Supercar road trips are rare experiences. People who own such cars don’t often take them on cross-country adventures — miles equal depreciation, you know — and those companies that loan them out to the media tend to put stone-cold mileage caps on them that you don’t dare break, lest you be black-balled from the drive of the forthcoming Ferramboclaren Over-9000 Stupidfast.
Then there’s the fact that no matter how awesome the car is, mile after mile after mile of supercar ergonomics, noise and harshness takes its toll. Ooh, must be tough, Mister Fancy Journalist Man, I’m sure you’re thinking. Hey, you try thundering along for hours in an Aventador with its V12 howling inches behind your head the entire time.
But with the right car, the right road and the right pace, a supercar road trip can be an exhilarating experience — and the best way to learn the nuances of a machine. So when Acura invited me to drive its NSX from the car’s factory in Anna, Ohio all the way to Daytona Beach, Florida, for the Rolex 24 Hours endurance race earlier this year, I promptly said yes. After all, the NSX is a different kind of supercar. Sure, it has head-turning styling, will rocket from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 2.7 seconds and slings itself around corners with disarming urgency thanks to the torque vectoring enabled by its still-unmatched three-motor hybrid powertrain. But it’s also road-trip friendly, thanks to its tunable suspension and a Quiet Mode that dials the outrageousness down to reasonable levels.
So after a tour of the factory, I left Ohio along a roundabout route south: Cincinnati, a bit of Kentucky, North Carolina’s great Cherohala Skyway, Asheville, Savannah, then finally Daytona Beach. The Skyway and a bit of the Blue Ridge Parkway proved thrilling stretches completely devoid of traffic, thanks to the fact that it was the middle of the week…and winter. Furthermore, the car’s enhanced-for-2019 chassis — with larger stabilizer bars that increase stiffness 26 percent up front and 19 percent out back, along with new software to enhance the dampers and electric power steering — all conspired to make the car even more responsive and fun.
Though Acura has received some pushback on the NSX from fans of the original model, the NSX is enjoying something of a second look now. Its technological achievement, unflappable composure and bulletproof reliability are nothing to sneeze at. Besides, it’s just fun. The car’s inherent setup — a wide angle separates its twin-turbo V6’s cylinder banks, which helps the engine sit lower in the car, and the motor sits close to the driver and the center of gravity alike — make it feel natural and intuitive; Acura describes it as an “almost predictive” dynamic driving experience, and I don’t disagree.
Visually, the car looks as intricate and fascinating as when it debuted in 2015, and the new Indy Yellow Pearl paint is a breathtaking addition to the model’s palette. Other enhancements this year include exchanging losing some chrome in favor of body-color trim and a standard technology package that includes Acura’s ELS Studio Audio premium sound system, which proved to be a saving grace on the road trip. Typically, supercar makers place an emphasis on engine noise above all else, for good reason — but that grows old fast on a multi-day journey. The ELS system delivers the tunes, and it made the miles waft effortlessly by.
On the last night, though, during my late-evening bombing run from Savannah to Daytona, I let the engine sing right along with the music. With both cranked high, I threw a bit of caution to the wind in order to let the NSX stretch its legs. I admit that last push knocked me around a bit — but for three hours, it was fantastically good fun, and the car proved itself every bit the speed demon it should be. I arrived with a thousand miles in the bag and fully ready to race…or at least, ready to watch those who did.
Acura hosted us and provided this product for review.
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