Tech on wheels: Acura NSX re­turns as gas-elec­tric hy­brid

Kuwait Times - - TECHNOLOGY -

Af­ter a 12-year ab­sence, the Acura NSX re­turns for 2017 as the first ga­so­line-elec­tric hy­brid su­per­car, mix­ing ex­otic looks and sports-car han­dling with the lat­est en­gine and elec­tric power tech­nol­ogy. A twin-turbo V-6 be­hind the seats works in tan­dem with elec­tric mo­tors be­tween the front wheels and at the back of the car to gen­er­ate 573 horse­power and 476 foot­pounds of torque, all while wear­ing the fuel-ef­fi­ciency crown for a high-per­for­mance, ga­so­line-pow­ered sports car.

The fed­eral gov­ern­ment rates the 2017 NSX at 21 miles per gal­lon in city driv­ing and 22 mpg on high­ways, which is a 17 per­cent im­prove­ment over the last NSX. These mileage rat­ings help the 2017 NSX avoid the fed­eral gov­ern­ment’s gas guz­zler tax and sur­pass pricey, two-seat su­per­car com­peti­tors - such McLaren, Fer­rari, Lam­borgh­ini and Mercedes-Benz.

But the new NSX is more than a fuel-ef­fi­cient sports car. The elec­tric mo­tors that in­de­pen­dently drive the left and right front wheels also pro­vide torque vec­tor­ing for all-wheel drive taken to a new level of cor­ner­ing pre­ci­sion. The elec­tric power adds fast off-the-line starts, then smoothly tran­si­tions to ro­bust en­gine power. And ev­ery tap of the ac­cel­er­a­tor brings in­stan­ta­neous torque from the elec­tric mo­tors, too, so the NSX feels quick and re­spon­sive across a wide driv­ing range. With a start­ing man­u­fac­turer’s sug­gested re­tail price, in­clud­ing des­ti­na­tion charge, of $157,800, the 2017 NSX un­der­cuts many com­peti­tors, but the price can ex­ceed $200,000 upon adding op­tions such as car­bon fiber pieces and car­bon­ce­ramic brake ro­tors.

On sight, the NSX has a low-slung, sleek body. Ground clearance is just 3.7 inches, and driver and pas­sen­ger drop low into the sculpted seats, where they are per­fectly po­si­tioned to look at the tailpipes of trucks and SUVs ahead of them. Driv­ers must watch that they don’t bump the low NSX nose as they en­ter drive­ways.

At 87.3 inches wide, the NSX’s cabin feels wider and roomier than ex­pected. Legroom maxes out at a de­cent 42.8 inches, and head­room is a good 38.3 inches. Strong en­gine sounds emanate from be­hind the seats where the mid-mounted en­gine re­sides. But there’s a “quiet” drive mode that tries to keep the car on silent elec­tric-only power if the driver can creep along at less than 20 mph.

Good luck with driv­ing this car that slow: The 3.5-liter, dou­ble over­head cam, twin-tur­bocharged V-6 is lon­gi­tu­di­nally placed and is vis­i­ble, un­der its en­gine cover, un­der the glass of the rear win­dow. The en­gine, which is new for Acura and its par­ent com­pany, Honda, has both di­rect in­jec­tion for reg­u­lar fuel de­liv­ery and port in­jec­tion for ad­di­tional power in high­per­for­mance driv­ing.

It’s mated to a nine-speed, dual-clutch trans­mis­sion that can be driven like a typ­i­cal au­to­matic or shifted man­u­ally by the driver with­out the need for a clutch pedal. The NSX rides firmly, feels solidly planted to the road and con­veys even sub­tle road im­per­fec­tions inside to the driver and pas­sen­gers. Many bumps come through as vi­bra­tions, but some can be jar­ring. The car stays amaz­ingly flat in turns and curves, and while it can dart ag­gres­sively through a slalom, it doesn’t feel lightweight. The new NSX weighs 3,800 pounds, some 600 more than its pre­de­ces­sor, be­cause of its elec­tric mo­tors and lithium ion battery pack. The NSX con­trols on the dash­board look like they were pulled out of an­other Acura. As an ex­am­ple, the NSX doesn’t have an en­larged, ver­ti­cally po­si­tioned dis­play screen, like a com­puter tablet, the way such screens are in McLarens, the lat­est Volvos and the Tesla Model S.

The NSX also doesn’t de­cou­ple the sus­pen­sion and en­gine con­trols to al­low driv­ers to mix and match their drive ex­pe­ri­ence the way that a McLaren does. —AP

MI­AMI: In this Mon­day, Dec 12, 2016, photo, a per­son searches the in­ter­net for sales in Mi­ami. With the hol­i­days fast ap­proach­ing, more peo­ple are us­ing their smart­phones and other de­vices to get a han­dle on their last-minute shop­ping. —AP

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Kuwait

© PressReader. All rights reserved.