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2004 Acura Nsx Coupe on 2040-cars
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Acura NSX for Sale
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Auto blogTue, 22 Jul 2014 10:44:00 EST
Acura hasn't been shy about trotting out the concept version of its upcoming NSX hybrid supercar - we've seen it colorized on Facebook, wearing Super GT drag and running wrapped at Mid Ohio - but until now, we've missed seeing the production version at all. Thankfully, our boys in the field have been diligently camped out by the Nürburgring, just the place for Acura engineers to get the NSX shaken down and ready for the public.
The first thing you'll likely notice (and no doubt appreciate) is that Acura is staying very true to the concept car. The same wind-tunnel-carved wedge shape is in evidence in the car's silhouette, and details like aggressively scalloped engine vents behind the cabin have made it through unscathed.
We do notice that there are some vertical elements at the bottom of the front fascia/grille that appear to be revised, and the mirrors are considerably less slinky than those of the concept car. Still, by and large, we're seeing a direct translation from show stand to real life here.
Going Mainstream Has Its Privileges
Acura's experiment with niche models has failed. Competing in the luxury car business by filling white space with product just didn't work for the Japanese automaker. In place of slow-selling models like its ZDX and quirky first-gen RDX, the mindset at Acura has recently switched to more conventional products with vastly improved volume potential. The redesigned 2013 RDX, for example, sold almost as many units in 2012 as it did in 2010 and 2011 combined, and the all-new 2013 ILX has sold more units each month - since going on sale in May - than Acura sold in ZDXs and RLs in all of last year.
While the redesigned RDX is a crucial product to compete with luxury compact crossovers, the ILX might be the most important new product for Acura, as a growing number of premium makes are starting to realize the importance of upscale entry-level compact cars. Ironically, this segment was a pivotal part of the brand's success in the 1980s and '90s thanks to the Integra, but Acura completely abandoned the genre when it killed off the RSX coupe in 2006. The addition of the ILX not only gives Acura a competitive small car again, it also drops the brand's entry price by almost $5,000.
The Acura Integra (pictured above in Type R trim) was one of the definitive vehicles of the Acura brand in the US, having joined the Legend at the marque's birth here. However, since the retirement of the RSX, the luxury arm of Honda has lacked a compact, sporty coupe to fill that niche. There appears to be a chance of that absence possibly coming to an end in the coming years, though.
Acura lead designer Dave Marek spoke to Car and Driver during the SEMA Show and said, "A performance brand needs a flagship and it needs an accessible sport car. Not a sports car, but a sport car." However, he also suggested that a new model wouldn't be spinning its tires too soon, at least not before 2017 by his indication.
While the vague possibility of a new sports coupe is still years away, Acura is taking its early steps in a brand revitalization campaign that includes spinning the luxury arm further away from Honda. The strong initial sales of the TLX are certainly a good start, but the work appears to just be beginning, according to Marek. "There are changes coming, and then there are more changes coming," he said to Car and Driver.