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2019 Acura NSX Performance Review

Scorecard

Performance: 9.1

The 2019 Acura NSX’s performance can be summed up in one word: sublime. Acceleration is brisk, handling is composed yet responsive, and every element works seamlessly together to create a dynamic experience. Fuel economy is the only thing that's about average for this supercar.

  • 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 advantage of this car's hybrid powertrain is not fuel economy – it is performance. The three electronic motors, twin-turbocharged V6, and nine-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission work in harmony. This Sport Hybrid SH-AWD Power Unit is eager to please at any speed, with instant torque that provides gratifyingly quick acceleration. The fuel economy ratings are slightly below average for the luxury sports car class, at 21 mpg in the city and 22 mpg on the highway.

  • "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
  • 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
  • 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

Handling and Braking

A number of cleverly tuned components are behind the NSX's superb handling. Its standard all-wheel drive can shift power to the end of the car that needs it most – a result of mounting electric motors at both the front and rear wheels. The included Active Vectoring System adds power or braking to select wheels to increase stability and grip in high-speed corners. Responsive steering and brakes add to this supercar's precise handling. Some of these elements can be adjusted using the Quiet, Sport, Sport+, and Track driving modes.

  • "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, as it did when I cooked it too hard into Takasu’s back side set of esses. 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
  • "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
  • And man can it corner, thanks to Active Torque Vectoring that independently applies power or braking forces to each front wheel to further enhance grip. And the Acura's excellent mechanical/regenerative braking system feels great and is extremely positive. But the best part, the part that blows our minds is the civility and the comfort. The NSX is a pussycat in traffic and in the tight confines of the city. You can control these multiple personalities with four driver-selectable settings, Quiet, Sport, Sport+ and Track. Each tunes the steering, brakes, throttle response, Vehicle Stability Assist, magnetorheological dampers and Sport Hybrid SH-AWD while tweaking the level of exhaust roar both inside the car and out." -- Kelley Blue Book (2018)
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