Experiencing Cold Weather Bliss in the Acura NSX
Acura surprised the media by bringing the 2018 Acura NSX to the Rocky Mountain Redline winter driving event. The Rocky Mountain Redline winter driving event took place in Winter Park, Colorado and featured various snow and ice courses. Around a dozen vehicles from various automakers attended including the 2018 Acura TLX A-Spec.
Drifting on the white stuff was surprisingly easy driving the 2018 Acura NSX.
Gobs of useable power: the 2018 Acura NSX has nothing new to offer for the 2018 model year. However, it still has an excellent twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 which, combined with three electric motors, gives you 573 horsepower and 476 lb-ft of torque.
One electric motor is sandwiched between the V6 and nine-speed dual-clutch transmission (Acura is the only automaker to build one). There are two electric motors powering the two front wheels, one for each wheel. This setup allows the 2018 Acura NSX to be an all-wheel drive (AWD) hybrid – similar to the McLaren P1.
While I have driven the Acura NSX before, it was always on pristine canyon roads and the Pacific Coast Highway. Just the mere thought of putting the $157,000+ on ice and snow made me nervous for Acura. It turns out, I need not worry – the NSX is excellent in the snow.
Granted, this is not a AWD vehicle in the traditional sense, there is no driveshaft leading from the rear engine to the front wheels, it’s all based on similar technology that automakers use on front-wheel-drive-biased hybrids to power the rear wheels. That being said, the electrified front wheels dig in when called upon – at any speed.
The best part for me is: the AWD system will allow you to shut down a majority of the traction control systems so you can drive like an idiot in the snow. Sideways baby. When the other journalists found out, there was a mad dash to give it a go.
Burning Up the Snow in a $200,000 Sports Car
Driving in the snow: I opted to give the safety systems a chance on my first performance lap. Just as expected, the 2018 Acura NSX went exactly where pointed while thousands of gizmos prevented it from doing anything nutty. Revs, wheelspin and braking were all kept in check. It still was pretty quick, but it was oodles of fun once you shut off the traction aids.
Drifting in the snow: Unlike other AWD vehicles with the traction-control turned off, the 2018 Acura NSX immediately responds to throttle input like an old school sportscar. Rear wheels immediately spray chunks of ice as the unbridled V6 pounds its chest and yells. From the driver’s seat, you feel the rear-end dip into the ice before forward thrust kicks in.
Tease the steering wheel in any direction while the rear wheels spin and you have immediate and (extremely) easy to control drift. Each time, I spent the entire course sideways in one direction or another. Feather the throttle and you can steer accurately while traveling sideways. It’s uncanny and addictive.
During the throttle-fest, I noted that the cabin, as simple and elegant as it is, was mighty quiet. The seats are very comfortable, and – once seated in a very low-slung sports car, I was very comfortable. I had to open the window to hear the wrath of the V6. I felt like a (much) better driver than I actually was. Sure, I thrive when driving off-road and sliding around corners, but this was a completely different sensation.
As each run ended, I eased off the accelerator and let the NSX calm down. It did so with no fuss and no muss. Even by the end of the day, after all of the journalists relentlessly beat on the NSX for several hours, no warning lights, no funny smells, no smoke. It simply went back to being a “regular” sportscar as it drove off.
This drive, more than any other drive, gave me an even higher respect of what Acura built. It was far too short and I can’t wait to drive the Acura NSX again. Well done Acura.