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Hitting the right RPM

Joined
11 August 2011
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2,634
Location
Arlington, VA
I took my NSX for a road trip up to Jersey this weekend for a wedding and was able to catch up with a friend of mine who is also a car enthusiast. As he owned and daily drove an R8 for a while I was very interested in his perspective on my ride and he was eager to get behind the wheel of what he felt was the "spiritual" predecessor for his former R8.

He loved the ride position, crisp steering and engine note but I could tell he was a little underwhelmed. The conversation turned to the "only" 290HP and I mentioned that superchargers and turbo chargers and fairly common mods to resolve that issue.

I then hopped behind his modded out S6 which had some ungodly amount of horsepower; the thing was just a BEAST! However, it still drove a lot like a sedan and didn't give the same connection to the road as my NSX. While it got from point A to point B extremely fast, the journey just didn't light up your soul the same way as a car with a more sports car position does. He completely understood and it is one of the big things he misses about his R8 (which he sold for financial reasons and replaced with the S6).

His S6 had a paddle shifter and I kept telling me to upshift. We realized later that I was settling in to a 3-4000 RPM cruising zone and he advised me to stick with a 2-3000 RPM zone instead. I commented that I have fallen in to that RPM range on my NSX as my happy spot which he found interesting as he was running my NSX in the 2-3000 RPM range when he drove it.

So, it was time for drive #2 and this time I encouraged him to run the tach up a bit higher. BAM! "Oh my, this is an entirely different car!" Then we got out on a highway with the NSX and he got it in to the 6-7500 range. "Holy #(*&%, this is sweet!" While he had heard the "VTECH just kicked in yo!" phrase around the internet, this was his first real experience with it and now he understood the phrase. After that drive he felt that a turbo charger would make this car just insane (in a good way!), but had a completely different feel for the car.

While he will still end up with an R8 if he gets his finances back in order (he's a big guy, 6 3" size 12 shoes and heavy set and just doesn't fit well in the NSX), he is officially a big fan of my car and will happily grab the keys anytime I offer them and go out for a spirited drive.
 
always nice to share cars with enthusiasts. We have some nsx owners that have admitted to rarely driving above the vtec engagement.I agree the harder you drive and rev the nsx the better it gets.Other cars ...not so much.
 
:biggrin:
His S6 had a paddle shifter and I kept telling me to upshift. We realized later that I was settling in to a 3-4000 RPM cruising zone and he advised me to stick with a 2-3000 RPM zone instead. I commented that I have fallen in to that RPM range on my NSX as my happy spot which he found interesting as he was running my NSX in the 2-3000 RPM range when he drove it.

Yeah, the ol' torque (via large displacement or FI) v. HP conundrum. Your friend is obviously a torque guy. Which is perfectly fine. I used to be one. :biggrin:

Stating what is obvious to Primers, it's not the raw number with the NSX. It's HOW it makes its power. It has decent (not spectacular) torque low- and mid- but the way the car pulls about 5k, all the way to 8k, is mesmerizing. That's what I love about the NSX (one of the many things I love about it).

Oh, and if he was shifting in the 7500 RPM range, he was missing out on 500 excitingly usable RPM (700 or so if you go up to the rev limiter :biggrin:).
 
the harder you drive and rev the nsx the better it gets.Other cars ...not so much.

I could not agree more! The harder you push it, the more it rewards you!
 
So, it was time for drive #2 and this time I encouraged him to run the tach up a bit higher. BAM! "Oh my, this is an entirely different car!" Then we got out on a highway with the NSX and he got it in to the 6-7500 range. "Holy #(*&%, this is sweet!" While he had heard the "VTECH just kicked in yo!" phrase around the internet, this was his first real experience with it and now he understood the phrase. After that drive he felt that a turbo charger would make this car just insane (in a good way!), but had a completely different feel for the car.

Very true. When I first got my NSX, I was shifting way too conservatively and early (around 2-3000 RPM range) because that's how I drove my previous cars. Subsequently I had trouble keeping up with other stock NSXs, and was wondering what I was doing wrong. Finally, after learning that it was ok to shift at a much higher RPM and that would not be detrimental to the engine, I took the car into VTEC and it was a night & day difference.
 
I'm still new to the NSX. Lovin' every minute of it. During regular driving, I've been shifting around 3K RPM. It seems like you guys are saying to push it to the 4k-5k range. I love the sound north of 5K, but it seems hard to get there most of the time without blowing by the speed limit on non-highway driving.
 
I'm still new to the NSX. Lovin' every minute of it. During regular driving, I've been shifting around 3K RPM. It seems like you guys are saying to push it to the 4k-5k range. I love the sound north of 5K, but it seems hard to get there most of the time without blowing by the speed limit on non-highway driving.

What you're doing is fine for normal cruising. However, if you want a little more punch during spirited driving, don't be afraid to let the engine rev before you shift. :wink:
 
for you new owners with the 0lder 5 speed reading this.....you can get to 80 mph in 2nd gear:biggrin: fool around with that for a while.:cool:
 
for you new owners with the 0lder 5 speed reading this.....you can get to 80 mph in 2nd gear:biggrin: fool around with that for a while.:cool:

Too bad I'll never be able to do that since the max speed limit around here is 65. :wink:
 
What you're doing is fine for normal cruising. However, if you want a little more punch during spirited driving, don't be afraid to let the engine rev before you shift. :wink:

Revs required are commensurate with acceleration desired and inversely commensurate with fuel conservation desired. :tongue:

Seriously, it's a "feel" thing. Via repetition you'll know when you're unnecessarily using RPMs if acceleration is not required, and vice versa, although if you make the assumption that max acceleration is achieved by max revs, you can figure it out. (That said, that's NOT true for ALL cars. Some cars fall on their faces up near the redline, in those cases it's better to short shift. Depends on the torque curve of the motor.)
 
I noticed this when I normally drive my NSX I always shift 2-3K to the next gear and it does make the NSX feel a bit eh... When I feel like playing I'll bring it up to 4-6K and it feels good. When I bring it up to redline I just have a huge grin on my face because the car just feels totally different at that point. I don't do it often of course because I can only do it in 1st gear without breaking the law but when I do it's great. :biggrin:

I can't wait to try it out again with the power increase and the the 20 lbs I'm loosing due to the comptech exhasut + headers I'm putting in. Car should definitely be even more fun :).
 
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