We're counting the days until the 2016 Acura NSX arrives, and are eager to learn every scrap of new info on the car before it hits showrooms later this year. At the 2015 SAE World Congress, Acura dropped a few new facts on its reborn supercar. Here are the most interesting tidbits.
Displacement is confirmed to be 3.5 liters. Previously, Acura only said the NSX would receive a bespoke, longitudinally mounted twin-turbo V-6. As we predicted, the engine will be a 3.5-liter unit with a 75-degree "V" and a dry sump system to maximize lubrication under high lateral Gs. That, of course, is in addition to the car’s three electric motors (two front, one rear) contributing to a total system output of more than 550 hp.
We knew the car would receive an aluminum-intensive, mixed-material space frame chassis, but now Acura has revealed that the NSX features parts produced using an ablation casting process – which the automaker claims is the first application in the automotive industry. The ablation process uses a mold made out of sand and a water-soluble binding agent. Aluminum is poured in and water jets blast away the mold, rapidly cooling the casting to give it ductility not commonly found in cast aluminum parts. These pieces, which are also extremely rigid, act as nodes in the crush zones where energy-absorbing aluminum extrusions can be welded in. Acura says the parts are easy to replace in the event of a crash.
Acura wanted to replicate the visibility of the original NSX, but also wanted to give the next-gen car modern rigidity and roof strength. Thus, the NSX also utilizes a three-dimensionally formed A-pillar composed of ultra-high-strength steel. That material is used elsewhere in the body as well, along with carbon fiber, which makes up the floor.
“We considered all-aluminum unibody, carbon fiber monocoque and space frame designs and ultimately engineered a multi-material space frame because it offers the lowest weight and best rigidity, precision and hybrid powertrain packaging capability of any design,” said Shawn Tarr, principal engineer and Acura NSX body development leader, in a release.
Another thing Acura engineers toiled over was airflow. The NSX allows a great deal of air to flow through it in order to maximize cooling to its 10 heat exchangers (including three engine radiators). All of that air causes drag, so the challenge was to provide sufficient cooling while moving the air quickly through and across the car. Wind tunnel testing revealed a low-pressure zone above the taillights, which designers took advantage of by venting the engine compartment to the area. Heat is sucked away from the car at the rear, which Acura says creates six vortices. The team behind the NSX tell us the car will have best-in-class balance between front and rear downforce, and it will do so without active aerodynamics, wings, flicks, or other aero appendages.
We’re still a few months out from actually driving the NSX, but this new info whets our appetite for more on Acura’s hybrid supercar.