Acura's Shrinking Supercar Adds Goodies for 2019

acuras shrinking supercar adds goodies for 2019

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.

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.

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.

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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  • Speedlaw Speedlaw on Aug 26, 2018

    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.

  • Lightspeed Lightspeed on Aug 26, 2018

    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.

  • SCE to AUX It's not really a total re-badge since some of the body parts are unique, and the interiors are quite different.As I mentioned the other day, the Tonale has a terrible name and a dim future.As for the Alfa team - guess what, this is how corporate ownership works. You are part of Stellantis partly because you're not viable as a standalone business, and then your overlords decide what's shared among the products.By the way: That Uconnect infotainment system found in Alfas was originally a Chrysler product... you're welcome.
  • Kurkosdr Someone should tell the Alfa Romeo people that they are a badge owned by a French company now.The main reason PSA bought FiatChrysler is that PSA has the technology to enter the luxury market but customers don't want a French luxury car for psychological/mindshare reasons. FiatChrysler has the opposite problem: they have lots of still-respected brands but not always the technology to make good cars. Not to say that if FCA has a good platform, it won't be used in a PSA car.In other words, if those Alfa Romeo buds think that they will remain a silo with their own bespoke platforms and exclusive sheet metal, they are in for a shock. This is just the start.
  • Arthur Dailey For the Hornet less expensive interior materials/finishings, decontent just a little, build it in North America and sell it for less and everyone should be happy with both the Dodge and the Alfa.
  • Bunkie I so wanted to love this car back in the day. At the time I owned a GT6+ and I was looking for something more modern. But, as they say, this car had *issues*. The first of which was the very high price premium for the V8. It was a several thousand dollar premium over the TR-7. The second was the absolutely awful fuel economy. That put me off the car and I bought a new RX-7 which, despite the thirsty rotary, still got better mileage and didn’t require premium fuel. I guess I wasn’t the only one who had this reaction because, two years later, I test-drove a leftover that had a $2,000 price cut. I don’t remember being impressed, the RX-7 had spoiled me with how easy it was to own. The TR-8 didn’t feel quick to me and it felt heavy. The first-gen RX was more in line with the idea of a light car that punched above its weight. I parted ways with both the GT6+ and the RX7 and, to this day, I miss them both.
  • Fred Where you going to build it? Even in Texas near Cat Springs they wanted to put up a country club for sport cars. People complained, mostly rich people who had weekend hobby farms. They said the noise would scare their cows. So they ended up in Dickinson, where they were more eager for development of any kind.