical solutions for reducing mass at this time. And lest we forget how pleasing it is to drive something free of unnecessary mass, light on its feet, with sharp reflexes and the unparalleled feeling of not knowing where you end and the car begins.

The likelihood is that we’ll continue to see more of these measures, like start-stop systems and hybrid drivetrains in the dream machines of tomorrow. In some cases, like the Porsche 918 and the Acura NSX, they do exist in the name of pushing the performance envelope. In the case of the Aventador, they are a naked PR move to appease a contingent of people who are not going to be Aventador customers, and often have a reflexive distaste for “the rich”, without ever realizing that they too are human beings, with insecurities and regrets and a hankering for escapism through consumption. Which is what compels them to buy the Aventador in the first place.

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Copper Canyon Classics http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/05/copper-canyon-classics/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/05/copper-canyon-classics/#comments Sun, 13 May 2012 13:00:38 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=444037 This being metro Detroit, you’d think that weekly car meets would be thick on the ground. But, perhaps because I spend too much time attached to a computer, I’m not aware of one in the northwest suburbs. So I was quite happy to trip across the inaugural event of the “Copper Canyon Classics” on Saturday […]

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This being metro Detroit, you’d think that weekly car meets would be thick on the ground. But, perhaps because I spend too much time attached to a computer, I’m not aware of one in the northwest suburbs. So I was quite happy to trip across the inaugural event of the “Copper Canyon Classics” on Saturday morning at the Copper Canyon restaurant in Southfield, MI.

Today’s event was largely composed of local Lamborghini, NSX, Jaguar, and Thunderbird clubs, but other makes were present and even my lowly Protege5 was welcome. The NSX group included a husband and wife (with a manual orange car and a blue automatic one) and a black car with a huge turbo in what used to be the trunk (good for nearly 600 wheel horsepower in its current tune, and nearly 1,000 with a few software tweaks; the transmission is the weak link). Boost reportedly arrives north of 5,000 rpm. Best listening: the Lamborghinis.

The restaurant, which sponsored the event, provided a $12 breakfast through lunch buffet (go back as many times as you’d like). A raffle was held to benefit a Sri Lankan children’s charity. Winners got to ride shotgun in one of the Diablos, the boosted NSX, or the Exige. Didn’t win, but still want a ride? Just make a donation to the charity.

The plan is to have the meet every Saturday going forward, starting at 10 AM and lasting “all day.” They had a good turnout for an initial event, and as word spreads it should only get better.

Not in the Detroit area, but want to attend an event like this, to see some interesting cars and actually meet other enthusiasts in the real world? There’s probably one near where you live. If you know of a good one, post about it in the comments. Don’t be like me. Use your computer (or phone) to find a meet–then get away from the keyboard for a while.

Michael Karesh operates TrueDelta.com, an online source of car reliability and real-world fuel economy information.

Countach engine, photo courtesy Michael Karesh Countach, photo courtesy Michael Karesh Jaguar, photo courtesy Michael Karesh NSX orange, photo courtesy Michael Karesh NSX turbo, photo courtesy Michael Karesh Thunderbird engine, photo courtesy Michael Karesh Thunderbirds, photo courtesy Michael Karesh NSX interior, photo courtesy Michael Karesh Volvo, photo courtesy Michael Karesh Copper Canyon, photo courtesy Michael Karesh

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Down On The Street: 1992 Acura NSX Braves Streets of San Francisco http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/02/down-on-the-street-1992-acura-nsx-braves-streets-of-san-francisco/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/02/down-on-the-street-1992-acura-nsx-braves-streets-of-san-francisco/#comments Fri, 11 Feb 2011 22:00:00 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=383663 Every time I see an early NSX— which, sadly, isn’t often— it reinforces my belief that the early 1990s were a golden age for the automobile. You had decent electronic engine controls instead of carburetors (and primitive might-as-well-be-carburetors 80s EFI), model bloat hadn’t gotten totally out of hand, and the SUV revolution hadn’t yet caused […]

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Every time I see an early NSX— which, sadly, isn’t often— it reinforces my belief that the early 1990s were a golden age for the automobile. You had decent electronic engine controls instead of carburetors (and primitive might-as-well-be-carburetors 80s EFI), model bloat hadn’t gotten totally out of hand, and the SUV revolution hadn’t yet caused cup holders and other McMansion-esque gear to metastasize from every interior surface of every vehicle. Sure, we’re now living in the Golden Age Of Engines— there’s no arguing with the horsepower and efficiency numbers we’re seeing from internal combustion these days— but I’ll take the early 1990s. And the NSX.

I shot this car in San Francisco a couple of years back, while in transit to the nightmarish Gumball 3000 kickoff, and I was reminded of the photos when I spotted a black mid-90s NSX cruising through the snow in Denver earlier this week.

While the Miata’s “like an MGB, only you can actually drive the thing” concept inspired legions of worshipers, the NSX never really inspired the same sort of passion among North American car freaks (even given the $65,000-versus-$13,400 price tag comparison in 1992).

Speaking of price tags, the ’3,010-pound/270-horsepower ’92 NSX listed at about a grand more than the 3,031-pound/250-horsepower ’92 Porsche 911 Carrera 2 coupe. You could also get a ’92 ZR1 Corvette for a few hundred bucks more than the NSX, which would have given you a mighty 375 horses in a 3,465-pound machine; sure, the build quality might not have been in the same universe as the Acura or the Porsche, but what a deal! Say you were time-machined back to 1992 with a suitcase full of cash and had to choose, which would it be: the NSX, 911, or ZR1?

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