By on October 26, 2017

2017 Acura NSX, Image: Acura

Psst… Have I got a deal for you! There’s a low-profile $30,000 factory incentive out there on a really great mid-engined supercar. You could be looking at just $1,500 a month on a lease, which is about what you’d pay to buy a new Corvette Grand Sport over five years. Or you might get a car with a $165k sticker for just $122,000. Are you FREAKING OUT right now? Or are you waiting for me to tell you which one?

Well, let’s see… It’s not the Ford GT, because those are sold out. It’s not the Ferrari 488GTB, which is on a waiting list and subject to $100k worth of additional dealer markup. It’s not the Lamborghini Huracan, used examples of which are fetching close to MSRP. It’s not even the Audi R8, which has some nice lease programs at the moment but which still generally sells for sticker or close to it.

You know what I’m going to tell you, of course. You know it’s the Acura NSX. From day one it’s been a tough sell and, while I’d like to think that the 2017 Road & Track Performance Car Of The Year accolade helped the showroom traffic a bit, I’d be naive to think that it was enough to move the needle too far. Starting next year, NSXes will be special order only. If you want a car out of dealer stock, now’s the time to do it and Honda will throw $30k worth of cash on the frunk to make it happen.

Maybe it’s time to ask why this state of affairs came to pass — but I bet you already know that, too.


Approximately a decade ago, Honda decided to embark upon a course of corporate action that I like to think of as forcible vegetable ingestion. Some of you will remember this from your childhoods; Mom wouldn’t let you leave the table to go play baseball or whatever until you ate all your vegetables. Didn’t that suck? But you had no choice, because Mom was in charge of the house and you’d made inquiries to both the Merchant Marines and the French Foreign Legion only to find they weren’t accepting eleven-year-olds in headlong flight from nothing more serious than some mandatory asparagus.

Honda’s version of the above policy was a statement that, “Each new Honda model will consume less fuel than its predecessor.” While this would be relatively admirable were it to come from, say, Bentley, to say nothing of being little trouble besides, in the case of Honda there was a strong blood-from-a-stone aspect to it. It ensured that there would be no follow-up to the S2000 and that new variants of the Civic Si would lag the competition more and more each year. It turned the CR-Z from a hotly-anticipated teenage dream to a retirement village golf cart alternative.

And then there’s the NSX. I should point out that it is an outstanding car that astutely makes the case for a performance hybrid powertrain. To drive the NSX is to love it. But to consider the NSX as a proposition on paper is to become severely disappointed. This is made worse by the fact that Honda had a whole generation full of massively wealthy potential buyers who cut their teeth on slammed Civics and the like. They were champing at the bit for the fastest Honda money could buy and they weren’t gonna be too particular about how much money it took. All Honda had to do was to repeat the original NSX formula.

What was the original NSX formula? It wasn’t “technologically-advanced aluminum-and-titanium marvel.” That might have been the sales pitch, and it might have been the engineering team’s guiding principle, but it wasn’t what drew people to the car. The real NSX formula is, “Faster than a Ferrari, and more durable, for about two-thirds of the money.”

Honda could have easily done it. There’s enough room in the NSX for a biturbo V8, which is the current supercar powertrain of choice. You can’t tell me that the Ohio R&D team couldn’t have cooked up something to beat the 488GTB at its own game. The price would have been about the same. But it wouldn’t have met with corporate approval. It wouldn’t have forced the customers to eat their hybrid vegetables.

So instead we have the NSX as it sits today. People don’t want it, because they don’t want a hybrid supercar that isn’t called a LaFerrari. And while you can make poor people and middle-class people eat their vegetables in the showroom, you can’t make the one-percent crowd do anything they don’t want to do. They’ll buy a Lambo or a McLaren 650S instead. Maybe they thought the “techy” aspect of the hybrid powertrain would help them sell in San Jose. I could have told them otherwise. The young men who cash in their IPOs don’t want technology any more than a butcher wants to go home and argue with his wife over which cut of meat to cook for dinner. They want the fastest car they can get, and they want it to sound vicious. In other words, they want a Ferrari 488GTB.

Everybody knows how Honda could save this situation. They could sell a non-hybrid NSX at a lower price. It would sell — not like a 700-horse biturbo V8 would have sold, but better than the current product. What’s required here is a willingness to admit that a mistake was made. Your guess as to whether that willingness exists is as good or better than mine. Failing that, they could lower the price the way the Viper team did in that car’s final year. It would be better for morale than doing secret incentive programs that won’t stay secret.

My advice to Honda: Dump the hybrid system, cut the weight, put in a manual box, price it at $129,999, and let it eat the lunch money of the Porsche 911 GTS and AMG GT S. You’ve made your point. You showed that you could deliver 90 percent of a Porsche 918 for 15 percent of the price. You showed that you could create a silent supercar with Accord-level fuel economy. Now step aside and let the enthusiasts take a crack at it. That’s what the old Honda would have done. That was a company focused on delivering the best possible product regardless of conventional wisdom or marketplace chatter.

Give it a shot. What’s the worst that could happen? The dealerships would have to dust off their 1981-era stock of additional-dealer-markup stickers?

[Image: Honda]

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78 Comments on “No Fixed Abode: Since You Won’t Eat Your Vegetables, Honda Is Eating Crow With the NSX...”


  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    I was going to say it was because they previewed and teased the car for what seemed like five years. Like the DEW98-based two-seater T-Bird, or the Gen5 Camaro, it finally launched, and everybody said “Meh.”

    • 0 avatar
      Fordson

      Interesting – and like the DEW98-based ‘Bird, the NSX, in addition to being ballyhooed forever, was:

      -last produced many years before being re-introduced and had basically been left to age without updates and become irrelevant, producing a head-scratcher reaction in the motoring world as to how serious Ford’s/Honda’s real intentions were in supporting the new generation.

      -a very poor COY choice by a glossy mag – ewww…how embarrassing for you R&T scribes.

      Yeah, Honda showed Ferrari how to build a reliable exotic, but Ferrari, after introducing the 348 at the same time as Honda did the NSX, continued to update the product, introducing the 355, 360 and 430 by the time Honda let the sadly-outdated NSX die of starvation in 2006.

      Same thing with the Lexus LFA…every decade or so, a Japanese maker gestates for a seeming eternity, brings forth a vanity-project exotic…and then loses interest and goes back to building Civics, Siennas, Camrys and Tacomas. In silver, grey, black and white.

      Yeah, Lamborghini has rolled out an SUV…but nobody’s thinking they’re going to stop building – and updating – their supercars any time soon. Buying a $30,000 orphan is bad enough; buying a $300,000 orphan is worse.

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      “… Gen5 Camaro, it finally launched, and everybody said “Meh.”

      5th generation Camaro? Meh? Is “meh” another meaning they sold lots of them?

      From Wikipedia, sales:
      2009 61,648
      2010 81,299
      2011 88,249
      2012 84,391
      2013 80,567
      2014 86,297
      2015 77,502

      You need to re-think that “meh”, my friend.

  • avatar
    ajla

    10000 RPM, naturally-aspirated V10.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Go big or go home.

    This is “We can only go as big as corporate will allow.”

  • avatar
    John R

    ‘Tis a shame. Nearly everyone who drive this falls in love with it. I was of the mind that they were being nice to Honda/Acura, but watching Matt Farah gush over it for 17 minutes convinced me it worth the $150k~

    youtube.com/watch?v=zwkUHSt35vE

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Yes, a screamin’ V8 would probably help sales.

    But here’s what’s left out of the discussion: folks who buy cars like the NSX want the latest, sexiest, greatest thing ever, and the NSX lost that mojo around the same time Bill Clinton wasn’t having sex with that woman. Honda built the original NSX virtually unchanged for 15 years, then yanked it the market, and made NSX fans wait another 11 years before they could buy a new one.

    Not hard to figure out how that went wrong.

  • avatar
    Heavymetal_Hippie

    Honda really has become stunning in its consistent, stubborn ability to disappoint. The grotesque Civic R, the failed CBR1000RR motorcycle, the minivan with a bed pretending its a truck that is Ridgeline, the identity crisis NSX that nobody wants, the 4-banger Accord… I could go on and on…

    It must be tough to be a Honda fanboy today. The company hasn’t produced anything exciting in like 20 years. They’re surviving only on momentum from the 1990s when they built cars and bikes that were both cutting edge, and also desirable.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      I think they are doing very much correctly these days. Retaining a good selection of manuals in cars, while introducing autos in motorcycles, indicates a very keen understanding of both. How the heck is the new CBR1000 a “failure?” As a street bike, which is what it is predominantly sold as. It’s the lightest of the bunch, and the smallest/tightest/most 600 like. It’s not as if any liter bike is lacking in power. Honda’s fuel economy obsession looks to have led them to release both cars and bikes whose throttle only goes to 9. Probably because the last 10 percent of throttle often doubles fuel burn in traditional tunes. Which does tend to kill the (admittedly exciting) wild scream at the very top that made cars like the ITR and S2000 such legends. But besides that, they seem to be doing perfectly fine from where I’m sitting. Ridgeline needs a midgate to be fully functional, though…

      • 0 avatar
        Heavymetal_Hippie

        Not sure if you follow a lot of motorcycle racing, but the new CBR1000 has almost universally been panned as a dud.

        John McGuiness, Guy Martin, and Nicky Hayden were almost killed on their CBR1000s this year — Martin and McGuiness eventually were forced to drop out of races/series entirely. Hayden (former world champion, don’t forget) was pretty much near the back of the pack this year until his untimely death in a bicycle crash. Why? The bike is junk.

        Honda would never admit it, but it was widely rumored in the press that the cause of the bike’s repeated crashes was electronics and ride control that were malfunctioning.

        Other than the engineering issues with the bike, the price (starting at $16,500 for the *base* model) is nearly four thousand bucks more than comparable (actually, far better) GSXR, Yamaha, and Ninja. Heck, even BWM’s 1000cc bike costs less. Also the fact that it took Honda almost ten years to finally refresh their 1000cc sportbike, and its not like the other manufacturers were treading water in that time.

        And don’t even get me started on the neglected CBR600RR, which hasn’t been updated in almost a decade. The technology on those things is so archaic, they practically belong in museums. Very sad, considering Honda was once the undisputed king of sportbikes, especially 600s.

        • 0 avatar
          markf

          “Not sure if you follow a lot of motorcycle racing…”

          So then you know who Marc Marquez is and who he races for?

        • 0 avatar
          IHateCars

          “Other than the engineering issues with the bike, the price (starting at $16,500 for the *base* model) is nearly four thousand bucks more than comparable (actually, far better) GSXR, Yamaha, and Ninja. Heck, even BWM’s 1000cc bike costs less.”

          None of the bikes that you mention start at $12.5K….S1000RR (which is the CBR1000RR competitor) *starts* at $16K…the rest at around $14K or more.

          Most, if not all reviews of the new CBR 1000RR are positive, racing success has as much to do with the team than the hardware.

    • 0 avatar
      LeMansteve

      “the minivan with a bed pretending its a truck that is Ridgeline”

      Here we go. The old cliche of “it’s not a REAL truck!” with a side of salt.

      The point of the Ridgeline is that it’s not a traditional BOF truck, even though it can do 95% of what a traditional truck can do. All that while generally being easier on gas, have better on-road handling and a smoother ride. It’s as much a minivan as it is a Pilot or an MDX.

      To say Honda has produced nothing exciting in 20 years is just ignorant.

      Integra Type-R
      RSX Type S
      1st gen TSX
      Civic Type-R
      Accord V6 6 speed
      CL Type-S 6 speed
      TL SH-AWD 6 speed
      Civic Si
      Accord 2.0T with 250hp/273lb-ft and 6 speed

  • avatar
    s_a_p

    I am curious what happened to the Japanese auto industry in general. Its like at some point they all decided to be complacent and stop innovating. Growing up in the 80s and 90s Japanese cars were what the future looked like. Now, they are just over styled and underpowered. Sure there are a few exceptions, and the NSX looks to be a pretty amazing vehicle, but its reactive and catch up vs leading the pack.

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      You can say that about so many of Japan’s industries. Anyone want a Sony smartphone? The Koreans are eating their lunch in the TV market. They still make the best cameras, because no one wants to touch a market that’s going extinct.

    • 0 avatar
      PandaBear

      Their banks are loaded with bad debt so no funding for industries to do actual R&D is my guess. Young people gave up and decided they’ll never become middle class by working hard is another. When you have a 70 year mortgage that you pass down to your son, it really demoralize him.

    • 0 avatar
      stingray65

      In the 1980s and early 90s the Japanese enjoyed near 0% interest money, so they could afford vanity projects and frequent product refreshes which were beyond the pocketbooks of their US and European competition who were paying 5 to 8% interest at the time. The Japanese population was still relatively young and growing, so technology focused market growth was also possible. Throw in very favorable exchange rates during much of that time, and Japan Inc. was a license to print money. Today Japan’s population is old, shrinking and conservative, every competitor around the world has access to near 0% interest, and China and Korea are the “low cost” competitors that didn’t exist. Japan today is a has been.

    • 0 avatar
      WheelMcCoy

      “I am curious what happened to the Japanese auto industry in general.”

      IIRC, there was a gentlemen’s agreement to limit horsepower to 280 among the Japanese automakers around that time. I’m sure that contributed.

  • avatar
    stuntmonkey

    The NSX was made to co-halo the F-1 program, V-6 turbo, KERS and all. Well, we all know how that’s gone… The conceit that Honda is the best engine maker on the planet doesn’t hold up if they can’t hold their own on the most high-profile race series; the new NSX simply did not have the gravitas that the first one had because Honda isn’t winning on the track.

    I’ve said it before; they should make a deal about breaking out Aryton Senna’s notes on the first NSX and tune the new one to the way that he liked it.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      +1 Honda engines peaked in F1 back in McLaren days 88 thru ’91 (with Senna). I remember playing Gran Prix Circuit on my Commodore 64 and the car to pick was the white and red one. The original NSX launched in ’90 thus cashing in on this peak. Today’s NSX is based on Alonso complaining of GP2 power levels, sitting in a chair working on his tan while failing to even finish half race distances.

  • avatar
    Alfisti

    I disagree, it’s not about speed.

    The orignal NSX was legendary because it was so sweet, so balanced, relatively simple and visceral, it was Honda’s ethos at it’s best. It never had mind bending power.

    With the new one, they should have dropped a naturally aspirated V10 (or even a V8), drop a few pounds of weight and pass on all the geez whizadry. Would sell in droves.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      I am in this camp. The original was simple and pure. Clean lines inside and out. The new one is too busy and too complicated, both in looks, tech and drivetrain. Its the opposite of the old Honda I grew up loving. With the NSX they should have take then FRS/86/BRZ approach – super light, focused on handling and simpleness. A knife in a gun fight for sure, but all the more reason to make the knife a samurai sword. Or maybe this market doesn’t exist anymore. So instead they tried to out gun the gun masters (Ferrari, Lambo, etc).

  • avatar
    George B

    A lighter weight non-hybrid V6 mid-engine RWD NSX would be closer to the first generation NSX than the AWD hybrid version. The exhaust note of the first generation is surprisingly good for a V6. Not sure if Honda can make a twin-turbo V6 NSX sound like a NSX.

    Acura also has the South Park Acura Cake problem. If you aspire to own an exotic sports car like a Ferrari, Acura is a poor substitute.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hell_on_Earth_2006

    • 0 avatar
      aquaticko

      I think that’s almost certainly the single biggest problem. Think of any supercar brand which is a relative novice to consumer products–the ones that come to my mind are Pagani, Koenigsegg, and McLaren. The first two are so far out there, so exotic, that they could sell on virtual apocryphicality alone. McLaren built car car that was the fastest in the world for almost a decade.

      Acura/Honda’s first NSX, much like the first Lexus LS, caught the Europeans sleeping, and was riding on the tide of Japan-uber-alles (…toriwake?) that was the late 80’s-early 90’s. Japan doesn’t have that anymore, the Japanese automotive industry doesn’t have that advantage anymore, and Honda specifically seems to only now be realizing just how unspecial it’s become over the past decade.

      For me personally, the NSX is too busy stylistically, inside and out, and the powertrain isn’t as visceral as the original’s. That’s an arbitrary feeling, but I know I’m not alone in it. Either the NSX isn’t the most “Honda” Honda like it was before, or the most “Honda” Honda is no longer a worthwhile thing to be. Either way, all of these questions can be avoided by just buying the aforementioned Toyota Camry of the supercar world–a Ferrari 488.

  • avatar
    PlaysInTraffic

    So, “each new Honda model will consume less fuel than its predecessor” is why Honda wouldn’t do the right thing and offer a manual in the V6 Accord Sedan or the TLX? Or offer the V6 in the Gen 10 Accord? Or offer a V8 in the Legend, I mean RL, I mean RLX?
    Does this explain everything wrong with Honda? Did having real names somehow cause Acura models to get lower mileage? Do ugly beak grilles somehow increase mileage?

    “My advice to Honda: Dump the hybrid system, cut the weight, put in a manual box, price it at $129,999, and let it eat the lunch money of the Porsche 911 GTS and AMG GT S.”

    Or create a 4.8L NA V8 off the 2.4L four and price it even lower.

    More advice: Then, offer the same powertrain in an RLX replacement with RWD; call it the Legend.

    Even more advice: Offer a V6 front wheel drive TLX Type-S with a 6-speed manual.

    Even more: Dump the ILX, and create a new Integra based on the Civic Type-R, but with decent styling.

    • 0 avatar
      TwoBelugas

      Modern 6+ speed autos have in many cases shown to be more fuel efficient than rowing one’s own gears in addition to being faster, so manuals are no longer guaranteed to be better in numeric performance measurements or fuel efficiency.

      • 0 avatar
        PlaysInTraffic

        Maybe you need to re-read (or just read) the article.

        That, or maybe head over to Consumer Reports. Or whatever site it is that considers a knee-jerk negative reaction to consumers having more choices to be cool.

    • 0 avatar
      PlaysInTraffic

      One more: If you’re permanently dumping the Accord Coupe, let Acura take it, slap a different grille and badges on it, and sell it as the Acura CL.

    • 0 avatar
      Sketch

      The claim is also not even entirely true. The old NSX had better highway mileage (24mpg vs 22mpg), even if it didn’t have better city/combined ratings.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    Theres a few factors I can think of:

    1. The original NSX was revealed to a world of would be car buffs via the original Gran Turismo, even the demo let you try it out. The new NSX? Some Marvel cameos, and some shout outs from aging celebrities.

    2. The styling, the original was elegant and the rear end spoiler design is easily one of my favorites. The new one doesnt have that appeal, carrying the same beak as other Acuras. Had the original NSX been styled like the Vigor it would’ve never caught on.

    3. The Audi R8, clearly this cars inspiration yet with more “brand appeal”, it has more power, and only for a few grand more. Why even buy an NSX?

    Honda went from “Lets beat Ferrari” to “Lets imitate Audi I guess”.

  • avatar
    healthy skeptic

    >> People don’t want it, because they don’t want a hybrid supercar that isn’t called a LaFerrari.

    Ummm..McLaren P1 and Porsche 918? Those have much higher price points, and target a crowd you really can’t tell what to do. Don’t know about the 918, but I believe the P1 had its limited run all booked up well in advance.

    >> The young men who cash in their IPOs don’t want technology…

    Here in the Bay Area, I see way more $100k+ Teslas than supercars. The moneyed tech crowd tends to go for German metal or Teslas. I see heavily modded M3s every so often. I also see the occasional BMW i8, which is a supercar I personally don’t understand. I guess it looks cool.

    According to Bay Area mores, supercars are considered a bit gauche.

    • 0 avatar
      carguy67

      “… occasional BMW i8, which is a supercar I personally don’t understand.”

      Got stuck behind one of those whilst driving my ’67 Healey on Hicks Road in Los Gatos the other day. Caught him on every (mild) corner when he hit his brakes; the old British lump was able to negotiate the corners with no braking and nary a squeak from the tires.

    • 0 avatar
      WheelMcCoy

      Yeah, even if I could afford them, supercars aren’t my thing. I’m more of a Miata and manual kind of guy. That said, a hybrid supercar wouldn’t bother me at all. As long as the electrical motors do their job, I have no complaints.

      I do like the way the i8 looks. And I did follow one through a McDonald’s drive-thru, which I thought was kind of funny, in both senses (funny ha ha, funny strange).

    • 0 avatar
      baconator

      +1. On my Bay Area block there are five $100k cars that were bought new, none of them mine: A Tesla S P90D, a Tesla Model X, a Range Rover, a Cayenne GTS, and a 991 Twin Turbo. The only thing that has any cocktail-party cachet around here is a Tesla.

  • avatar
    bluegoose

    It’s not a great looking car. The Acura brand has taken a major hit. It is the Japanese equivalent of driving a Buick. Picture a Buick Hybrid Super car. Who wants to drive that? The branding makes a lot of difference. You want to purchase something that everyone else wants but few people can have. Who lusts after an Acura? They should have done a retro futurism NSX. Instead, they did something similar to a Lexus LFA. It was more of a research project. I get it. It just still stinks that you can’t get something similar in spirit to the old NSX.

  • avatar
    I_like_stuff

    I still remember that NSX commercial where the Italian son takes his father for a spin in the NSX and the father asks Ferrari? And the son says no Papa….ACURA! Awesome commercial and 25(?) years later that’s still the first thing that pops into my mind when Acura is mentioned.

    Too bad about the new gen-NSX.

  • avatar
    PandaBear

    They could have done an EV that beats everything, except we already have a Model S. Too late now.

  • avatar
    turbo_awd

    I think it’s partly about the price too.. People are skeptical of paying $60K+ for a Hyundai. Who wants to pay $165k for a Honda with 580hp, when that’s right around the starting price for a 911 Turbo with 540hp? Add $5k to the 911 turbo, and you can probably tune it up to 600hp+. And you’re driving a 911.

    I can’t imagine trying to repair the drivetrain in the NSX after any type of track incident. Or just old age, when they don’t make batteries in that form factor anymore..

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      Good point, it’s one thing to make a high-end cell phone disposable because a worn out battery can never be replaced. But planned obsolescence in a car that costs as much as a house? People will balk at that.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    …Everybody knows how Honda could save this situation. They could sell a non-hybrid NSX at a lower price. It would sell — not like a 700-horse biturbo V8 would have sold, but better than the current product. What’s required here is a willingness to admit that a mistake was made. Your guess as to whether that willingness exists is as good or better than mine. Failing that, they could lower the price the way the Viper team did in that car’s final year. It would be better for morale than doing secret incentive programs that won’t stay secret….

    Honda could have save the CRZ by dropping an Si engine in it too, and Honda didn’t.

  • avatar
    Stumpaster

    Exactly.

  • avatar
    stingray65

    Acura was a “hot” brand in the early 90s so the original NSX fit in nicely as a halo car to the Legend and Integra. Today Acura is a sleepy place where you go for a cut-rate lease on a second-rate CUV, and I guess they still offer cars but I don’t remember their names or what they look like.

  • avatar
    Alexdi

    If you’ve driven it, you know the hybrid system is what makes it worth driving. They’d have to go clean-sheet to do anything else.

  • avatar
    windnsea00

    I spent an hour hooning one in the canyons a few weeks ago, walked away rather impressed. It had a rough initial launch with poor marketing/PR and no lease offer out of the gate. In addition to this, the Continental tires on the model I drove left quite a bit to be desired relative to a Pirelli or Michelin. With this being said, it’s genuinely a fun car to drive that takes hypercar technology found in the P1/918/LaFerrari and brings it down to a (relatively) affordable price range.

    Launch control was a riot with the electric engines shooting you out of the hole instantly. The chassis itself was far more alive and willing to dance than I anticipated. I am frankly amazed the steering and brakes are drive by wire, the communication through the wheel and pedals was fairly decent. It has such a low hood that visibility is fantastic looking forward, and you definitely feel like you are in an exotic car with the 2-seat/mid-engine layout. I would say the V6 engine had decent induction sound but the exhaust was rather tame and the 9-speed dual clutch wasn’t as responsive as Porsche’s PDK. Subjectively, I feel the car is sharp looking and here in LA stands out relative to the vast sea of 911’s/R8’s, etc.

    The fact that Chris Harris spoke as highly of it as he did (someone who I feel understands what a proper driving car is) along with Matt Farah reinstating this notion in his recent YT video this week confirms its technical prowess. In the end, cars are a matter of personal taste but to not consider testing out the NSX if you are looking for $150-$200k sports car is truly a missed opportunity, it’s objectively a well designed car.

  • avatar
    srh

    I’m probably the target demographic for the new NSX. I was starting my first real job when the first NSX was available, and making enough that I could fantasize about buying one. 20 years later I could afford the new version, or the FerrAudi alternatives, but I have the blue-collar sensibility that makes a Honda more appealing than a more exotic nameplate (this is why I have a Focus RS for a track car).

    That same blue collar sensibility prevents me from spending $160K on it though. At $120K, I’m interested. But the only examples within 500 miles are all priced at $200K+. No thanks.

    The other model I’m interested in is the GT350. At the Ford dealer the other night looking for an F-150, and they have one on the floor. At MSRP I’d have driven it home. But with the $50K markup they were asking (for a total price of around $115K if I recall correctly), no thanks. Not even worth trying to negotiate.

    My hunch is that the dealers with these cars don’t even want to sell them. The owner of the dealership orders it and prices it so high that he knows nobody will bite. Keeps it on the floor for a while to draw traffic, and after a couple years buys it for himself at a severely reduced price. I have no evidence this is true, but I suspect it to be so.

    I know there are a few dealers that sell the low volume cars in higher volume. But they aren’t located near my quadrant of the country.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      The only Ford GT (1st generation) and GT350/500 that have been sent to my little 75,000 population county sit in the showroom, draw traffic, and then end up in the personal collection of the dealer. (Same family for almost a century.)

    • 0 avatar
      windnsea00

      I have put quite a few hundred miles on the GT350R (1/1 SpeedKore version with the all carbon fiber body) and it’s one of my favorite new cars on sale right now. I am not a muscle car guy (daily a 997-gen 911) but man is that car a riot. The engine alone sounds absolutely nuts and loves to rev. The chassis and brakes are great, it creates more smiles per mile than a lot of cars 2-3x its price.

      Even Leno states it’s one of his favorite cars in his collection. I don’t care if it’s not as fast or competent as the new ZL1 Camaro, which I took on a 1,000 mi. road trip last month and was impressed by but in terms of grin factor the GT350R wins.

    • 0 avatar
      raph

      Not even a GT350R? You can search around and find them going for MSRP these days. I was an early adopter with one of the first 2017 cars out and didn’t pay more than 75k for my car. I ended up using my trade in to cover the ADM, taxes title and tags and financed the MSRP.

      I felt a little sheepish but a buddy of mine called a friend working for a Ford dealer across town and he told him that was a good deal since they were charging almost 100k for the them making my ADM much easier to swallow.

      Stopped by a few weeks ago to get a recall item taken car of and the dealership where I bought mine still seems to be moving them for around 75k though.

    • 0 avatar
      jrh1230

      A few weeks ago, my Mazda dealer (Independence Mazda, Charlotte) had a GT350 on the floor for $59K. Only 4000 miles on the clock. Just putting it out there… it’s probably gone but maybe…

  • avatar
    Jerome10

    Not a brand snob….but in this market, with these kinda “look at me cars”, I’m sorry but Acura is simply a weak brand in the “premium” market these days.

    I honestly suspect this would have more brand appeal as a Honda.

    Imagine if the Ford GT was a Lincoln GT, simply because “well Lincoln is our luxury brand”.

    Labeling this car an Acura is the same sort of absurdity.

    And again, as dumb as it may sound, a Japanese supercar built in Ohio can’t help it either. You want a Porsche built in Germany. You want a Ferrari from Italy. You want a Corvette from America. And you probably want a Honda/Acura from Japan.

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      Go to the local Coffee and Cars and look and the people that hang out in the different sections. You’ll see the young hot women in the Ferrari/Lamborghini/McLaren section. Even a used Ferrari buys admission to that crowd. Buying a NSX seems like an extremely expensive way to impress young Asian dudes. Buy a Corvette and only the old guys in the Corvette section will be impressed.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        What kind of spectrum disorder super dork goes to freaking C&C when they have access to both an exotic car and hot young women?

        • 0 avatar
          raph

          The same kind of super dork that likes to let people know they have the cash to pick up a hot girl with their exotic car and can make them get up at 6am and stand around looking hot while a bunch of beta males drool over the girls and hot cars reaffirming their alpha position.

          I don’t think its all that different from any kind of alpha male activity where they drag hot women out and parade them off to let the proles know that they if only they were a little smarter and a little harder working they might not be the loser parasites they are today.

          Or maybe they just enjoy going out to a C&C with a like minded hot girl and hang with a like minded crowd of people.

          In all my years of hitting up various C&C’s I’ve only ever ran into one guy with an ego too big for his car and that was when the GT-R first rolled out and the guy made a point of telling everybody that he only street raced Italian exotics because everything else was a waste of his time.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            “get up at 6am and stand around looking hot while a bunch of beta males drool over the girls and hot cars reaffirming their alpha position.”

            Sounds stupid to me, but I’ve got a Charger and a “exotic dancer” or Burger King cashier not a Vanquish and a lingerie model so maybe my perspective is off.

            Plus, I don’t really like car shows in the first place.

          • 0 avatar
            threeer

            Wait…didn’t a certain former contributor prove, without a shadow of a doubt, that owning a Ferrari did nothing to attract the opposite sex?

        • 0 avatar
          WheelMcCoy

          I was thinking the same. While I believe women will recognize a Ferrari more readily than an NSX, I think it’s easy to over-estimate the pulling power of a Ferrari and under-estimate the intelligence and character of hot young women.

  • avatar
    cdotson

    “What’s required here is a willingness to admit that a mistake was made. Your guess as to whether that willingness exists is as good or better than mine.”

    Is this a nudge-nudge, wink-wink?

    Because anyone who has been paying attention to Honda at all in the last 25 years knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that the willingness, or even the ability, to admit a mistake was made flat out does not exist.

    • 0 avatar
      psychoboy

      I’ve been paying attention to Honda for more than 25 years, but one only has to go back less than two months to find Honda admitting to making mistakes:

      https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2017/09/honda-exercises-hopefully-humility-acknowledges-mistakes-made/

  • avatar
    S2k Chris

    My Acura dealer, in an affluent but not super car-laden area, has three. And they’ve all three been there for almost a year at this point.

  • avatar
    Peter Voyd

    “It’s like a Ferrari, but engineered by people who went to college.” – a 1995 NSX review by the inimitable Philip Greenspun.

    http://philip.greenspun.com/materialism/cars/nsx

  • avatar
    vanpressburg

    Porsche, Lamborghini, Ferrari -all these cars are very noisy.
    You travel for hours in traffic in car that is noisier than Mazda 3
    to get somewhere, where you can use the power of sport car.

    Acura NSX is the only quiet car among sport cars.
    When you got money, buy it!

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    Their are so many things ‘wrong’ with this car, that really have nothing to do with the car.

    The brand, as noted above, has nowhere near the cache that Acura did when the original NSX debuted. Followed closely by the price point of the new NSX. Again, as noted, I believe their is an appetite for this car among those that grew up driving riced Civics/Accords/Pulsar/200SX ETC who knew every spec of the original NSX. According to the interwebs the original NSX debuted at 60k msrp which puts the price point at approximatly 108k today. I believe if the price point was in this neighborhood, or 99k to keep it under 6 figures it would sell.

    The original version was not a HP monster with a fairly pedestrian V6. The new version would have been just fine with a turbo’d 6 versus the the hybrid powertrain which adds a lot of expense.

  • avatar
    KOKing

    Honda seriously screwed the pooch here.
    – decade-long vaporware
    – kept showing then tossing concepts
    – tossed the V10; granted it would’ve made less sense given when it actually launched
    – ugly af
    – not <$135k
    – everyone still thinks they're all marked up $60k (a lot still are)
    I know a few folks (including those with NSX 1.0s) who were looking forward to it but ended up getting something else.
    Thankfully those of us with OG NSXs no longer get asked "are you gonna get one of the new ones?" since everyone knows the answer is "no." I AM gonna get something Honda actually got right; the CTR.

  • avatar
    tekdemon

    This car would sell much better with just 3 simple changes
    1) Make the interior not the same quality as a TLX
    2) Give it a little more cargo capacity, much like a 911 or 570GT so it’s actually practical as a daily.
    3) Give it a plug so it’s officially a plugin, even though it’s pointless people will eat it up (see Porsche 918).

  • avatar
    Boxerman

    There are drivers cars, and there are techno wonders that post really good paper numbers for a lap or two.

    The origional NSX appealed not only because it worked, but also because it was elegant engineering, from suspension to body to powertrain.

    The new one is just techno overkill, answering a question no one is asking. If Honda wanted to do something like this then the BMW I 8 is a better template.

    I dont really agree that loosing the battery weight and dropping a great motor in would fix the car. Its still drive by wire, and it still looks like a car not really designed at all.

    Sportscars, first and foremost should be drivers cars, and int he 21st century soemhting you can take to the track. Little Lotus with camry engines sells somehting like 2k evoras per year. Imagine the NSX budget as applied by Lotus. Thats the template Honda should follow, that would get them the 2-3k sales they seek.

    Fuel economy edicts, thats what got us v6 powered olds 98’s in 1980. Yeah you can get fuel economy for the sake of it, but it costs sales.

    Sportscars are all about how they look sound drive and feel. honda missed on every count.

  • avatar
    AK

    The car seems awesome.

    It also seems like an engineering exercise and a successful one at that.

    Some of the tech has made it’s way into the mdx. I’ll be interested when it makes it’s way into a sedan or coupe I can afford.

  • avatar
    SunnyvaleCA

    “You showed that you could create a silent supercar with Accord-level fuel economy”

    Not sure what figures you’re using but it looks like EPA figures are 21/22.
    The outgoing “worst” Honda Accord (which is, of course, the best Accord) was the V6 Coupe with manual transmission, which benched 18/28. With the automatic and V6 you got 21/32.

    Heck, even a Porsche 911 Turbo gives EPA benchmarks of 21/24. This, while costing about the same, acing every acceleration test, and sounding terrific in the process.

    I think the big thing the NSX has going for it is that it looks awesome and is unique.

    The original NSX could hang its hat on “mid engine” before the Boxster and Cayman came out and before the Carrera morphed to a weight balance similar to most mid-engined cars. But Porsche kind of has this new NSX hemmed in on all sides with it’s current broad lineup. With Porsche you can get more or less expensive, mid or rear engined, automatic or manual, 2 or 4 seats, convertible or hardtop, RWD or AWD. And, although a Cayman/Boxster/Carrera isn’t “unique” on the road, the interiors can certainly be optioned up to be unique.

  • avatar
    vook

    Agreed.

    To me, it seems as though Honda has burdened Acura with the task of selling customers what they need as opposed to selling what they want. That’s called car selling 101, isn’t it?

    I so wanted to see a light weight and powerful new NSX (as you described) and acknowledge Honda’s technical abilities with the current car, however it’s not what I want.

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