It's Easy to Forget the Acura NSX Is a Spaceship

The sedate interior makes you forget you're driving something that looks and drives like nothing else.

Chris Perkins

A friend who's spent time in the new Acura NSX gave it the backhanded compliment of being like "the world's fastest Honda Accord." I don't think this is entirely accurate. The NSX is a true supercar that just so happens to do a very good impression of a Honda Accord.

It's a car that, for a variety of reasons, makes you forget just how weird it is. Weird meaning different. The NSX isn't like most everything else on the road, and I often found myself barely aware of that fact in my two weeks with R&T's long-termer.

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This car has a heavily boosted twin-turbo V6, an electric motor between it and the nine-speed dual-clutch gearbox, and two more motors for each front wheel.

Sometimes all four power units are working together, but often, the V6 shuts off entirely. It's probably the least conventional, most complicated drivetrain offered in any car for sale today, and it works seamlessly. It's doing so many things at any given moment, and behind the wheel, you're just driving it like you would anything else.

Chris Perkins

My experience might have been colored by the fact that a majority of the miles I put on the car were on the highway. I made two weekend trips with it—one to visit some family in Massachusetts and another to visit R&T contributor Blake Z. Rong up in Vermont, where these photos were taken. En route, the NSX soaked up highway miles with uncanny ease. Its magnetorheological dampers give the NSX a firm, but beautifully controlled ride, and its seats aren't hard and confining.

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I only determined four reminders of the NSX's supercar-ness on the highway; seeing the air intakes in the side-view mirrors; the road noise from its optional R-compound Pirelli tires; the huge whap! of acceleration every time you go pass someone; and all the people pulling dangerously close to you in the hopes of getting a picture. Otherwise, the NSX seems shockingly normal.

Chris Perkins

Then you get out of it, befuddled by the looks you getting from people on the street until you turn around and realize that "oh yes, I just drove here in that." It takes a minute to reconcile the NSX's wild looks with the damn-near relaxing highway cruise you just finished.

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You'd think that once you drive the NSX at speed, that feeling would go away somewhat, but for me, it didn't. In Sport+ and Track modes, the NSX is doing all sorts of things to extract as much speed as possible out of the road, but you only get the slightest idea of what it's doing at any moment. You ride a wave of speed and torque that almost feels too easy.

But, it doesn't feel vastly different to one of its closest rivals, the Porsche 911 Turbo S. I mean, yes, the 911 is rear-engined, but other than that, the biggest difference I could feel was the NSX's mitigation of turbo lag. The Turbo S has great throttle response, but the NSX's is noticeably sharper.

Chris Perkins

The NSX is a car that, considering it's made up of so many different parts, feels remarkably cohesive. Well-sorted. Composed.

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But is that a good thing? From an engineering perspective, unquestionably yes. The NSX represents a massive achievement. An almost unbelievable one when you remember that this is only Honda's second clean-sheet supercar—one that arrived 17 years after its predecessor debuted.

And from a daily-driver perspective, it's a good thing too. As we've said many times before, very few cars offer performance, looks, and tech like the this in something you could easily commute with. And that's not me doing performative sadomasochism either—you really could drive this car every single day with no issues.

Chris Perkins

But the NSX also left me a little cold at the end of the day. I wanted more drama, more reminders that the thing I was driving is special. It's almost too intellectual. Maybe I wanted something just a little dumber, or something that appeals to my obnoxious side. Of course, Acura is almost assuredly working on a more hardcore version of the NSX—one that might even wear a "Type R" badge.

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With the NSX, Acura got all the hard shit right, creating an incredible platform to build on. I just hope Acura gives it a bigger sense of humor.

Chris Perkins
Chris Perkins

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Chris Perkins
Chris Perkins
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Chris Perkins
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Chris Perkins
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