Updated Acura NSX concept steals the show from the MDX

Aki Sugawara
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Usually when an automaker presents multiple models at an auto show, the higher profile car takes center stage, and attendees who come early sit up front for the best seats in the house. But Acura curiously pulled a switcharoo, causing confusion as the company's showstopping Acura NSX concept was unveiled off to the very rear (to the delight of the latecomers) as almost as a side note. In front of them lay the still-shrouded MDX concept, but at that point the SUV seemed irrelevant—even though Acura marketing chief Mike Accavitti futilely insisted it was "the star of the show." I quickly ditched my spot near the main stage and went to the NSX, never looking back.

At first glance, the Acura NSX looks the same as did when it was first unveiled last year—that is to say, beautiful. But there are small changes around which suggest the design is closer to production. From the side, the invisible B-pillar looks thicker and moved forward, and the front sees the most prominent external change, with the grill using a smaller shield design, and vented mesh inserts finishing the lower half of the bumper. On a side note, Acura should adopt this iteration of the Power Plenum across their other models.

The big news is that we finally get to peer inside, and the clean, alcantara-accented cabin suits the NSX's supercar cred. A traditional analog dash is replaced with a digital screen, and what looks like a touchscreen in the center console defines what Acura calls a "Simple Sports Display," which aims to decrease interior clutter with intuitive software. Mechanically the concept remains unchanged, and the car will be an all-wheel-drive sport hybrid with three electric motors—two at the front wheels, and one integrated with the V-6 engine.

Acura's MDX SUV concept reveal reflects the company's weakness in recent years: there's little to get excited about in its upcoming line-up — MDX and flagship RLX included. Then again, next to Acura's highly anticipated halo car, almost any ride will look dull.