Meet the Once and Future King.

It doesn’t always pay to be the first at everything — just ask everyone who ever left on a boat, never to be seen again. Honda was indeed sailing into uncharted waters when it released the original NSX — a budget-priced supercar that handles, idles and actually starts when you turn the key? "Variable valve timing?" What’s that? The NSX was in many ways an unwelcome revelation for sports car makers worldwide, a game-changer that forced hands and preceded a revolution in sports-car design, refinement and sophistication.

Honda paid for it, too. The original NSX was a critical wunderkind, a dadaist poke in the eye of "serious" sports car makers like Ferrari, Porsche, Lamborghini, and later, Lambo’s corporate cousin Audi. Almost immediately, those companies responded to the NSX by releasing new designs that were increasingly docile around town, faster and safer on the highway, and (most importantly) laden with horsepower, gadgets, computers and luxury options well outside of Honda’s budget ballpark. It’s not easy to justify a $100,000 surcharge for a badge alone.

Now, the Empire of the Rising Sun strikes back, rising to meet the Italians and Germans right in their own market. Ever wonder what Honda could have done with $100,000, and a point to prove? Yes, indeed — The Once and Future King is back to reclaim his throne. And this time, he’s coming with all the hardware he needs to meet the usurpers on level ground. Let the war begin.

Click past the jump to read more about the Acura NSX.

The Announcement

It came at the 2015 Chicago Auto Show, where Acura’s Senior Vice President showed up to present his company’s newest weapon in the sports car world. He wasn’t shy about its intended targets, either: the Porsche 911, Audi R8 and other European sports-luxury cars in the $110,000 to $150,000 range. As though that weren’t pretty clear given the NSX’s proportions: any resemblance to the R8 or its Lamborghini cousin in profile probably isn’t a coincidence. It’s a massively profitable, high-profile niche, and most manufacturers have at least one entry in it.

That means manufacturers have to work pretty hard to establish a foothold there. Granted, Honda’s certainly got all the cred it needs in the original NSX, but the original NSX was (price-wise) more of a direct competitor for the Corvette. In its market, the Corvette is still in a class of own — but that’s not the market Acura’s aiming for. They’re gunning for the Germans and Italians, and that means offering a massive variety of options, gadgets and luxury equipment.

Senior VP Mike Accavitti:

"The car will offer more factory-installed options than any other vehicle that we have ever the supercar customer wants to personalize it, wants to make it ’mine.’"

So, the "factory custom" approach. Makes sense. Name two other reasons Harley Davidson’s still in business.

The Options

Accavitti didn’t go into too much detail about the NSX’s options, apart from mentioning aluminum and carbon fiber. But we can make a few educated guesses based on the R8’s equipment:

Leather interior with or without color-matched Alcantra inserts
Carbon fiber or aluminum trim throughout
Power heated and air-conditioned seats
Power-adjustable memory steering wheel and pedals

CD player with MP3 and optional DVD
Nav system, possibly incorporated into DVD system
12-speaker sound system
Remote-mounted controls
Garage door opener
Keyless entry

Heated, auto-dimming power door mirrors
Automatic headlights and wipers
Tire pressure monitoring system

Color-keyed exterior body accents and optional trim components
Several different wheel designs of various sizes
Dozens of pearl or metallic shades

Three or four power ratings
An optional sports or racing suspension

There’s no question about whether or not the NSX will have traction and stability control — the only real question will be whether or not it will be optional. The NSX will have a twin-turbo V-6 and a hybrid system with no less than {}three electric motors: one in the transmission, and two more on each of the front wheels. For an electric or hybrid car with independent-wheel motors, traction and stability control are pretty much a required part of the package. Not just any stability control, either — torque vectoring stability control, where the electric motors on each wheel work independently to keep the car cornering like it’s literally on rails.

The resulting system, which Honda humbly calls "Sport Hybrid Super Handling All-Wheel Drive" is in an entirely different league than the brake-drag stability systems most cars use. There’s almost no comparing the two; which in itself is why many experts today predict that this configuration will end up becoming the default one for serious sports cars of the future.

Competition and Summary

Of course, the aforementioned Audis and Porsches will be the NSX’s primary competition. There’s no real reason Acura couldn’t crank up the power to move up into $200K-plus hypercar territory. The chassis, configuration and powertrain are plenty capable of handling it. Nevermind a "budget Ferrari" — This car easily has the potential to rival the Porsche 918, or McLaren’s psychotic P1 Widowmaker. The configurations are almost identical, as are the measurements. Take some weight off with a full-carbon chassis, and Acura could have a world-class contender on its hands.

Closer to home in Japan, Toyota claims it’s serious about putting the Supra back into production. They do have a habit of putting concepts into production, doubly so since the massive critical acclaim brought them by the LF-A supercar. Rumor has it that the Supra will share some architecture with the LF-A if it does go into production. Then again, rumor also has it that Elvis is alive and stockpiling WMDs. So, no telling.

Either way, the Supra will almost certainly be front-engine if it ever does go into production; that would put it as more of a competitor to the Corvette, Nissan GT-R, SRT Viper and any number of front-engine GT cars. Still a pretty good neighborhood, but pretty far removed from that of Audi, Lamborghini, McLaren, Porsche and, now, Acura.

Been a while since we read those names in the same sentence.

Long live The King...once, and future.

Acura NSX

2016 Acura NSX High Resolution Exterior
- image 610466

Source: Edmunds

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