Acura Reminds Us of the Good Old Days With Yellow NSX

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
acura reminds us of the good old days with yellow nsx

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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  • Ceipower Ceipower on Aug 09, 2019

    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.

  • Art Vandelay Art Vandelay on Aug 11, 2019

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

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  • Dusterdude @SCE to AUX , agree CEO pay would equate to a nominal amount if split amongst all UAW members . My point was optics are bad , both total compensation and % increases . IE for example if Mary Barra was paid $10 million including merit bonuses , is that really underpaid ?
  • ToolGuy "At risk of oversimplification, a heat pump takes ambient air, compresses it, and then uses the condenser’s heat to warm up the air it just grabbed from outside."• This description seems fairly dramatically wrong to me.
  • SCE to AUX The UAW may win the battle, but it will lose the war.The mfrs will never agree to job protections, and production outsourcing will match any pay increases won by the union.With most US market cars not produced by Detroit, how many people really care about this strike?