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DigitalTrends: 560hp & 650lb-ft

16 November 2009
Everything you need to know about the Acura NSX hybrid supercar

When an Acura NSX prototype did a couple of unofficial laps at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio last weekend, just before an IndyCar race, car fans took notice, just as they did when a topless NSX had a cameo in Avengers last year.

Normally, Acuras don’t inspire this kind of excitement, but the NSX is different.

When Japan’s 1st mass production mid-engined supercar was unveiled in 1990, it signaled that the Japanese car industry had arrived. It took on the best, from Ferrari to Porsche, and won, combining extreme performance with Honda’s legendary reliability.

Now, Acura is trying to recapture that magic with a 21st century twist. 1st shown as a concept car at the 2012 Detroit auto show, the new NSX will be a hybrid, and is set to go on sale next year. There was another sneak peek in this hilarious 2012 Superbowl ad.

In the meantime, we’ve gathered everything there is to know about the NSX in 1 convenient dossier, and checked out the hybrid supercar competition. Read on for all of the juicy details.


Like the 1st NSX, the reincarnation will have a V6 engine mounted in the middle, but the similarities end there.

The V6 displaces 3.5 liters and has 2 turbochargers. It produces 450 horsepower and 450 pound-feet of torque, but it also gets a little help from 3 electric motors. 1 motor is attached to the car’s 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, helping to drive the rear wheels. The other 2 drive 1 front wheel each.

Combined, the V6 and 3 electric motors produce 560 hp and 650 lb-ft. Acura calls the system Sport Hybrid Super Handling-All Wheel Drive, and like the non-hybrid variant found in many of the brand’s regular cars, it should be able to vector torque side-to-side, helping to accelerate the NSX out of corners more quickly.

All of those mechanical bits are wrapped in svelte styling that makes all of Acura’s recent angular sedans and SUVs make sense. This is what Acura’s stylists must have envisioned when the boss told them to design a car with a totally unique design language, but before they were told that car had to be the 2012 TSX.

Unlike the questionably-styled cars we’ve seen over the past few years, the NSX looks amazing. All of those sharp edges make it look like a stealth fighter.

Acura has also shown a concept interior for the NSX. The “Human Support Cockpit” theme features a raised center stack (moving the controls closer to the driver) a large central screen (in case the driver wants to read Facebook statuses at 180 mph), and plenty of carbon fiber. It looks like a wonderful place to be.


The long and winding road

Since the original NSX went out of production in 2005, Honda has dragged its feet about finding a replacement.

In 2007, Acura showed the Advanced Sports Car Concept in Detroit. While it featured a front-mounted V10, it was hailed as the NSX’s replacement. After its development was interrupted by the 2008 financial crisis, Honda built 1 prototype, dubbed HSV-010 GT, and campaigned it in the Japanese Super GT series.

That seemed to be the end of that, until an unusual Acura-badged sports car was spotted on the set of Avengers, with Robert Downey Jr. at the wheel. This convertible morphed into the hardtop NSX concept shown at Detroit in early 2012. Since then, it’s been a waiting game.

The wait is almost over, though: Acura will put the NSX on sale on 2015. It will be built at a new “Performance Manufacturing Center” in Marysville, Ohio, adjacent to 2 existing Honda facilities.


When it finally goes on sale, the NSX won’t be the only hybrid supercar game in town. The international cast of rivals includes the Ferrari LaFerrari, McLaren P1, and Porsche 918 Spyder.

So how does the NSX stack up?

On paper, not very well. The least powerful of the trio, the Porsche, has 887 hp and 940 lb-ft of torque, courtesy of a 4.6-liter V8 and 2 electric motors. That’s 327 horsepower and 380 pound-feet more than the Acura.

The Ferrari and McLaren are even farther ahead: LaFerrari has a 6.3-liter V12 and a single electric motor, good for a combined 950 hp and 664 lb-ft, while the P1 has a 3.8-liter twin-turbocharged V8 and a single electric motor, together producing 903 hp and 723 lb-ft.

At 3,350 pounds, the NSX is the lightest of the group; curb weights are 3,450 lbs, 3,400 lbs, and 3,700 lbs for the Ferrari, McLaren, and Porsche respectively. Still, that power gap means the NSX will probably be left in the dust (official performance figures haven’t been released).

That other important performance metric, fuel economy, is also a tossup. Acura has said that it could give the NSX an electric-only operating mode, but hasn’t confirmed whether it will actually do that. The LaFerrari cannot operate solely on electricity, while the P1 and 918 have EV ranges of 6 miles and 18 miles, respectively, with the 918 reportedly able to top 80mph in EV mode.

However, direct comparisons between the NSX and other hybrid supercars aren’t really fair, because the Acura will be much cheaper. Whereas the 918 Spyder is on sale now for $845,000, and the LaFerrari and P1 are expected to cost over $1 million each, the NSX is expected to cost under $200,000.

That puts the NSX in the “entry level” supercar category alongside the Audi R8, Ferrari 458 Italia, and McLaren MP4-12C. Its hybrid powertrain will make it 1-of-a-kind in that class.

Of course, to be truly faithful to its predecessor, the new NSX needs to be more than competitive. It needs to set a new standard for automotive excellence. Does this all-wheel drive hybrid have what it takes? We’ll find out in 2015.
Who's their source and how come no one else has these numbers???

I say this as that's anemicly weak for a 3.5L Aren't eople are getting close to that with lower boost turbos on the 3.2 C32B?? So the only way new Honda can get over 120hp nowadays is with a turbo??? I still like but that's a let down. How is that progress???
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Who's their source and how come no one else has these numbers???

I say this as that's anemicly weak for a 3.5L Aren't eople are getting close to that with lower boost turbos on the 3.2 C32B?? So the only way new Honda can get over 120hp nowadays is with a turbo??? I still like but that's a let down. How is that progress???

If it is truly twin turbo, then it we all know 450 hp is a conservative guess. It'll probably do that close to 450 whp lol and that's probably on 6-7 psi, which would make for a very fast spool. These twin turbo rumors are rampant. Atleast that means the boost can be turned up for easy power!
Yep... remember the BMW 335i?


Re-flashed ECU and it's raping E92 M3

Yes, and if it's direct injection, then the compression ratio will be high like the 335i too I imagine. Turbo lag should none existent on the NSX if that is the case. The only concern about twin turbos are reliability... Perhaps it should be single turbo just to keep the system simpler.
Yep... remember the BMW 335i?


Re-flashed ECU and it's raping E92 M3
Yeah no it doesn't at least not at the track


No Bats I could not embed YouTube vid from my phone.

- - - Updated - - -

I asked the author in the comments on that page that question...

Actually it's a fluff piece. It says
'we gathered everything there is to know
. So no insider information just whatever they found online. Nothing to see here
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yeah sign me up on the engine refresh option too, just NA they can keep the batteries on the new model
A 3.5 L with 450 hp and no boost would be 128 hp per liter.
This would seem to be in line with the 458 and GT3 hp per liter at 125 hp/liter.
Wouldn't we expect Honda to be able to build a direct injection engine with 125 hp/liter?

The only thing I can think of is maybe they are using one of their current undersquare low revving V6's
If so perhaps they can't get the same hp/liter as Ferrari/Porsche who have high rpm oversquare engines.

This might lead to a turbo to get the hp up.
For those of you with turbo experience, how much hp gain would you expect on a factory turbo built for reliability and a redline of say 7500 rpm?
How much does a turbo/intercooler setup weigh?
Thinking batteries plus a twin turbo/intercooler plus control systems might weight a bit.
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The NSX proto that drove around the Mid Ohio circuit did not sound Turbo charged. It sounded like a highly tuned NA v6.
If it makes even 400 hp [GT3 3.8 makes 475 in NA form] and the electric motors are able to provide another 100hp, that is 500 hp and if the car is around 3200 lbs, that is sufficient to be in the same ball park wt/power ratio as the GT3. But the NSX should have higher torque than the GT3's 324 lb/ft, due to the electric motors and possibly better acceleration than the GT3's 3-3.3 seconds [latest Car and Driver, 3.0 sec to 60].

I think the main thing Honda must do is to keep the weight in check. The location of the battery pack in the middle tunnel area should help handling but if the batteries make the weight over 3500 lbs, then it will not be a nimble machine. Exotic materials can help with the weight but will not help with the price.
So here we are almost four months after this breaking news article and it has proven to be quite accurate. Doesn't say anything about the engine being placed longitudinally but it accurately reports (predicts) the twin turbos.

I suspect the power and torque specs are pretty close as well. At least when I play with the numbers based on the RLX Sport Hybrid and the new Civic R Turbo, they seem about right. If so the really exciting thing is that the NSX will pack about 200 more ft/lb of torque than the Nissan GTR. That would make it crazy fast as long as they can keep the weight in check (which apparently they are targeting for 3086 lbs.)
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