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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Acura NSX production model to debut next month in Detroit


Production Acura NSX teaser
Three years ago, Honda executives revealed a concept for a next generation of the fabled Acura NSX supercar, and vowed to return with a production model by 2015. Sure enough, the street-ready version of the new NSX will get its public unveiling in Detroit next month, and Acura has released a few teaser images that show some evolution in the NSX's design.

Compared with the concept first revealed in 2012, the teaser shots reveal a few new details through their computer-controlled darkness.

 The grille has been revised away from the dental-guard look that Acuras sported three years ago; the hood now includes some complex ports, likely for cooling, and the headlamps feature six square individual LED units apiece, keeping with more current Acura models.

 The rear looks closer to what was previously shown, although the rear fenders seem to have a more pronounced arch. (It's a far more muscular appearance than the proto-NSX Robert Downey Jr. drove in "The Avengers.")

All of which is secondary to how the NSX will perform. On paper, it's a complicated set-up; Acura's promising a twin-turbo V-6 with hybrid electric drive and two additional electric motors powering the front wheels.

 Such a design carries a weight penalty (including an unspecified battery pack) out of the box; the big questions will be how much power the V-6 provides, how engaged the front motors are in handling, and how engineers have balanced the ride. You can hear about 1.7 seconds of the NSX's engine in the teaser video below.

The original NSX was a jolt; a car that handled with the best of the Italian exotics in that era at a fraction of the price. The modern-day analogue might be the Porsche 918 hybrid, a similarly complex supercar with a stratospheric price.

 Honda and Acura have stepped away from the sports-car world since the last NSX went out of production — neither sells a true performance model in the United States today — but a new NSX that went tire-to-tire with the best of Europe and America would be worth the three-year wait.