By on August 24, 2018

Images: Acura

Can we really call the Acura NSX a supercar? Some might disagree. It’s certainly not a super seller, anyway, but not for a lack of trying on Acura’s part to get motoring enthusiasts interested in the concept of a two-seater sport hybrid.

For 2019, the second-generation NSX sees its first significant upgrades after awakening from its 11-year slumber in 2016. Improved handling is the goal here, but renewed consumer interest can’t be far behind on the wish list.

Debuting during Monterey Car Week, the NSX returns for 2019 with the same powertrain — a mid-mounted, twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 coupled to a nine speed-dual clutch automatic. Three electric motors provide additional populsion. All told, the NSX generates the same 573 horsepower and 476 lb-ft of torque found in previous versions, metered out via numerous drive modes.

Image: Acura

The NSX’s exterior improvements amount to minor cosmetic changes. Thermal Orange Pearl paint arrives as an option, tipping its hat to three decades of Acura motorsport participation. That same color can be had on the car’s brake calipers, assuming you spring for the optional carbon ceramic metallic brakes. Buyers enamored with the stock brakes can have red calipers, should they choose.

Meanwhile, the grille surround grows glossier, including for models decked out with the carbon fiber exterior package, and the front grille “garnish” — the piece directly above the mesh and below the leading edge of the hood — goes from chrome to body colored. It must have reminded buyers and Acura brass of the brand’s former beak.

Image: Acura

Inside, power four-way seats go from a $1,500 option to standard equipment. New color appears in the cabin, too, with an Indigo blue semi-aniline leather and Alcantara theme now an option. If full leather’s your thing, you have a choice of black (Ebony) and red. Manually adjusted leather-and-Alcantara seats can still be had for no charge.

Beyond the superficial, Acura added beefier stabilizer bars that it claims delivers a faster lap time. Stiffness is up 26 percent in the front and 19 percent in the rear. The rear toe link bushings grow 21 percent stiffer, while rear hub rigidity is up 6 percent. Are you likely to notice any of this in sedate driving? Probably not.

Image: Acura

Put the hammer down, and the chassis improvements, coupled with new, specially  designed Continental SportContact 6 tires and recalibrated dampers, hybrid power unit, and power steering, are sure to add up to a better-handling beast. Just how much better remains to be seen.

Acura’s marketing the 2019 NSX as something of a value buy, as fans get an additional $4,700 in standard content for a $1,500 bump in base MSRP. Still, that entry price is $157,500.

NSX sales faltered last year, with Acura forced to turn production down to the lowest simmer. The model went special-order-only for 2018. While the end of 2018 orders meant July sales in the U.S. plummeted to just three cars, there’s clearly a downward demand theme here. The brand sold 96 NSX models in the first seven months of 2018, compared to 308 over the same period the year before.

Order books opened yesterday, with the first 2019 NSX models expected to reach customers in October. Is it possible Acura can rekind some sort of spark?

[Images: Acura]

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28 Comments on “Acura’s Shrinking Supercar Adds Goodies for 2019...”


  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    A whole 13 cars sold per month so far this year!

    Mark Baruth praised this…CURSE OF MARK BARUTH.

    Save $103,000 and buy a new C7 Stingray which can probably keep up with this, let alone a ZR1, WHICH WILL DESTROY IT.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      ’17 Corvette Grand Sport VIR time = 2:47.1
      ’17 Acura NSX VIR time = 2:50.2
      ’14 Corvette Stingray VIR time = 2:53.8

      So the base C7 ain’t going to cut it, but the price difference allows you to buy nearly THREE of them. Forget the ZR1 as you only need a Grand Sport to put the NSX in the rear view mirror.

      • 0 avatar
        redapple

        Am I losing my mind???????
        DW recommends a Corvette from GGM???
        HUH?

        NSX is a POS. Let me get this right- looking at the option sheet today.

        ELS Stereo with XM radio is $3300 more? F you.
        Many ‘nice’ colors are a $700 – 6000 up charge.? F you.

        I hope they fail. Scum bags.

  • avatar
    ceipower

    Acura lays yet another rotten egg should be the title of your article? The styling is so close to awful , it becomes awful by default. Yes , the beak front end was a mistake , one that Honda/Acura already knew from years of feedback on their car lineup , so of course they carried it into the NSX design. WHY?? The only possible answer is Honda/Acura just doesn’t give a damn what the Consumer is asking for. Acura is to Honda what Mercury was to Ford.

  • avatar
    Fred

    Nobody shops these kind of cars based on value. It’s passion and frankly Acura doesn’t have much of a passionate following. I’m a TSX Sportwagon owner and the last time I took it it for service there was a nice blue one on the show room and I liked it. Would I buy it? Probably not, and instead go with my passion and pick up a Lotus.

  • avatar
    srh

    Are there deals to be had on these? I’ve seen one on a dealer lot, and it had a very large markup that pushed the asking price over $200K.

    I’m not one of those who rails against dealer markups; the MSRP after all is arbitrary. But it seems pretty clear to me that the dealers don’t even want to sell these. They want to keep them in the dealership behind velvet ropes for people to gawk at, and then I have a hunch that the dealership owner ultimately writes off the value as a loss and sticks the car in his private collection.

    And who can blame them? If they tried to move them, it would take a whole lot of effort and ultimately best case, outside of California, sales are still going to be anemic.

    Personally, I think it’s a great looking car in a way that the Corvette isn’t. I could see paying a bit over $100K for it, even if it gets its lunch eaten by a $70K Grand Sport.

  • avatar
    AK

    I like it.

    Love the new color choices.

    If I had the funds, I’d want to own one. The fact that they only sold 3 last month is just a bonus… Much more exclusive and interesting than a 911 Turbo.

  • avatar
    chrishs2000

    The only problem with this car is that it’s an answer to a question no one asked.

    The original NSX kept up reasonably well with a Ferrari 348 or 911, yet had the maintenance costs of a Legend. It was a revelation, we all know the story and respect the car.

    The new one has an incredibly complex hybrid powertrain, and is only a good value and good choice in a vacuum with the one other super car with this type of powertrain. But in its actual price class, it offers absolutely nothing unique. Who buying a sports car has a requirement that it be a hybrid with rear electric motors? NO ONE. And that’s from someone who would get a second mortgage and sell one of my kids to buy a 2018 S2000, if I could.

    All they had to do for the 2g NSX to do was develop a new chassis, new engine and use mechanical SH-AWD maybe with more outside wheel overdrive capability than the Legend/RL (5% overdrive). That’s ALL THEY HAD TO DO. And they already had the damn thing, with a V10 to boot, but they cancelled it and made it the HSV race car. Instead they wasted God knows how many resources and SO MANY YEARS developing this over complex beast that no one buys because it offers NOTHING that it’s competitors don’t aside from this ridiculous hybrid system. Who in their right mind would buy an NSX when one can buy a 911 or a C7 or a Jaguar F Type or an R8 etc etc etc which are all cheaper? What a terribly wasted opportunity. It speaks to the incredibly poor decision making and second guessing at Honda from 2009-2015. And the unbelievable tone deafness. And worst of all the hubris. Ugh.

    As to the deals on the NSX, these had $30k factory incentives last year plus sales price discount and people were leasing them for around and slightly under $1k/mo on leasehackr. One dude leased one and just sold it back to the dealer for a $10k profit. Why they didn’t just drop the price $30k while they were painting the stupid beak, who knows…they must like to be bored at PMC.

  • avatar
    wintermutt

    I own a 1992 NSX. I knew the new NSX would not sell well because a 911 turbo is less money and a better car. It is a shame, and never would have happened if Soichiro had been alive. But all is not lost, the Civic Type R is perfect in it’s niche.

  • avatar
    Ryan

    I’m a Honda fanboy, owning four over the past 20 years. As a teenager in the mid to late 90’s the NSX was my “dream” car. V2, even if it was in my price range wouldn’t get a second look. For years Acura was my favorite premium brand. Nowadays, I am uncertain why they exist.

    I have never owned a GM product but if I were in the market for Big Boy Performance, a new Corvette would be tops on the list. In my world view, you cannot beat the HorsePower to Dollar ratio. Something the original NSX was known for. My have times changed.

    Honda will always have a special place in my car guy heart. If the last 10 years is where/what can be expected of the Acura brand – kill it off. Five years down the road most wouldn’t even notice their absence. That is a hard sentence to type but I think it is true.

  • avatar
    Jagboi

    That interior is ugly. Lines going everywhere make ti hard on the eyes. Styling by committee?

  • avatar
    ccd3

    My prediction is that the C8 Vette could be the death knell for the NSX. It will be a mid-engined 2 seater like the NSX, probably with comparable or better performance and probably less than $100,000. If the Vette offers the same performance for tens of thousands less, why buy the NSX???

  • avatar
    ccd3

    The new NSX is following the same ill fated path as the original. Honda failed to make more than marginal improvements to the car over its production run, allowing other cars to catch up and surpass the car. These improvements fail to address the main criticizisms of the car: weight, uninspired interior, and a small trunk you could fry an egg in.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    This thing either needs a new design brief or a $60K price cut. The best a lifelong Honda troll I know could come up with for this was “best in class fuel economy”. Someone buying a ~600HP supercar is definitely concerned about a gas bill lol. And it’s not like the i8 doesn’t exist.

    At $100K the scrutiny relaxes a lot. Compared to a 911 GT3/Turbo, Vantage V8, AMG GT, or at the high end Lambo Huracans and McLaren 570Ss, forget about it. Compared to a Z06 or Carrera S? M4 CS? OK, now we are having a meaningful conversation. This could have been the second coming of the R35 GT-R. Imagine how big of a fail that would have been if it had come out at the (current) price of the giants it was supposed to slay?

    Then you look down the lineup and see that the current Civic and Accord curbstomp the ILX, TLX AND RLX….. it’s depressing to see what Acura has become. Without the crossovers they’d be a complete joke, and even those need some help with their interiors.

  • avatar
    HotPotato

    Do automakers really care how many halo cars they sell? That’s not the point of them, is it? The point of the NSX is to say “Acura is a high-tech, high-performance brand. We could totally build an i8 too. See, right here!”

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      Halo cars don’t work. A brand that is doing OK doesn’t need one, and a brand that needs help (like Acura) can’t afford to waste resources on one.

  • avatar
    John

    I recall back in 2005, GM got 3.5 L66 V6 engines and H5 transmissions for the Saturn Vue Red Line, so GM how about helping out and providing Honda some LT5 engines for the NSX.. and Honda get eid of that Heavy, Expensive and Overly Complicated drivetrain. Barring the LT5 get rid of the Electric Motors and boost the 3.5 V6 to 650-700Hp ala Ford GT.

  • avatar

    The problem with Acura is that someone there believes that following BMW is the way to success, kind of like no one ever got fired for buying IBM back in the day…… TSX Wagon instead of 325i. The ZDX, another sales winner, instead of X6. Now, the NSX, instead of chasing Ferrari, or more intelligently, Porsche, is instead an i8 competitor. The i8 is yet another sales blip, as pretty as it is.

    Acura pulls the marketing ideas second hand from BMW, and glosses it over a worthy Honda root stock, often pointlessly. The name Honda will carry a premium price point for a premium product. The whole Acura as a special marketing arm to North America ? Acura needs to be taken out behind the shed, and Honda allowed to sell Hondas.

  • avatar
    Lightspeed

    It’s a super car that just doesn’t look like a supercar. The front end is a complete fail, the grille, the ‘beak’ looks like it should be on an FWD sedan, the rest is generic.

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