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Acura NSX details emerge

Tue, 14 May 2013 00:00:00 -0700

This morning we know a little bit more about the return of the NSX, which will wear the Acura badge in this incarnation, including where it will be made: Marysville, Ohio. Specifically, in a building adjacent to Honda's Marysville auto plant. The 184,000-square-foot building was once Honda's North American logistics facility, before that it was a seat factory and at one time Honda made transmissions inside. It's a few miles from Honda R&D Americas. So there will be a sizable U.S. input to the all-wheel drive hybrid sports car.

About 100 Honda North America associates will be picked from however many current employees apply to build the NSX. The guy in charge of development is an American, too. Suspension specialist Ted Klaus is the Large Project Leader on the NSX. So maybe the car will be able to take on a pothole or two.

When asked about his background, Klaus didn't list his BS in mechanical engineering from Notre Dame or his 20-plus years with Honda and Acura as, among other things, HRA's first Vehicle Dynamic Evaluator. He said, instead, “I love cars. I love driving cars.”

He is both a test driver and a suspension engineer, both of which bode well for the coming Acura. Klaus is a racer, too, as are many engineers at Honda R&D. The first car he worked on for Acura was the 1993 Integra GSR, a favorite among the import racing crowd of that era. But in the interim he also worked on the somewhat more pedestrian CL, TL and MDX. So there are tradeoffs. Klaus worked on integrating Honda's Super Handling-All Wheel Drive and Active Damping into the 2007 MDX and the Vehicle Stability Assist technologies into the 2009 TL. Now we realize those latter two aren't exactly track cars, but remember, the NSX will have its own version of Sport Hybrid Super Handling AWD, with one electric motor integrated in the V6 gasoline engine powering the rear wheels and two more electric motors driving the front wheels. The NSX will also have a new dual-clutch transmission.

But you already knew all that. After a short talk with Klaus, whose presence was made available as part of the new plant announcement, we gleaned a little more about the car. A lot of the information is delivered in PR-trained vast, sweeping generalizations, but maybe you can pick out some tidbits.

Can you say anything about power output? “The first NSX was torquey, with a broad power band and it was responsive. The key is to have mid-range torque. It's going to have a high-specific power output per liter.”

What will the SH-AWD be like? “We're interpreting it for a midengine exotic.”

Racing plans? “We will race the car … ”

The price? “Amazingly affordable, within the range of the Porsche 911.”

Where is development being done? “The powertrain is being developed in Japan. (The chassis tuning is being done in the U.S.) We'll be driving the car at U.S. race tracks (first). The N

By Mark Vaughn