The 2019 Acura NSX is a glimpse of the future, today

Photos: Nicholas Yekikian

Photos: Nicholas Yekikian

By Nicholas Yekikian

The 2019 Acura NSX is flawed in many ways. 

The interior is poorly put together, with parts of the footwells and dash being unfinished – either literally or simply in feel. With a base price of $157,000 it’s also too much money. And it doesn’t offer the drama of a Lamborghini, the soundtrack of an Audi R8 with a V10, or the versatility of something like a 911 Turbo -- thanks to a lack of rear seats.

The double-clutch transmission isn’t anything like as quick as the unit in a Ferrari 488, and the plastic paddles the gearbox is connected to feel so cheap you wouldn’t be blamed for thinking they were pilfered from an arcade racing game.

It would also be a mistake to call the driving experience pure. The three electric motors don’t pull off the clever “torque-fill” trick of other hybrid supercars – a technology used to fill the gaps in power delivery common with heavily turbocharged motors such as the twin turbo V6 in this NSX. There’s still a noticeable delay between burying your right foot in the carpet and power coming on. The steering doesn't deliver much in the way of feel and neither do the brakes – but they are extremely easy to modulate despite the brake-by-wire setup.

But even with all of its drawbacks, the NSX represents the future of the performance car.

Remember the McLaren P1, the Porsche 918 and the Ferrari LaFerrari? Each car in that multi-million dollar trio that car enthusiasts fawned over back in 2013 featured hybrid assistance to augment a big V8 or V12. The 918 and P1 both had EV modes, and despite their limited ranges, could be driven on electric power alone. The point was to use electricity to make a car faster, not more efficient – something that was brand new at the time.

The NSX isn’t as fast as those cars – nor should it be. Face it, you don’t need 1,000 horsepower to be happy, its 573 horsepower and 476 lb-ft. is plenty.

Despite still being overpriced for what it is, it’s still a fraction of any member of that automotive triumvirate and still offers a similarly forward-thinking experience. Not a single Lamborghini, now or ever, can crawl around Los Angeles on electric power alone – and, up until recently, neither could any Ferrari, but the new SF90 Stradale fixed that. 

The NSX is the most accessible version of the scary unknown we call the future that enthusiasts have today. That is something that should be celebrated. It’s not perfect, but the first iteration of a new technology hardly ever is. Honda has once again beaten the automotive establishment, and that’s what the NSX has always set out to do.

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Nicholas YekikianComment