The NSX’s debut had defined Honda’s approach to “Precision Crafted Performance” with its cutting-edge design and innovative technology that provided accessible supercar performance for real drivers in the real world. By making use of advanced new technologies such as a lightweight yet rigid all-aluminum monocoque body/chassis and a mid-mounted transverse V6, the original NSX challenged the conventional wisdom for a supercar.
Its high-revving V6 engine featured a number of innovative production car technologies including forged pistons, titanium connecting rods and VTEC valve train. Moreover, the NSX sought a more intimate connection between the car, the driver and the road underneath them, pursued through essential design elements – light weight, open and airy cockpit, and excellent ergonomics – creating an altogether new and paradigm-challenging definition of supercar performance.
Development of the next-generation NSX involved a global team of engineers and designers, with development of the Sport Hybrid power unit is located at Honda’s R&D in Tochigi, Japan. The development of the body, chassis, electrical, interior and other vehicle technologies including total system integration, was concentrated in Raymond, Ohio. Initial styling design for the NSX was conducted at the company’s Wako design studio in Japan, and was evolved for production by the Acura Design Studio in Los Angeles.
Whereas the original direction called for a transverse-mounted, normally aspirated V6, the new NSX development concept evolved to a new and more challenging approach: an all-new bespoke twin-turbocharged, longitudinally mounted V6. This radical re-imagination of the engine design had profound implications for every element of the NSX design—the package, cooling, aerodynamics, chassis and more.
The NSX was created to revolutionize supercar performance, delivering a more vivid, immediate and intuitive dynamic experience with zero-delay acceleration, braking and handling – such that the vehicle responds according to the “will” of every driver’s inputs, but truly comes “alive” in the hands of skillful drivers.
Like the original NSX, the all-new NSX has a cutting-edge structure: its Multi-Material body, utilizes new materials and construction methods to create a platform with unprecedented dynamic rigidity. Each suspension point is attached to precision machined castings including the world’s first automotive application of ablation casting technology to provide the ultimate, local attachment point rigidity.
Since steering feel and performance are such an important aspect of the on-rails handling nature of the high-performance NSX, unusually detailed attention was paid to perfecting the steering wheel. This included maximizing grip via a more ergonomic shape and increasing surface contact for the hands, as well as easier operation of the paddle shifters.
To maximize forward visibility, specially designed A-pillars made of ultra-high-strength steel were incorporated into the design of the all-new Acura NSX. These new pillars are actually a full inch thinner than those of the original NSX, but offer enhanced safety performance.
The new Acura NSX Advanced Sports Package is a design philosophy that seeks to optimize the design and packaging of all major vehicle systems—the body, chassis and interior, including the mid-mounted Sport Hybrid Power Unit (engine, Direct Drive Motor and 9DCT) and key hybrid components including the Intelligent Power Unit (containing the lithium-ion battery pack), PDU and the TMU—to lower and center the mass of the vehicle for optimal handling and dynamic response.
NSX’s body shape was effectively designed to minimize aerodynamic drag while creating balanced front-to-rear downforce through a total airflow management focus on utilizing airflow through each vent, while extracting maximum energy from the airflow field to cool the brakes and manage power unit thermal loads.
When accelerating, the system provides instantaneous torque via its three electric motors—the rear direct drive motor and front Twin Motor Unit—that is maximized at all four tires when accelerating or powering out of corners. When trail-braking into a corner, the system utilizes the front TMU for enhanced deceleration—the advanced braking system works in concert with the vehicle’s mechanical brakes to precisely decelerate, and the Direct Yaw Control delivers precise and immediate turn-in performance while allowing drivers to point their eyes toward the corner apexes.
The bespoke, mid-mounted twin-turbocharged, 75-degree 3.5-liter DOHC V6 engine with dry sump lubrication, is mated to an all-new 9-speed dual clutch transmission (9DCT) and Direct-Drive Motor. This is augmented by the front Twin Motor Unit (TMU) driving the front wheels. The NSX Sport Hybrid power unit offers exceptional horsepower and torque with a broad powerband for tremendous throttle response and acceleration. Total system peak output is estimated at 573 horsepower—500 horsepower from the gasoline engine and 73 horsepower from the front TMU.
With a displacement of 3.5 liters, it combines both direct injection and port injection, along with Variable Timing Control (VTC) to deliver optimal camshaft phasing, for precision combustion control throughout the entire rpm band while simultaneously achieving high power output and performance at high engine speeds.
Making use of an electronic wastegate for each turbocharger for faster response as well as more precisely varying vane positioning, the single-scroll turbocharger design allows for the use of smaller turbos to reduce weight and improve packaging, while still meeting power and performance benchmarks. Furthermore, their single-scroll design allows for more efficient collection of exhaust as it escapes from within the cylinders.
To reduce the response delay that is associated with turbocharged powerplants, the rear Direct Drive Motor acts directly on the engine’s crankshaft and works in unison via a sophisticated algorithm to realize direct, high output, high torque acceleration performance. The enhanced efficiency of this design arrangement is particularly noticeable in normal everyday driving when accelerating from a low engine speed. Additionally, the rear electric motor also acts as a generator to provide supplemental power to the vehicles lithium ion battery pack, which also powers the front-mounted TMU.
The new 9-speed dual clutch transmission works in concert with the engine and Direct Drive Motor to make full use of the power unit’s broad power band, producing lightning quick gear changes that support the NSX’s zero-delay response. As a key component of the Advanced Sports Package, the 9DCT has been optimized for compact size, low mass and low CG.
The 9DCT has a very wide ratio range that allows for optimal gear selection in all driving conditions. First gear ratio is configured for maximum vehicle launch acceleration, while the close-ratio gears (2nd through 8th) are perfectly matched to make the most of the power unit’s power band. Conversely, high gear (9th) has been optimized for fuel efficiency during steady-state highway cruising.
In efforts toward compactness and reduction of mass, the clutch and the differential are uniquely situated side-by side in a common housing. By adopting this design, overhang from the rear axle is minimized while the center of mass is moved forward.