You can count the number of American-built supercars on the digits of a single hand.
Then there are all the slightly oddball contenders. Like the Shelby SSC Ultimate Aero built up in Washington State. For a while, the 1,183-hp SSC was the fastest road car on the planet recording a top speed of 256 mph.
I’d also vote for the 1,244-horsepower Hennessey Venom, built by that crazy Texan, John Hennessey. Flat out it has hit 27o mph – 270.49 mph to be precise. And at $1 million a pop, it certainly has a supercar price tag.
But in truth, none of these – maybe with the exception of the Venom – capture the true essence of a supercar in the way, say, a new Porsche 918 Spyder, or Ferrari LaFerrari, or Lamborghini Aventador, or McLaren P1 does.
But come January and the Detroit auto show, the silk will come off a brand new American supercar. It’ll boast a 500-plus horsepower hybrid powertrain with a mid-mounted twin-turbo V6. It’ll have all-wheel drive. And it’ll have true supercar styling that should make car lovers go weak at the kneecaps.
I’m talking about the remarkable, all-new 2016 Acura NSX.
Excuse me? Acura. American? Yes, a bit of a stretch I admit. But the fact is, this sensational new supercar has been designed, developed and engineered in lovely Marysville, Ohio.
What’s more, the car will be built at a brand new $70 million Acura Performance Manufacturing Center in Marysville, right next door to the sprawling Honda plant. That, in my book, makes it as American as Stephen Colbert and fireworks on the Fourth of July.
This new NSX is the spiritual successor to the original, and now iconic NSX supercar that debuted at the 1989 Chicago auto show. At the time, it set a new standard for light weight, on-rails handling and daily drivability. Production ran from 1990 till 2005.
This new NSX, which will likely land in dealerships around August-time next year, takes the original concept and adds way more power and technical sophistication.
While final details won’t be released until January, it’s expected to come with a mid-mounted, twin-turbo 3.7-liter V6 driving the rear wheels through a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.
To provide the car with all-wheel drive and performance-enhancing battery assistance, the new NSX will feature two electric motors to power the front wheels. There’ll also be a third electric motor integrated with the V6 to add to the power quota.
That should add up to 500-plus horsepower giving 0-to-60mph sprinting in the mid-three seconds and a top speed right at 200 mph.
Acura has been previewing concept versions of this new NSX at various auto shows since 2012. But thinly-disguised prototypes blasting around the Nurburgring track in Germany – where one actually burst into flames – show the final production version should change little from the red concept we show here.
This is a good-looking car, though perhaps nothing like as dramatic as the latest BMW i8, or as gorgeous as the Porsche 918. Perhaps a little too safe, maybe, to stand out in this supercar crowd.
As for pricing, expect it to sit somewhere between Audi’s R8 which kicks off at around $116,000 and BMW’s i8 which starts at around $136,000.
But the million dollar question here is whether supercar buyers will actually want an Acura supercar. Even one so technically sophisticated.
Remember, every R8 comes with Audi’s rich history of victories at Le Mans; every BMW i8 comes with that whispered “Ultimate Driving Machine” halo.
Maybe that “Made in America” will make all the difference.