Drag Racing the 2017 Acura NSX: It is Seriously Fast
The 2017 Acura NSX isn’t built for drag racing – but it can still hustle.
The 2017 Acura NSX has proper supercar handling capabilities which allow it to corner like few cars in the world, but it is also a beast at the drag strip. To see just how well the new NSX can scoot down a quarter mile drag strip, Acura invited a group of media to Milan Dragway in Michigan to experience their newest supercar first-hand. The experience was every bit as incredible as you might expect.
Our test time with the 2017 Acura NSX began when we arrived at Milan Dragway, where we were greeted by a trio of the new hybrid supercars – one in Valencia Red Pearl, one in Casino White Pearl and one in Nouvella Blue Pearl. The red and white cars were for the road portion while the blue car was designated for track use, with every car fitted with the standard wheels and tires and the upgraded carbon ceramic brake package.
We began with the road drive and in my case, I got to tour scenic Milan, Michigan in the Valencia Red Pearl Acura NSX. The roads were country roads with very little traffic and nothing but clear sailing – no traffic and few reasons to stop. At first, I drove the car like I would any normal test car when headed from Point A to Point B. No hard launches, no hard midrange pulls and no high speed blasts, just cruising around and enjoying the drive. Even with the car set to Sport+ mode, the ride was surprisingly smooth on the rough, paved roads.
Now, mind you, I am talking smooth for a supercar. You can most certainly feel every little bump and imperfection in the road, but if you are going to drive a supercar like the new NSX, you should want and expect to feel the road. The seating position is low, practically putting you on the ground, so you find yourself looking up at pretty much every car you pass. When you are in the middle of nowhere in Michigan in a brand new Japanese supercar, everyone is looking back. All in all, while the NSX offers the predictably stiff ride which I would call “connected to the road” more than a rough ride, this is most certainly a car that is comfortable enough to drive every day. Perhaps the new NSX is less pleasant when you get into dense city traffic, but I doubt it, as the new Acura supercar has a comfortable driver’s seat and the road feel one would expect from a car like this.
After the time spent driving the 2017 Acura NSX in a normal, daily driving situation, I let the beast stretch its legs a little. When confronted with a long, straight, clear country road, I dropped down a few gears with the paddle shifters and put the hammer to the floor. Power delivery is quick, with the electric assist system eliminating any hint of boost lag. Even when you have the RPM too low for big power from the twin turbo V6, the electric motors driving the front wheels get the car moving while the turbos spool up and once all portions of the hybrid drivetrain are firing at full power – the total system output of 573hp and 476lb-ft of torque allows the NSX to rapidly accelerate well beyond any posted speed limit in the USA.
Most of the roads around Milan are straight or only slightly curved, so the only real chance to experience the handling of the new NSX was when making turns from one road to another, but even when performing quick lane change exercises, the hybrid supercar felt like it was glued to the ground. Also, while cruising around, I had a chance to make a few hard stops from higher speeds and the carbon ceramic brakes get the NSX down to a standstill with incredible force.
After my road drive in the 2017 Acura NSX, which ended all too quickly, it was time for me to jump into the Nouvella Blue Pearl NSX for some quality time on the drag strip. I have been drag racing since I got my first car and I have had the pleasure of playing with some very powerful cars on a quarter mile track. Some of those vehicles had far more power than the new NSX, but none of them featured the advanced hybrid all-wheel drive system, so I was looking forward to seeing how that high tech drivetrain translated into a drag strip car.
Yes, we are all well aware that the new NSX is made for far more than just hard runs down a straight track, but for a car that “only” has 573hp and 476lb-ft of torque, the new Acura supercar is remarkably quick. A part of that quarter mile performance is the NSX launch control system, which engages automatically when the car is in Track Mode. This system allows you to pull to the starting line, hit the brakes and pre-load the engine by simply holding the throttle to the floor. When the green light drops, you let off of the brake as quickly as possible and the NSX rips away from the starting line – dashing to 60 in just 3 seconds.
The initial blast of power is a combination of electric power at the front wheels and twin turbo V6 power at the rear wheels, but the instant torque of the electric assist system gets the supercar moving out while the boost levels build. Once the boost reaches its peak level and the NSX is running at full power (which doesn’t take very long), it pulls incredibly hard through the midrange all of the way through the top end of the track. Shifts are lightning quick with no drop in power throughout the run, thanks again in part to the electric assist system continuously powering the front wheels.
On my first run down the track with the Acura NSX, I ran a respectable 11.33. My second pass got the car down to 11.26 at 122 miles per hour. I was pretty happy with that second run, considering that many outlets rated the car as being a solid 11.2-11.3 car in stock form, but I had one more run to see if I couldn’t chisel more time off of the ET.
On this third and final run, I got a great launch with just a hint of tire spin and when I crossed the finish line, I had managed to outrun the big media outlets’ expectations – laying down an 11.19 at 123 miles per hour.
For those who don’t pay much attention to drag racing numbers for stock cars, the quickest stock American muscle car ever is the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat, which runs an NHRA certified 11.20, but that car is far more difficult to launch. In fact, having spent far more time testing with that 707hp muscle car, I was only able to get into the mid-11s while three runs in the new NSX netted me an 11.19.
In other words, while the 2017 Acura NSX is designed to be a fuel-friendly supercar which offers all-around performance. It can go toe-to-toe on the drag strip with the most popular performance cars sold in America with a real chance of winning. Most importantly, with the NSX being so remarkably easy to drive – getting those top times won’t take a ton of practice.
The 2017 Acura NSX has a striking exterior, a comfortable cockpit, it serves as a comfortable road car and it blasts down the quarter mile as quickly as some of the quickest production cars sold in America.