2019 Acura NSX Review: A small nip and tuck adds big gains

The original Acura NSX was ahead of its time with its aluminum architecture, VTEC V6 and looks that rivaled Ferrari. Back then the young Acura brand proved that it could build a supercar. When Acura decided to build a second-generation NSX it decided to once again take a different path than its supercar rivals, with the final result being a hybrid NSX with three electric motors and a twin-turbocharged V6.

The second-generation NSX debuted in 2017 and although it was a technological tour-de-force, it didn’t quite capture the love that we gave the original. Now two years later, Acura has given the 2019 NSX a refresh, with several performance enhancements. The biggest change you can see are new Continental SportContact 6 tires that were developed exclusively for the NSX. The 2019 NSX also receives larger front and rear stabilizer bars that are 26 percent stiffer in the front and 19 percent stiffer in the rear. Lastly the stiffness of the rear toe link bushings has been increased by 21 percent and the rear hub rigidity is also 6 percent stiffer now.

What does this all mean? The 2019 Acura NSX can now get around the track faster than before. Acura recently took the 2019 NSX to the Suzuka Circuit where it lapped the track two seconds faster than the 2017 NSX.

The 2019 NSX’s hybrid powertrain carries over largely unchanged other than some software updates. The powertrain mates a twin-turbocharged 3.5L V6 with 500 horsepower and 406 lb-ft. of torque to a 47 horsepower electric motor and a nine-speed automatic transmission. At the front there are also two additional 36 horsepower electric motors that power the front wheels. At the end of the day the 2019 NSX packs a total 573 horsepower and 476 lb-ft. of torque.

With that much power, the NSX can reach 60 mph in only 2.7 seconds and a top speed of 191 mph. The 2019 NSX beats the Audi R8 and McLaren 570S to 60 mph, but both models have a slightly higher top speed. The NSX also features a cool launch mode that pushes your back into the seat the second you release the brake pedal. Hold the brake pedal with your left foot, while simultaneously mashing the gas pedal to the floor. The second you left of the brake you take off like a rocket.

To show off how much the small adjustments to the tires and suspension improve the 2019 NSX, Acura gave us a chance to do several laps in the updated NSX on the track at the Transportation Research Center in Ohio. TRC is also only minutes away from where Acura builds the NSX by hand. Acura’s engineers also used the test track to develop the 2019 NSX.

Power up the NSX and you’ll immediately notice that something is missing, the NSX doesn’t have that raw supercar sound like you’d expect. Instead it could easily be mistaken for a regular hybrid, but that’s easily fixed thanks to the four driving modes: Quiet, Sport, Sport+ and Track.

For our short time with the 2019 NSX we turned the dial to the most extreme driving mode – Track. In Track mode the NSX’s V6 engine comes to life with as much of a raw sound that Acura’s engineers were willing to give it. The Track mode also loosens the settings for the stability control, tightens the steering and makes the 9-speed transmission shift even faster. The hybrid powertrain’s battery is also kept at an optimal level to make sure there’s always enough juice on hand to power up the electric motors.

Once on TRC’s Dynamic Handling Course, the NSX’s hybrid powertrain comes to life with instantaneous torque from the electric motors and the sweet sounds from the twin-turbocharged V6. Even with 573 horsepower on tap, the 2019 NSX never feels unpredictable at full speed, unlike some other supercars that will easily throw you into a ditch if you aren’t careful. The NSX picks up speed with precision, while its steering and suspension improvements make it feel more nimble than you might expect. The NSX is actually pretty easy to drive, even for a less skilled driver.

Exiting a corner on the DRC there’s plenty of grip thanks to the upgraded tires and bringing the NSX to a stop is effortless. The NSX actually has a shorter braking distance (70-0 mph) than the Audi R8, Porsche 911 Turbo and McLaren 570S.

After a few laps around the track, you can’t help but have a big grin on your face. Maybe it’s because the NSX is so easy to drive that you’ll feel like you could switch careers and become a race car driver or maybe it’s the sound of the engine hard at work just behind you. The 2019 Acura NSX is the supercar that begs to be driven hard and once your fun on the track is done you can drive it just like a normal car.

The 2019 Acura NSX starts at $159,300.

Marc Carter :Marc Carter is the Editor-in-Chief and founder of Diabetesss. When he's not writing news or reviews for Diabetesss, he also contributes to Inhabitat.com.