2017 Acura NSX:
A new-generation supercar.
When you'll see it: Spring 2016.
What we saw: Four prototypes being tested in real-world conditions.
Creating a buzz: Acura, Honda's premium brand, is building enthusiasm for the new model by having the NSX engineering team drive the models around the country (and in Europe as well). A leg of the event arrived Nov. 14 at Acura of Limerick near Royersford, and NSX Club of America members brought their own earlier examples to show off.
About 200 people milled about in the Starbucks-like atmosphere of the dealership in the shadow of the Limerick nuclear plant. The NSX team added to the anticipation by being fashionably late.
And then the buzz really began, as the buzzy supercars grabbed everyone's attention.
What's old is new: Acura launched NSX in 1991 to push the technology and design envelope for buyers willing to pay a premium. But this supercar went the way of the Duesenberg in 2007, and only now is being readied for a return in the spring as a 2017 model.
Gone are the 1980s-era Lotus looks of the old days; this new model marries all the right cues of the modern Lotus and McLaren 650S with Acura's best design ideas.
A new layout: The 2017 Acura NSX is planned with an unusual launch system. The Sport Hybrid SH-AWD power unit features a 3.5-liter V-6 engine plus a direct-drive motor in the rear, and in front, two electric motors Acura calls the "Twin Motor Unit." That's three motors and an engine (not to be confused with two turntables and a microphone). This setup is used in the RLX sedan, though in that model the engine and direct motor are in the front and the Twin Motor Unit is in the rear.
Just can't wait: Acura says the beauty of rear motor means NSX drivers won't have to suffer turbo lag, the split-second of only partial power before 573 horses kick in to move the supercar into the next zip code. Because who has time to wait to get to the expected top speed of 191 m.p.h.?
The front Twin Motor Unit offers "instant torque as well as AWD traction, allowing direct and stress-free launches from start," crows the website.
Shifty: All those horses from all those sources are mated to a 9-speed dual clutch transmission featuring steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters.
Keeping it real: The NSX models driven to Limerick proved they were prototypes; they still had tape holding things together inside and visible wires running about. (Owners of production-model British Leyland cars from the 1970s might have felt right at home.)
Real-time testing: Clement D'Souza, chief engineer at Honda's Performance Manufacturing Center in Marysville, Ohio, said he and his fellow engineers and regional representatives had been out on the road for about two weeks. The cars traveled from Colorado to Florida, and then up the East Coast, to Pittsburgh and back to Ohio.
A separate two-week test in June took them into the desert Southwest, Colorado, and across the Plains.
Unusual openness: The amount of testing is typical, D'Souza said, but the openness is not - the NSX has already been released and Acura is building momentum for its spring arrival in dealerships.
"Testing it this early is unusual," D'Souza said. "Usually we have to have it camoed."
Feedback: "I haven't heard anything negative, not a thing," D'Souza said. "The reception has been really good."
Driver's Seat: Though driving one of the prototypes was not in the cards, I did manage to get inside two of the models and dream a bit. The sleek chrome door handles require some thought before it becomes clear just where to pull.
Inside, the setup felt just right; though the cabin is plenty small, once drivers are snuggled inside there's still room to move about. If photos are to be believed, the steering wheel controls will be standard-issue Acura, and the infotainment system as well.
In and out: Though I didn't have a week to live with one, getting in and out of the NSX was fairly simple for such a rocket.
Friends and stuff: Two seats mean you'll be giving rides to friends, one at time. A total of 3.9 cubic feet of storage behind the engine means you'll be limited to about three bags.
Price: Saving the best for last. Acura of Limerick general manager Joon Park quoted $150,000 from the press release, though real-life models could be slightly less - or perhaps much more, depending on how they're dressed up.