2021 Acura NSX
If the idea of a supercar that you can drive every day is intriguing, the 2021 Acura NSX makes a great go-to option. It’s not as difficult to get in and out of as other six-figure sports cars such as the McLaren 570S, and its hybrid powertrain can be quiet when you need it to be, unlike the Mercedes-AMG GT’s. Don’t take that to mean it doesn’t have copious accelerative power—how’s 573 horsepower sound?—but the flexibility to light up a drag strip one minute and silently tiptoe into your upscale neighborhood the next is something that makes the NSX unique. While its performance is impressive, it isn’t as mind-blowing as the similarly priced Porsche 911 Turbo’s—but its ride is refined enough to avoid being punishing over rough stretches of pavement.
What’s New for 2021?
Acura has added a new color—Long Beach Blue Pearl—to the NSX’s options sheet for 2021, a reference to its sponsorship of the Grand Prix of Long Beach in California. Otherwise, the hybrid sports car rolls into the new year unchanged.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
While it will certainly satiate your need for speed, the NSX can’t outpace some key rivals such as the Audi R8 or the McLaren 570S. In our testing, it still snapped off lightning-quick acceleration times and managed a 3.1-second run from zero to 60 mph. Its electric-only Quiet mode, however, gives it something its rivals don’t have: discretion. The NSX’s hybrid-electric powertrain combines a twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V-6 with three electric motors for a combined total of 573 horsepower. The V-6, the nine-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, and one of the electric motors work as a team to power the rear wheels. The other two electric motors operate independently to drive the front wheels, effectively giving the NSX all-wheel drive. In Quiet and Sport modes, the steering is direct and accurate but light to the touch, which we think is an attempt to make the NSX feel maneuverable on a day-to-day basis. Such a setup, however, feels out of place on such a performance-oriented vehicle. In Sport Plus and Track modes, the electric-power-steering system dials in more weight. Regardless of the setting, the steering is crisp, and the car responds smartly to the slightest of driver inputs.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
Hybrid vehicles are more efficient in stop-and-go city traffic than their gasoline-only rivals, and the NSX is no different. An EPA rating of 21 mpg in the city beats the Audi R8 V-10 by a whopping 7 mpg. The Porsche 911 Carrera 4S matches the NSX’s 21-mpg rating in the city and beats the NSX on the highway with a 28-mpg rating; the NSX is rated for 22 mpg highway. In our real-world highway fuel-economy test, the NSX delivered a decent 23 mpg, beating its EPA rating slightly but falling behind its non-hybrid rivals.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
Touted as the everyday supercar, the NSX is certainly comfortable and intuitive enough for just about anyone to use as a daily driver. But its cabin doesn’t have the premium feel and luxurious amenities one expects from an Acura, let alone one that is meant to compete with the best from England and Germany. Our test car featured the optional leather-and-faux-suede seats, faux-suede headliner, and carbon-fiber-trimmed steering wheel. The bright red leather appealed to the younger among our staff, but some found it garish and juvenile. While the seats are comfortable, we’d prefer more thigh support, and enthusiastic drivers will likely desire more side bolstering as well. For something marketed as the everyday supercar, the NSX’s interior storage cubbies aren’t especially commodious. Its trunk is located right behind the engine, which might be problematic for hauling home your Häagen-Dazs. Plus, we managed to fit just one of our carry-on suitcases inside the tiny trunk.