Acura execs already mulling new models after NSX supercar

Article by Christian A., on January 20, 2015

Not long after unveiling the new Acura NSX supercar at the Detroit Auto Show, executives at the premium carmaker are already mulling to add more offerings as part of the brand’s revival plan. "The opportunity for us would be to maybe add another arrow in the quiver, another model in the lineup," Erik Berkman, head of the Acura Business Planning Office said at the show.

He noted that compared to Acura’s rivals, there are some categories in which the premium unit of Honda is not competing, like coupe and compact crossover segments. He added that they are considering an upmarket version of the Honda HR-V compact crossover underpinned by the Fit platform.

But getting the higher ups at Honda’s main headquarters back at Japan approve those offerings is another story. Acura’s executive could consider a lot of things, but only a few may make sense to their bosses in Tokyo, especially if the premium brand is selling well in the United States.

In reality, the brand only sold 1 percent more vehicles in 2014 in the US to 167,843 units, and none of Acura’s five nameplates are nearing 100,000 sales. Berkman said that Acura will not try to “shotgun” a number of categories at once, but will proceed step by step.

While Acura's r&d center in Ohio has grown enough to independently develop a sophisticated car like the NSX, the brand still relies on drivetrains engineered in Japan.

Unveiling the NSX supercar at the Detroit auto show may give Acura the needed pull to gain over buyers not only in the US but also in other parts of the world. Berkman noted that while Acura has some capability, it doesn’t enough absolute resources to “do every program that's on the books."

Michelle Christensen, NSX exterior design project leader, remarked that the new NSX is a product of the so-called 'Interwoven Dynamic' design. Christensen added that the new NSX represents the ideal fusion of exotic sports car form and supercar function.

As designed, the new NSX boasts of low and wide proportions, an aggressive front design, modern and elegant surfacing, as well as rear lights paying tribute to the original NSX. Its signature side intake and floating C-pillar are designed to gather air for the mid-mounted engine while channeling airflow over the rear deck to generate downforce. Compared to the 2012 NSX Concept, the new NSX is longer by 3 inches and wider by an inch. These increases in dimensions along with a slightly more cab-forward package allowed the NSX to accommodate a new longitudinally mounted twin-turbo V6 engine and its nine-speed DCT.

Acura fashioned every element of the exterior to ensure total airflow management, helping enhance vehicle stability through greater downforce while cooling down vehicle systems. Moreover, the NSX has undergone extensive wind tunnel testing in Raymond, Ohio, resulting to a great deal of medications from concept to final body design. Among the changes are modified hood vents and new front fender vents, as well as an optimized deck spoiler and modified side air intakes.

Johnathan Norman, NSX interior design project leader, quipped that in line with the 'human-centered supercar' development concept, they designed the NSX from the inside out with an utmost focus on the driver. He quipped that just like the original NSX, the new model features a 'Human Support Cockpit' that delivers superb levels of driver control, visibility and packaging, while providing the expected extreme performance of a modern supercar.

Inside, the new NSX offers remarkable forward visibility as well as simple and intuitive controls. It also features best-in-class ergonomics especially on the seat that offer class-leading holding performance along with great degrees of comfort as well as easy ingress and egress.

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