An android in the automotive world, mimicking its supercar rivals in a wholly convincing but absolutely atypical way. I’ve yet to be impressed by something as dead behind the eyes as this twin-turbocharged, hybrid 2017 Acura NSX. It’s slightly disconcerting driving around Palmer Motorsport Park’s rising and dipping, 2.2-mile road course, simply because the NSX feels so far from the norm.
A first encounter with Acura’s second-generation supercar requires patience and understanding. Patience as heat seeps into its Pirelli Super Trofeo R tires and $10,600 carbon-ceramic brakes, and understanding as the $200,000 car inimitably communicates how it is happiest laying down laps at the 2-year-old, 14-turn track carved into the side of a big granite hill in the small Massachusetts town of Ware.
“That’s a beautiful car,” says a wrinkled woman wearing a velour shirt. “That definitely didn’t come from around here.”
In Track mode, shifts are wicked crisp but not nearly as brutal as you would experience in, say, a Lamborghini. With the tires holding tight and everything warm, I start to play tough with the NSX. It doesn’t dance around under braking, and straight-line acceleration is smooth and startlingly quick. I carry as much speed as I comfortably can through a chicane, but the chassis doesn’t wink, dipping side to side with no drama whatsoever. I dig deeper, diving harder into a long, leaning left but then freak a little and lift, causing a slide that makes my stomach drop.
I hesitate to say this is the “New Sports eXperience” the NSX badge promises, but the car offers a unique set of talents and characteristics in an engaging package that’s undeniably alluring, even if not universally adored. So what if the hybrid powertrain has quirks, the complex drivetrain offsets the benefits of a lightweight body, and the badge on the hood doesn’t make passersby melt? The NSX exudes uniqueness from every pore, and it doesn’t come off as delicate or in need of being pampered.