Thursday, April 26, 2012

Visual Accuracy

Another New York International Auto Show has come and gone. It's sort of a fortunate coincidence that it happens to fall right as, in other posts, I'm discussing the subject of Transportation. There were actually a lot of very interesting things to see this year. I had contemplated starting out my Auto Show posts by talking about a few of the more unusual things on view. Instead I'd like to make a number of smaller posts devoted to each. So to begin, I'd like to show the car that really stuck with me the most, even several days later. Part of it was that getting to see it at all was something of a happening; I got to see them rolling it up onto the platform and onto the turntable. This was the second press day. For anyone who makes a point to go on the first press day to get a leg up on competing journalists, be warned: they don't have everything loaded in yet. There may be things you're missing.

The other part, I think, is that it was shown by a manufacturer who I might not have expected to have something this impressive on view. It's the 2013 Acura NSX.

During the Superbowl, Jerry Seinfeld was trying desperately to get the first one of these in the television commercials, only to be thwarted in the end by Jay Leno. But they don't show the car in the commercial very close up or for very long. It's more stunning in person than can possibly be imagined. Its low, truly sleek profile doesn't seem to read well in photographs, for some reason. In any case, the profile is nice, but it's also the addition of some really sharp, striking, and distinctive detailing that makes the whole thing work so well. The solids and voids are especially dynamic and futuristic.

We have industrial designer Dave Marek to thank for this beauty. He's head of Acura's design team and has been since 1987.

The NSX has all-wheel drive--for handling and efficiency--powered by the hybrid of a V6 combustion engine and two electric motors. Finding a sports car that's hybrid is not all that shocking. Fisker already proved that idea sound. The vast majority of concept cars these days are at least hybrid, if not entirely electric.

It's the V6 engine that makes the NSX interesting as a "supercar," although some people have suggested that description is questionable applied to a vehicle that is unlikely to be able to deliver the kind of astonishing performance required of the term. What I'm saying, though, is that it's a V6 and not a V12 or V16. The NSX's V6 has been estimated to deliver a little over 400 horsepower, which is nothing to scoff at. But Acura, or more accurately their parent company, Honda, has attempted to provide the NSX with superior performance using strategies other than brute engine strength. For instance, its frame is constructed of an extremely light-weight material, presumably carbon nano-tubes or something high-tech along those lines.

According to Acura, the NSX is due to be released some time around November of 2013. Speculations as to how much it may cost quite comically range from about $30,000 to about $130,000. I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

©2012, Ryan Witte

No comments: