While we wait for Acura's long-gestating 2017 NSX to hurtle to market in spring 2016 at its claimed 191-mph top speed, the company has released new information about the sports car and its technologically impressive, hybrid-electric drivetrain.
At the rear, the NSX is propelled by a twin-turbocharged 500-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 whose cylinders are laid out with a 75-degree angle between the banks. This is to help lower the car's center of gravity compared to a taller engine with a typical 60-degree vee angle. A racing-style dry sump oil pan lets the engine sit lower in the car, further contributing to a lower center of gravity.
At 3.803 lbs., the NSX is no lightweight, but Honda has always been a master of mass centralization in both its cars and its motorcycles, so they usually feel lighter than the scale says they are.
That gas motor is supported by a 47-horsepower electric motor, and together they send power through a nine-speed dual-clutch transmission to the rear wheels. Power to the front wheels comes from a pair of 36-horsepower electric motors in the nose of the car. Total maximum power of all the NSX's powerplants totals more than the rated 573 horsepower because the gas and electric motors make peak power at different speeds, so they don't all make maximum power at the same time.
While some car manufacturers make a big deal of their latest models being entirely constructed of some zoomy new space-age material, the NSX is built using a canny mixture of ultra-high-strength steel, aluminum and carbon fiber, with each deployed where it is best suited.
The steel, for example, provides crash safety in the car's A-pillars around the windshield that support the roof. Meanwhile, the floorpan is carbon fiber, because computer analysis showed that if it were aluminum like most of the rest of the frame, it would need additional support for when people climb into and out of the car.
The NSX will be popular with the neighbors of sports car owners, who surely tire of the early morning roar announcing their startup and departure. Its pair of front electric motors let it creep out of your block on electric-only power unless you step hard on the accelerator pedal.
Then it clamps down on engine noise with all the electronic gadgets at its disposal and limits engine speed to 4,000 rpm, so that the car is 25 decibels quieter in quiet mode than in track mode.
If all that sounds good and you're willing to fork over the $170,000 estimated price, you may want to take the Acura NSX for a spin.
Photos by American Honda Motor Co.