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2020 Acura NSX Performance Review

Scorecard

Performance: 9.2

Thrilling is a good way to describe what it feels like to drive the 2020 Acura NSX. This midengine supercar is incredibly quick, well-balanced, and athletic. Its hybrid powertrain is polished but not necessarily very fuel-efficient.

  • "The breadth of performance capability in the NSX is nothing short of astounding. But in this class it's not just about capability; it's also about the way it does what it does. What the Acura lacks in flair for the dramatic it nearly makes up for in technical sophistication and overall competency." -- Edmunds (2018)
  • "Comfortable, quick, responsive and flat-out fun, the Acura NSX lives up to its Precision Crafted Performance design brief on every level." -- Kelley Blue Book (2017)
  • "In street driving, the NSX becomes a pussycat. Performance is there if you need it, but when you don't, you just cruise around town in a car that looks completely out of place — a sleek, low, supercar among the ordinary." -- USA Today (2017)

Acceleration and Power

The NSX is incredibly quick, launching from zero to 60 mph in as little as 2.9 seconds. Its complex powertrain works seamlessly and provides immediate pep at any speed. There are few luxury sports cars with base engines that can match its 573-horsepower rating.

Only one powertrain is available for this car. It is a hybrid setup that combines a twin-turbo 3.5-liter V6 engine, two front electric motors, a single rear electric motor, a nine-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, and a lithium-ion battery.

The electric motors provide instant torque, which improves acceleration rates, not fuel economy. NSX fuel economy ratings are estimated at 21 mpg in the city and 22 mpg on the highway. That's slightly below average for the class.

  • "This hybrid setup feels like the way of the supercar future that others are set to follow. And it's endlessly impressive just how seamlessly the engineers have managed to integrate three electric motors, a twin-turbo V-6, and a nine-speed dual-clutch automatic into this mid-engine architecture." -- Car and Driver (2019)
  • "Once I exited a corner and had some space to accelerate, the NSX was a rocket. The hybrid system provides some epic torque throughout any range, supplementing the conventional engine’s nearly 500 HP with a burst of power to fill any tiny void of power band drop. As we’ve said before, it’s like a Ferrari and a Tesla had a kid. The forward surge is addictive. Moving out of a 50 mph corner exit to well over 100 mph on a straight is completed in a blink, and will keep pulling to obscene speeds if you keep your right foot planted for a few more seconds." -- Jalopnik (2019)
  • "And that throttle, man oh man ... of course the NSX is a fast car, but it’s so consistently fast in all situations. Making the electric side of the hybrid system work harder means a stab of the gas pushes you against the seatback like a blitzing linebacker. It’s glorious." -- Autoweek (2019)

Handling and Braking

The NSX is well-balanced, with a suspension system that keeps body movements in check without feeling uncomfortably firm. This Acura achieves high levels of grip, thanks to its Super Handling All-Wheel Drive system. You can choose between standard Brembo brakes and optional high-performance carbon ceramic rotors with silver or black calipers. There are four drive modes: Sport, Sport+, Track, and Quiet.

  • "In Quiet and Sport modes, the steering is direct and accurate but light to the touch, which we think is an attempt to make the NSX feel maneuverable on a day-to-day basis. Such a setup, however, feels out of place on such a performance-oriented vehicle. In Sport Plus and Track modes, the electric-power-steering system dials in more weight. Regardless of the setting, the steering is crisp, and the car responds smartly to the slightest of driver inputs." -- Car and Driver
  • "This car can make you believe you’re a hero—it dares you to drive harder, to stretch your limits as its digital gauge symphony and piped-in redline wail assault your mindspace. When you run out of talent, it’s there to reel you back in. … Does it corner flatter? We’re not sure it needed to, but any kind of incremental improvement to a car this good is welcome as far as we’re concerned." -- Automobile Magazine (2019)
  • "In just a few laps, I can tell it’s definitely more fun on a circuit than it was before. Grip from the new Continental rubber is quick on turn-in, and they don’t get too greasy after a few hot laps like the SportContact 5 tires did. … Steering response is on point. I really enjoyed how easy the NSX is to maneuver through the TRC’s handling course’s quick transitions from right to left in one section. There’s basically zero body roll, and the clever ability of Acura’s SH-AWD system to move power front to rear while offering some serious torque vectoring made trickier corners a breeze." -- Jalopnik (2019)
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2020 Acura NSX

MSRP: $157,500

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