In this week's Autoblog Podcast, Editor-in-Chief Greg Migliore is joined by West Coast Editor James Riswick and Road Test Editor Zac Palmer. This week, they're driving a 2020 Acura NSX, two versions of the BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe (M235i and 228i) and the updated 2020 Honda Civic Si. Then, the gang gets to talking about what they'd drive in 1975 and 1985, along with plenty of other tangents. Finally, they wrap it up with news about the upcoming 2021 Acura TLX Type S and the fate of this year's Woodward Dream Cruise.
The Acura NSX has been a special car as long as I've been in the business. The first one came out in 1990, the same year I started my career in automotive engineering. I vividly remember driving one briefly back then when we brought one in for benchmarking. I'd drive it again 22 years later when my previous employer bought a used 1991 example for a long-term test. Reader interest was sky-high and the car was still gorgeous, but the march of time and automotive engineering had clearly left it behind.
Then, in 2016, a second-generation NSX emerged, and it was packed with bleeding-edge thinking. It has a 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6, but this new NSX is a hybrid with an electric motor-generator sandwiched between the engine and its nine-speed DCT transmission. Two more electric motors – one for each wheel – power the front axle. There they can add traction, regenerate electricity under braking and dole out hyper-accurate levels of torque vectoring.
Somebody just bought a 1999 Acura NSX Zanardi Edition for $135,000 on Bring a Trailer. And to that we say, we're jealous.
The Zanardi Edition is one of the more sought-after NSX models out there. Acura only ever sold 51 of them (named after racer Alex Zanardi), and they were sold during a time that nearly every NSX sold here was an NSX-T with the T-top. The hardtop Zanardi Edition features a number of performance improvements over a typical 1999 NSX.
During a roundtable during a recent event hosted by Honda, we joined in on a roundtable interview with Honda Technical Consultant Ko Yamamoto and Honda Civic Type R Project Leader Hideki Kakinuma. Questions were asked about the Type R brand broadly, as well as the potential for some new projects. The answers were both good news and disappointing news for Honda fans.
The good news is that Honda takes the Type R name and brand very seriously. Yamamoto and Kakinuma explained that the name and its associated red "H" badge are only for vehicles with a racing connection, such as the Honda Civic Type R that has a couple of racing variants. As such, you won't be seeing a CR-V, Odyssey or Insight with the Type R name. Furthermore, the Type R name is only for Honda-badged vehicles, despite the existence of the Acura Integra Type R a couple decades ago.