2019 Acura NSX Track Test Review
The 2019 Acura NSX makes sonorous noises behind my ear as the tachometer soars toward 7,500 rpm. My hands grip the squared-off steering wheel a bit too hard as I scrub off about 60 mph and dive into the first corner of the Transportation Research Center (TRC) dynamic handling course. There’s 3,878 pounds of car beneath me, but the front tires do exactly what my hands tell them to, without hesitation, and I’m through the double apex corner without even thinking about the defiance of physics I just witnessed.
On paper, a nearly 4,000-pound track car makes no sense. Yet in practice, it’s just as tossable and eager to change direction as something much lighter. This is the NSX’s party trick, thanks to some magic with the suspension and all-wheel drive system on this car. And while the new NSX is a very different vehicle than its predecessor, it was born of a similar spirit of innovation and forward thinking.
The original Acura NSX hit the streets in 1991, establishing a new set of rules for every supercar released since. Constructed of an aluminum body — still an exotic material mainly used in competition vehicles —
When the second-generation NSX came out for the 2016 model year, the steering drew complaints. This refresh focused heavily on fine-tuning the steering and suspension, and it worked. Front and rear stabilizer bars are 26 percent and 19 percent stiffer respectively.
Another roadblock to success the NSX faces is the stiffer competition today versus when the original went on sale in 1991. Nobody expects supercar sales to be robust, but Acura sold just 11 NSXs in September this year. The original NSX died off because Acura couldn’t sell any of them, and they were significantly more expensive by the end of production. Now Acura has to deal with the Audi R8, McLaren 570S and even the 911 Turbo at or near its price point. Those cars are no slouches themselves.
Living up to the legendary reputation of the first Japanese supercar is difficult too. The original NSX is a tough act to follow, particularly in terms of driving feel. But the new NSX is so incredibly dazzling on track, it’s easy to forgive the few areas in need of some polish. The bottom line is that the ’19s gain welcome and noticeable improvements that make it a better supercar. Consider me smitten.