The weather cooperated Thursday as local auto enthusiasts were among the first in the country to test drive Acura’s new hybrid electric supercar, the NSX.
Valencia Acura on Creekside Road was the first dealership in the nation to receive the limited-edition car, of which only 700 will be built this model year.
“It’s the only every day supercar on the market,” said Russ Stevenson, Valencia Acura’s service manager and NSX specialist, noting that drivers won’t get beat up driving it, as can be the case with some high-performance cars.
The new NSX revives a famous automotive nameplate. Acura sold the original version, the first mass-produced car with an all-aluminum body, from 1990 to 2005. It was based the NS-X concept car, which stood for “New Sportscar eXperimental,” designed to compete with Ferrari.
A local owner of a first-generation NSX had lent it to Valencia Acura, where it sits in the showroom next to the new model.
Stevenson said the NSX was 10 years in the making. Acura’s parent, Honda Motor Co., announced plans for a second-generation as far back as 2007, but production was delayed. The company said the initials now stand for “New Sports eXperience.” Road and Track magazine named the NSX its 2017 Performance Car of the Year.
Unlike the first-generation NSX, which was manufactured in Japan, the new NSX was designed and engineered in Marysville, Ohio at Honda’s plant, by designer Michelle Christensen and chief engineer Ted Klaus.
The new NSX is a hybrid sports car powered by 3.5 liter twin-turbo V6 engine and three electric motors, with an all-wheel drivetrain capable of 573 horsepower. It employs a space frame design made from aluminum, ultra-high strength steel, and other rigid and lightweight materials.
“Every single person who drove the car came back with a smile on their face,” said Valencia Acura co-owner Cheri Fleming. “And we had people driving the car from 9:30 in the morning to 9:30 at night.”
Her husband and partner Don Fleming noted that the NSX is available in Valencia Red Pearl, though he admitted the name is a coincidence.
Test drivers included Bryan Herda, Valencia resident and owner of Bryan Herda Autosport, which won the 2011 Indianapolis 500 with driver Dan Wheldon in its second Indycar Series start. Herda drove in the Indy 500 six times, finishing third in 2005.
Russ Briley, The Signal’s executive vice of community relations and audience development, also took the car for a spin “I have never driven a car that comes anywhere close to this car with regards to handling, speed and performance,” he said. “What a thrill!”
Expect to see at least one NSX on local streets. A Santa Clarita resident pre-ordered the $200,000 car more than five years ago. He was one of 14 individuals who put their name on a waiting list for the new car.