By on August 8, 2019

Following news that Acura is restoring the Type S designation for future high-performance models, the brand announced it would also expand its selection of heritage colors. While the NSX is already available in Berlina Black, the company says it will debut Indy Yellow Pearl for the 2020 model year at this month’s Monterey Car Week.

The hue is a throwback to the Spa/Indy Yellow that graced 1st-generation models and managed to stick around on 20 percent of NSXs produced between 1997 and 2003. It looks as though Acura’s future lies partially in its past, which is fine by us. 

Unfortunately, we doubt this will move the needle much on NSX sales. Acura only shipped 170 in the United States last year after posting 581 deliveries in 2017. While this year is shaping up to be a little better, the NSX hasn’t sold in four-figure volumes since the early 1990s.

Another problem for the NSX is the new Corvette. Chevrolet’s mid-engined flagship starts below $60,000, while Acura’s performance platform starts at $157,500 (before destination). Odds are good that Honda’s premium arm will offer discounts but, even if they’re as robust as the ones we’ve seen this year, the best customers can hope for is $20,000 off the top. The 2020 Corvette will remain a comparative bargain and there’s no way around it.

That does not make the NSX a dud, however. Its hybrid, AWD powertrain joins a 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V6 with three electric motors for a total 573 horsepower and 476 pound-feet of torque. Meanwhile, the base 2020 ‘Vette will receive 495 horsepower from its 6.2-liter V8. The Acura’s 9-Speed DCT gets one more gear than the Chevy’s but both are supposed to boast an identical 0-to-60 time of 3 seconds.

Horsepower is dirt cheap in the United States and Acura’s crowning achievement has historically been more focused on superb, predicable handling. In this regard, the NSX is a triumph, but many of the car’s greatest strengths are also its biggest weaknesses. As far as high-performance rockets go, it’s very easy to live with — leaving many feeling it’s not “emotional” enough. It’s also loaded with tech specifically designed to play into its handling abilities and eliminate turbo lag, making it expensive.

From our vantage point, Acura’s biggest problem with the NSX has always been its pricing. Despite being designed to undercut European exotics (in both cost and comfort), the brunt of its fandom (Honda enthusiasts) has never been able to afford it — which begs the question as to what the take rate of Indy Yellow Pearl will be. The shade comes at a premium of $1,000, just like Thermal Orange Metallic, Source Silver, Casino White Pearl. While that’s quite a bit cheaper than the $6,000 Acura aks for Valencia Red Pearl and Nouvelle Blue Pear, it’s another pricy addition to a vehicle that has some to spare. Fortunately, the base model doesn’t leave you wanting much — so there’s no need to tack on $40,000 in extras, unless you want carbon-fiber bodywork or paint-matched brake calipers.

We’d wager that if Acura/Honda ever manages to price the NSX within a stone’s throw of the Corvette, even if that stone went long, the American monster wouldn’t obliterate it in sales every year. But that’s wishful thinking on our part. The automaker has already delivered a great car; it just totally neglected to consider whether or not there would be a market for it.

[Images: Honda]

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21 Comments on “Acura Reminds Us of the Good Old Days With Yellow NSX...”


  • avatar
    Hummer

    This, and the CRZ answer questions no one asked, who wants V6 Hybrids for $150k? There’s nothing to like here, it’s not cutting edge, it’s not helping Honda or Acura’s image because no one knows they exist due to nearly no products on the road, and it’s not exotic enough to draw attention, particularly with the same badge pushing out ILXs.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      I think they’d have had no problem selling them if they were priced sanely – say, around $80,000 or so. Maybe a hundred. But a hundred and fifty? Nope.

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        I agree, $80k and Honda would have a real winner, it would do massive things for the Acura name to get that car out onto the streets into upper middle class hands. Current price? I don’t understand who their marketing to, it’s certainly not typical Acura buyers.

    • 0 avatar
      snakebit

      $150K, and it’s Ohio-built. Begs the question what would the new NSX cost if it was Japan-built like the version 1 NSX? The avenue not explored yet is going the preowned route for NSX(pick a model year) or Ferrari,if you’re hellbent on a true exotic with bragging rights at the expense of maintainance costs. What would your $60K or $150K buy on the CPO market?

    • 0 avatar
      Garrett

      It either needs to be cheaper, more powerful, or more raw — pick two.

      The one appealing thing is the AWD makes it a car for all seasons.

  • avatar
    JMII

    What about Imola Orange Pearl?

    Doesn’t really matter as the NSX isn’t on many people’s radar. Acura could have added lightness here and made something more in line with Lotus. Instead they went super tech-y (AWD, hybrid, turbo) and nobody wanted that apparently. Or at least nobody seems willing to pay for it.

  • avatar
    thejohnnycanuck

    Fear not Acura, the NSX is about to have some company in the form of a quasi Toyota called the Supra.

    At least Honda had the balls to build their own car.

  • avatar
    JoeBrick

    “Looks like the new Corvette, How much does it cost ? That much ? Never mind.”
    Maybe they should build it at the Civic plant on the now-vacant second shift.

  • avatar

    Is it also BMW or it is a Mercedes?

  • avatar
    Davekaybsc

    Honda totally missed the boat with this car. What they should’ve done is copied Audi’s strategy with the original R8. The R8 is $170K to start *now*, but back when the first version launched, you could get the 4.2 V8 for $110K – a mid-engine exotic that you could daily drive for the price of a loaded up Porsche 911 C4S.

    The styling was wild, and it was the first car to showcase what Audi’s engineering talent could do with something as seemingly simple as headlights. People took notice, and more importantly, Audi followed it up introducing hot versions of their regular cars, something they had been doing in Europe for awhile, but not really in the US. We had the 2.7T S4, and the RS6 for exactly one model year prior to the introduction of the R8, but after that we had the V8 S4, V10 S6, V10 S8, TT-S, etc. Audi was starting to show they could do this whole performance car thing, and do it pretty well.

    Contrast that with Acura. Imagine if there was a base version of the NSX with RWD and a turbo six. None of the hybrid crap, that you could buy for 911 money. Imagine if Acura then started making a 400hp+ TLX, and 500hp+ RLX, and made those cars in any way interesting at all. But they didn’t. They made a $160K over-teched car with an $80K interior, and did NOTHING with the rest of their lineup. Acura is a company that sells the RDX and MDX to upper middle class wine moms, and sells some other cars nobody cares about or buys. Why would anyone go to that brand to buy a mid-engine exotic that can approach $200K with options when McLaren exists?

  • avatar
    SPPPP

    I think the tech is probably scaring buyers away, to be honest. Acura is a pretty conservative, accountant-like brand. In the first place, the car is expensive. But if you’re an accountant thinking of a splurge, and your salesman starts talking about all these new gizmos developed just for this car, too much uncertainty creeps in. Better off buying a Corvette – a C7, of course, with the bugs worked out. Or maybe the classic NSX, which could even appreciate in value.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    If I were in a different phase of my life, and lived somewhere where speed was fun, I’d be counting down the days until I could get one of these used for around $50k. It’s the car equivalent of a girl who’s a 10 but is perfectly happy to throw on jeans and a t-shirt on a Saturday morning to go to a greasy spoon for breakfast. (And that’s about the only thing it has in common with the first one!) All you people hating on the hybrid tech can go suck on some rolled coal.

    • 0 avatar
      jack4x

      There’s plenty of reasons to dislike this car at its price point even setting aside the hybrid tech.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      Acura NSX fuel economy 21 city/22 highway. Corvette fuel economy 17 city, 29 highway.

      Remind me what’s the point in the Hybrid part of this car? Is anyone really driving a $150k car in the city enough to even make the hybrid tech plausible. Nothing is gained by the hybrid tech.

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        The hybrid tech is like going to a $100 a head restaurant and ordering a McFlurry for dessert. It all sounds great until you add that last part in, which just rings a resounding why?

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        Instant electric-motor response and extra power. The 1000-hp hybrid supercars that sold for several times this car’s price weren’t doing it for fuel economy either.

        That said, many buyers of cars in this price range also do live in places like London where being able to drive on electric power for a few miles is important.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      It isn’t really the “hybrid” part. It is the “turbo V6” part.
      If they had attached the hybrid tech to an 8000RPM naturally-aspirated V10 then I think it would be suitably exotic for the $150K price point.

      Or sell it for $80K.

  • avatar
    IBx1

    Disgusting automatic garbage

  • avatar
    ceipower

    I’m no Fan Boy for anything GM ,but the look of the mid engine Corvette is worlds better than this hodge-podge styling of the NSX. It just looks a mess.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    Those pictures have made me put the NSX on my list. Too bad for Acura its the first gen NSX.


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