A few days ago, I said something about making sweet love to Acura’s NSX while everyone else at the auto show was paying attention to Hyundai’s new Elantra coupe (note: I actually yawned while typing the words “Hyundai’s new Elantra coupe”). The NSX, with its curves and stance and its promise of blistering trackday performance, is poised to become teh new hawtness of the green-car world as soon as it hits the road next year. There was more than a strange vehicular lust behind this idea, though – it was motivated, I assure you, by science.
It’s been said that the difference between art and pornography is that you don’t lose interest in art immediately after ejaculation. As fan of – ahem! – art in all its forms, I wanted to find out if there was something more substantial to this new NSX than all its sexy curves and fancy techno whiz-bangery.
I didn’t get the chance, though, because Acura’s 2012 Chicago display looked like this:
Despite the NSX being Acura’s (indeed, Honda’s!) big reveal at Detroit and the company’s new headliner during the Super Bowl ad blitz, Acura didn’t bring one to Chicago. Instead, they brought along an LG touchscreen, pre-loaded with Acura’s Seinfeld-powered Super Bowl ad and the following promotional video from Polyphony (the boys and girls behind Sony’s Grand Turismo video game series).
The video is not bad, actually, spending the first minute showing off some NSX pedigree (as much as there is of that) before jumping headfirst into several seconds of lust-worthy “car porn” to really grab your attention for the next bit: the bit where Honda explains the whys and hows of of the new NSX’s hybrid drive systems.
The real “go-fast” app here is the torque-vectoring drive at the front of the car, which gently brakes the inside wheel while accelerating the outside (loaded) wheel, steering the car like a tank around its natural center of gravity. The net effect, then, is a car that is perfectly balanced with no oversteer or understeer to contend with, and one which tracks around the given corner while feeding power back into the hybrid’s Li-ion battery pack. Once there, said power can be quickly applied to the front wheels for an all-wheel-drive drag run down the straight to the next corner, where the dance can start again.
The genius of Honda’s new NSX hybrid‘s drive system isn’t how it promises to behave on a racetrack (Honda first offered a system like this on its 1997 Prelude SH, which featured the Active Torque Transfer System), it’s in how the car seemingly morphs into a docile, front-wheel-drive electric car at low speeds (say, in downtown traffic). Which means that, if the hype is to be believed, this new NSX will be all Ferrari-killing tiger on the racetrack, and mewing kitten (read: Honda Insight) on grocery runs.
THAT, dear friends, is an everyday supercar putting green tech to exciting uses. Congrats, Honda, it looks fantastic!
NOTE: because the people at Acura were nice enough to stop their big monitors and physically transfer the video above to a thumb drive for me (and, oddly, very supportive of my NSX dirty-talk), I feel compelled to point out that there were quite a few references to Acura’s continued dedication to using sustainable and reusable materials in all their cars, as well as Acura’s leadership in the use of small turbo 4 cyls. in its (very quick!) luxury SUVs. Here’s just a snippet of those displays, below.
Source: 2012 Chicago Auto Show, Acura.