DETROIT--At last year's Detroit auto show, Acura unveiled the NSX concept, a welcome return of the brand's legendary sports car. As most Acura concepts have been production-intent, this new high-tech NSX seemed within reach. Acura confirms its commitment to the car by revealing an updated concept this year in Detroit, showing further work on the exterior and a complete cabin design.
The new concept shows a slightly more refined exterior, with some details that make it look less busy. Acura deemphasized the grille's shield motif, while lessening the color differentiation between body and trim parts gives it a more consistent look.
LED headlights are a frequent concept car component sacrificed for production, yet Acura already trademarked its Jewel Eye name for the LED headlights on the upcoming RLX sedan. Expect to see them on the NSX when it hits production.
Surprising for a high-performance sports car, the NSX is coming out as a hybrid. It will use a direct-injection V-6 engine coupled to an electric motor to drive the rear wheels, and two electric motors driving the front wheels. That engine is likely to be the same 3.5-liter V-6 as that used on the RLX sedan, although possibly with higher output.
Electric motors driving the front wheels give the NSX highly flexible four-wheel drive. The car could feature handling programming to put extra torque to the outside wheel in a turn, helping it scramble around the corner.
The NSX should mark the first appearance of a new dual-clutch automated manual gearbox from Acura. The company confirmed that it will be in the NSX, but has not said whether this transmission will make its way into other Acura or Honda models.
Acura estimates that the hybrid version of its RLX sedan, coming later this year, will get an average of 30 mpg in EPA testing. As that car uses a similar drivetrain layout as the NSX and is likely heavier, the NSX could potentially hit mid-30s in fuel economy, an impressive feat when it should also boast around 400 horsepower.
Our first look at the cockpit reveals carbon fiber trim and heavily bolstered red leather seats, choices that verge on garish. The high console lacks a conventional shifter, instead using a big D button for drive mode, along with buttons for sequential shifting on the steering wheel.
At this stage of development, Acura has not said anything about cabin electronics, but there is a large LCD in the middle of the dashboard. With no visible console-mounted controller, it is likely to be a touch screen, similar to those used in other Acura models.