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Auto review: Wicked 600-hp Acura NSX Type S saves the best for last

Henry Payne, The Detroit News on

Published in Automotive News

SOUTHFIELD, Michigan — The Acura NSX is galloping off into the sunset in style. For its last model year, the NSX gets a Type S performance model with 600 horsepower, carbon-fiber roof, sticky Pirelli P Zero PZ4 tires and quicker shifting.

Awesome. But can we talk styling?

As one of world’s rare mid-engine supercars — and one of only two Made in the USA (the other is the Corvette C8 in Kentucky) — the NSX’s conservative wardrobe always appeared a mismatch for the sinewy, all-wheel-drive hybrid turbo-V6 sci-fi beast underneath.

Walk up to a C8 and its shard-like headlights stare at you hungrily. Come across a Lamborghini Huracan and it looks like Smaug the Dragon on the verge of burning down Middle Earth. The NSX? It has the face of a Honda Accord.

Not the Type S. This thing looks wicked. For its last hurrah, Acura has remade the front and rear clips of its supercar for proper menace. The headlights — 12 LED projectors glowing inside — are now visually separated from the gaping grille and underlined by gaping gills. A huge diffuser hangs out back.

Now that’s a proper supercar. Like an alien insectoid come to earth to consume all our asphalt roads.

 

Type S and I did a lot of consuming.

Over northern Oakland County’s twisty lake roads, I nailed the throttle and the V-6 howled with pleasure. Slinging NSX around a 180-degree Telegraph Road turn, I stomped the gas. More howling. Out of a stoplight on a vacant rural two-lane, I initiated launch control for a 2.9-second 0-60 mph sprint. Hooowwwwl!

With 492 pound-feet of thrust, the hybrid all-wheel-drive drivetrain is a joy. Despite the resulting 3,900 pounds of girth, the supercar’s low center of gravity makes it feel sucked to the road. It’s learned at the feet of the NSX GT3 race car (still competitive on the IMSA circuit). Given that it was introduced in 2017, the NSX's interior design is dated given the relentless industry electronics race — but also since NSX’s signature cyclops driver mode button and trigger shifter are being phased out in other Acura/Honda products. But it’s still unusual, a reminder of the NSX’s ambitions when it was rolled out as a $160,000 hybrid supercar with tech previously found on the $1 million Porsche 918.

Despite its technological prowess, NSX was a sales disappointment, moving just 2,548 copies globally over its five-year run. Though cheap for the hybrid supercar class, it had to compete against comparably priced cyborgs like the flat-6-fired $160K Porsche 911 GT3. Ohhhh, knees. Getting. Weak.

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