Erik Berkman, Executive Vice President, Acura Business Planning Office
Mike Accavitti, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Acura Division
Ted Klaus, Chief Engineer and Global Development Leader, NSX
Good morning and thanks for joining us today!
This is a big day for the Acura brand. We're here today for the exciting world debut of the new NSX, a vehicle that reflects Acura's American roots. The NSX makes a powerful statement about the strong role being played by our North American operations in envisioning and building the future of Acura.
Starting today, you will see Acura focus even more strongly on our core values and DNA as a challenger brand, breaking some rules and doing the unexpected to create new value for luxury buyers.
Moving forward, you can expect premium products that place even greater emphasis on dynamic design, premium content, and exhilarating performance.
Three years ago we announced that we were creating a next generation NSX supercar. But we didn't stop there, we also announced that a U.S. R&D team would lead the development and that America would be the exclusive global production home for NSX. Today, we're here to deliver on that promise.
But the all-new NSX represents more than just a real supercar. It heralds a sharpened focus on our sports heritage and is a vehicle that achieves precision-crafted performance and incredible, joy-inducing synergy between the driver and machine.
For the Acura brand, it all starts now.
Hello, everyone. It's great to be back in Detroit. In each of the past two years I took to the stage here to introduce important Acura products, new vehicles that deliver on core Acura values and that have created powerful momentum.
Of course, I'm talking about the MDX, the best-selling 3-row luxury SUV in America over the past 10 years, and the TLX, which has quickly become one of our best-selling vehicles. Further, in Los Angeles, we announced plans to strengthen the gateway to our lineup, with a huge injection of Acura DNA into the reborn 2016 Acura ILX.
So, while the NSX will be a great leap, it builds upon the strong momentum we have created step-by-step, as we advance and energize the Acura brand. I'm very pleased at what we have accomplished over the past two years.
The Acura brand was established in America nearly 30 years ago. And those deep American roots support every aspect of the brand. Sales began here. Key products like MDX and TLX are designed and developed here. And more than 95 percent of Acura models are made in America.
Now, our U.S. R&D is leading a global team in developing the NSX, which will be produced at our new Performance Manufacturing Center in Ohio.
The original Acura NSX debuted in America 25 years ago next month. NSX - stood for "New Sports Experimental." But when it proved to be no experiment, the name stuck. And NSX redefined what it meant to be a supercar.
Many things have changed in our industry and in the marketplace since 1989.
Well, more than just my hairstyle. There's a new generation of customers. Technological advancements. New manufacturing techniques. But one thing hasn't changed, and that is the values that created NSX.
Supercar performance, delivered in a unique and challenging way, powered by new technologies, and utilizing new materials, that is the heritage of NSX.
Our commitment was to create an all-new NSX that is true to that heritage, a supercar that delivers a new driving experience, where every part of the vehicle is respectful of the smartest part of the car, the driver.
You know, as kids, we grow up dreaming about cars that are limited only by our imaginations. That's why many of us are here today as adults, but still kids at heart, at one of the world's great auto shows. This all-new NSX is that kind of car. It not only lives up to the legacy of its predecessor, it's the stuff our dreams are made of.
Ladies and gentlemen, the soul of a car is the emotional connection it makes with the driver. And with the NSX, that connection will be intense, immediate and very personal.
It's here, the all-new Acura NSX.
Good morning, everyone. It's been my honor to lead development for this new Acura supercar, the next-generation NSX.
I am incredibly proud to represent a global team of passionate designers and engineers who have come together to create this new NSX.
Our goal was to create a human-centered supercar that delivers a New Sports Experience. And while that begins with what you see right here, ultimately it's delivered by what you will experience behind the wheel.
Fulfilling the NSX legacy Mike talked about means that we provide performance based on the concept of "human fit." That means Driver Centric performance that will not only thrill the sports car purist out on the track, but reward drivers of all skill levels in the real world.
Our starting point was to sit down with the original NSX development team leaders to more deeply appreciate NSX heritage. We also imbedded several of these original leaders in the development of this new model, including those who worked directly with the legendary Aryton Senna. As a result, both vehicles share a common lineage, a fundamental respect for timeless sports car values best achieved by a rigid and light chassis with the mass placed low and close to the driver.
But at the same time, creating an NSX requires an openness to advanced technologies, but only those technologies that enable the vehicle to directly respond to the driver's inputs. And so, we combined excellent fundamentals with advanced super handling technologies, all focused on creating again a sports car that responds to the will of the driver.
Now, three years ago, we announced that the NSX would have a unique power unit - incorporating a three-motor sport hybrid system, and it does, but that was not the limit of our thinking about the power unit.
Some of you may recall this blue NSX Concept that lapped Mid Ohio before the start of the Indy Car race in August of 2013. This prototype was powered by a transverse mounted, normally aspirated V6. It was a good powertrain, but for NSX good is not good enough, we recognized the need and the responsibility to do more to fulfill our goal of creating a truly iconic supercar.
So, in the middle of development, we made a bold decision to create an all-new longitudinally mounted, twin turbocharged V6.
Changing the powertrain design and layout was NOT an easy task. Frankly, it was like undergoing a heart transplant while running a marathon. But 10 seconds behind the wheel, and you will understand how this new power unit is one of the keys to delivering a New Sports Experience. It's nestled low in the chassis, and our power unit responds to all driver demands, acceleration and braking as well as cornering.
Our new engine is paired with an all-new 9-speed dual clutch transmission of our own design, housing an electric motor that helps directly drive the rear wheels. Twin electric motors in front provide instantaneous torque delivery and dynamic torque vectoring. These three-motors, one aft and two in front, comprise the Sport Hybrid system.
The combination of a twin-turbocharged engine with these three electric motors, delivers instantaneous yet, broad torque, with total system horsepower north of 550, and our unique combination of the V6 Engine working together with the three electric motors, the NSX launches with "zero delay acceleration", a G feeling unlike anything you've ever experienced, unless you've spent time in an F1 car.
An evolution of Acura's Integrated Dynamics System, supports performance at the will of the driver in every driving situation. Four modes, Quiet, Sport, Sport-Plus, and Track, progressively reveal the full range of the dynamic capabilities of the NSX.
From its near-silent Quiet mode when using only electric power, to the full, at-the-limit dynamic capabilities of Track mode, the NSX responds to the driver's needs and desire for a truly unique and thrilling sports car experience - one that is enjoyable for everyday driving and completely exhilarating on the track.
When we began development, the notion of a hybrid supercar was still a very new idea.
So, let me explain a bit more holistically what our sport hybrid technology helps accomplish.
- The layout lowers the center of gravity, thus improving fundamental vehicle dynamics.
- We utilize the unique characteristics of the electric motors to respond to the driver's throttle, brake pedal, and steering inputs.
- We do not control the driver, but rather, we directly respond to their commands - such that the driver is "fully connected."
And so, NSX delivers an experience that is truly unique and yet, timeless.
And just like the original, which was the first all-aluminum production car, the new NSX will feature "world's-first materials" and innovative construction. A multi-material chassis comprised of an aluminum intensive Space Frame, with strategic use of ultra-high-strength steel, carbon fiber, and all-aluminum suspension.
The combination of its lightweight chassis and low-mounted Sport Hybrid power unit, give the NSX the lowest center of gravity in its class. We call this our Advanced Sports Package, and it's critical to delivering the "on the rails handling" that is core to the experience of driving any NSX.
Inside and out, we have taken a human-centered approach to design. With me today from our Acura design studio in Torrance, California is the NSX exterior design leader, Michelle Christensen, and interior design lead, John Norman. My team had the incredible challenge of delivering on the stunning show car concept we debuted three years ago, while translating it to a production car that houses the larger and more powerful engine now mounted longitudinally.
Every design element has a purpose, to enhance performance. The more muscular exterior appearance evolved from the functional pursuit of total airflow management. Air flows through the front of the vehicle to cool the power unit and brakes, exiting via hood and fender vents - to provide critical front downforce. The airflow stays attached to the side of the body, next feeding the Twin Turbo V6, finally exiting the body in a way that enhances the rear downforce from the rear deck spoiler and rear diffuser. It accomplishes all of this without active aero - everything just works! Beauty that derives from underlying function is also at the core of any NSX.
In a similar way, the NSX cabin has a singular focus on functionality based on human fit. Your body is supported in the form fitting seats, your hands have a "glove fit" with the steering wheel, and the thin A-pillar contributes to an un-obstructed field of view as the interior "just disappears" while you engage in the tasks of enjoying the drive.
This is the world debut of the interior we call the "human support cockpit", because it's designed from the driver out, seamlessly integrating beautiful design and supercar performance. Stated simply, the interior of a supercar should improve driving performance, or get out of the way!
It's difficult, in the static setting of an auto show, to fully appreciate how successfully we've executed on our mission to deliver a next-generation NSX, and how all of these elements, the Advanced Sports Package, the Sport Hybrid power unit, and the Human Support Cockpit, all work together to deliver a vehicle that, while supercar fast, provides the type of performance that is accessible to all of us.
We know the real proof is in the driving, and I can't wait to share that experience with all of you in the days ahead.
Thank you for your attention. Now, I'll give the stage back to Mike for some closing thoughts.
Thanks, Ted. It's great to be on the same team with you. Team Acura.
You and your team have done an incredible job of delivering a new supercar that will provide thrilling performance.
Before we close, I want to call attention to one more critical piece of the NSX creation, and that's the folks at our new Performance Manufacturing Center
in Ohio, which will be the exclusive global production source for NSX.
Why make this exotic mid-ship supercar in America? Because we can! More than 30 years of building automobiles in America has created an incredible team of experienced and expert craftsmen.
This new plant will be as innovative as the new NSX, with a unique blend of advanced technology and hands on craftsmanship. Like the car itself, this will be a clean-sheet approach to small volume, high quality production, a true next-generation plant for a next-generation supercar.
I want to acknowledge the individual who is leading the creation of our new plant, Clement DeSouza. Thanks Clement, to you and your team, for all your hard work preparing for the launch of this new NSX. We'll have a lot more to say about the new Performance Manufacturing Center in the days and months ahead.
This is an exciting time for Acura. In the coming days, we'll have more news about how we're going to bring NSX to market here in the U.S., and around the world.
But let me give you a sense of our plans for North America.
This summer, customers will be able to go online and build their dream NSX and submit an order to a dealer. We also will be conducting media drives, with the production start-up beginning at the PMC this fall, and the first customer deliveries planned for later this year. And some customers have been more anxious than others.
Pricing hasn't been set yet but I can tell you our expectation is that the NSX will start in the mid $150-thousand range.
There will be more than one spec because we know this customer wants to be able to configure, customize and build their own vehicle. But, again, we will announce details in the days ahead.
We are incredibly proud to deliver this all-new NSX this year. This pinnacle product is a major commitment for the Acura brand. More than that, it's a symbol of where we're heading, an exclamation mark on Acura's focus on precision crafted performance, and making driving pleasure a staple across all future Acura models.
You've heard us talk today about how the NSX represents a "new sports experience." But in my humble opinion, that doesn't go far enough. The NSX will embody the next Sports Experience. And with its extraordinary on-the-rails cornering, and zero delay acceleration, that is exactly what the all-new Acura NSX will deliver. It's just B.A., in a luxury kind of way. And it all starts now.
Thanks for your attention today.
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