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2019 Acura NSX First Look: Mid-Engine Hybrid Supercar Gets Refreshed

New anti-roll bars, colors, trim herald NSX's junior year

Aug 24, 2018
Writer: Frank Markus

In just its third year on the market, Acura is giving its NSX mid-engine hybrid all-wheel-drive supercar a relatively thorough refresh. Along with gently enhancing the aesthetics, the options list has come in for some rationalization, and the chassis team has made a dynamic tweak or two. We fervently hope the handling tweaks will address some areas of improvement Motor Trend highlighted when the spanking-new NSX made a bid for Best Driver's Car honors in their November 2016 competition, finishing in eighth place.

2019 Acura NSX 04 Photo 2/41   |   2019 Acura NSX 04

Let's start there. After his lapping session, MT's resident hot-shoe Randy Pobst complained the car was overly sensitive to weight transfer on corner entry. Load the nose with just a bit too much trail-braking, and the car responded with excessive, time-robbing oversteer. Others noted that the NSX demanded an unconventional driving style—too much braking before a turn followed by more acceleration than usual to force the torque-vectoring front axle to work its magic pulling the car through. The fix (hopefully): larger anti-roll bars at both ends that increase roll stiffness by 26 percent in front and by 19 percent at the rear. We're not sure how the front and rear roll stiffness percentages compared on the original, but our test car behaved like the front was rolling enough to dig in and allow the stiffer rear end to slide, so this modification sounds like progress.

2018 Acura NSX
$156,000 Base Model (MSRP) 21/22 MPG Fuel Economy

Rear toe-control link bushings that are 21 percent stiffer and rear hubs that are 6 percent more rigid should reduce any lateral slop that might have permitted undesirable passive rear-steering effects. The last hardware change is an upgrade of the standard Continental tires from ContiSportContact 5Ps to SportContact 6s. The new footwear features a revised tread pattern, updated internal construction, and a tweaked rubber compound, all of which is targeted at improving handling in all conditions. (The Pirelli P Zero Trofeo R tires that we had on our BDC test car remain a $1,500 dealer-installed option.)

2019 Acura NSX 39 Photo 3/41   |   2019 Acura NSX 39
2019 Acura NSX 29 Photo 7/41   |   2019 Acura NSX 29

On the software side, the calibrations of all related subsystems—the Super Handling all-wheel-drive power unit, active magnetorheological dampers, electric power steering gear, and stability control system—were revised to capitalize on the new chassis hardware and the grippier tires.

To make it easier for buyers to get what they really want, a bunch of past options are now standard, including the ELS premium audio system (was $2,800); the semi-aniline leather/Alcantara power seats (they were $1,500—the formerly standard manual Milano/Alcantara seats remain a no-cost option, and the price of full leather with power drops from $2,500 to $1,000); and aluminum sport pedals (these used to be packaged with the $2,900 carbon-fiber interior). Acura reckons the newly free stuff is worth $4,700, but it's only hiking the base price by $1,500.

Finally, the aesthetic changes include new paint and trim color options, including Thermal Orange Pearl ($700). That color can also now be had with the $10,600 carbon-ceramic brakes. Iron brakes are now available with red calipers. Inside, the semi-aniline/Alcantara seats are available in blue, and the full-leather is available in red. The surest way to identify the '19 NSX is the body-color grille garnish (it used to be silver) and the gloss black front grille surround, air intake mesh, and rear bumper outlet mesh. The available carbon-fiber decklid spoiler and exterior package (chin spoiler, side sills, rear diffuser) all get a high-gloss finish, too.

We promise to strap into those new blue or red seats at our very earliest opportunity and report on how much more (or less) confidently the 2019 NSX tackles the corners of our favorite race tracks.

2019 Acura NSX 21 Photo 8/41   |   2019 Acura NSX 21
2019 Acura NSX
BASE PRICE $159,300
VEHICLE LAYOUT Mid-engine, AWD, 2-pass, 2-door coupe
ENGINE 3.5L/500-hp/406-lb-ft twin-turbo DOHC 24-valve V-6 plus two 36-hp/54-lb-ft front and one 47-hp/109-lb-ft rear electric motors; 573 hp/476 lb-ft comb
TRANSMISSION 9-speed twin-clutch auto.
CURB WEIGHT 3,900 lb (mfr)
WHEELBASE 103.5 in
LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT 176.0 x 76.3 x 47.8 in
0-60 MPH 3.1 sec (MT est)
ENERGY CONSUMPTION, CITY/HWY 160/153 kW-hrs/100 miles
CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 0.90 lb/mile
ON SALE IN U.S. Fall 2018
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