2022 Acura NSX Type S: Misunderstood 600-Hp Hybrid Goodbye

2022 NSX Type S article highlights:

  • The second-gen Acura NSX’s final chapter, the 2022 Type S is lighter, sharper, and more powerful than the 2021 car
  • It’s not perfect, but the 2022 NSX Type S embodies the regular car’s daily-drivable hybrid supercar nature and adds more thrills and fun
  • There’s no official word of a third-gen NSX, but the Type S is a fitting high note for the iconic nameplate

As Acura prepares to re-introduce one iconic nameplate, another is saying farewell. The NSX is heading out (again), but not before a last hurrah. That hurrah is the 2022 Acura NSX Type S, a limited-edition supercar that channels the brand’s historic performance nomenclature. And in doing so, it also shows just what many enthusiasts got wrong about the second-gen NSX.

The 2022 Acura NSX Type S is the AWD hybrid supercar’s 600-hp send-off

A red 2022 Acura NSX Type S in front of a classic red NSX on a racetrack
A 2022 Acura NSX Type S in front of a classic NSX | Acura
2022 Acura NSX Type S
Engine and motor arrangementMid-mounted 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V6
Liquid-cooled rear-mounted permanent-magnet AC electric motor
Two front-mounted permanent-magnet AC electric motors
Horsepower600 hp (combined)
Torque492 lb-ft (combined)
TransmissionNine-speed dual-clutch automatic
Curb weight3960 lbs (standard)
3903 lbs (with Lightweight Package)
Usable battery capacity1.3 kWh
0-60 mph time2.9 seconds (Car and Driver)

Now, Acura gave the second-gen NSX a few updates since its 2017 introduction. But the 2022 NSX Type S doesn’t just benefit from those gradual enhancements. It also takes the lessons Acura learned racing the NSX GT3. And the result is what some argue the second-gen NSX should’ve been from day one.

Compared to a regular 2021 NSX, the 2022 NSX Type S has more boost pressure, bigger fuel injectors, and better intercoolers. In addition, the electric motors have new software; the front ones have lower final-drive ratios, too, while the rear one has a larger battery. Hence why the Type S has 27 more horsepower and 16 more lb-ft of torque and hits 60 mph 0.2 seconds faster.

However, the 2022 Acura NSX Type S’ extra speed doesn’t just come from extra power. Acura also sped up the DCT’s shifts by 50%, reprogrammed the magnetorheological dampers, tweaked the electric power steering, and re-tuned the AWD system. Plus, the Type S rides on grippier Pirelli P Zero PZ4 tires, breathes out of a reworked exhaust and has wider tracks. And the 2021 NSX’s optional carbon-fiber roof, spoilers, diffuser, and side skirts are standard on the Type S.

Speaking of that rear diffuser, Acura reshaped the standard one as well as the front fascia using data from GT3. That’s also why the 2022 Type S has different grille openings and bodywork than the standard car. But if that’s not enough weight savings or aero madness for you, the 2022 NSX Type S has an optional Lightweight Package. This adds a carbon-fiber engine cover, carbon-fiber interior trim, and carbon-ceramic brakes.  

It’s still flawed, but the 2022 Acura NSX Type S is sharper, faster, and a total blast

The rear 3/4 view of a matte-gray 2022 Acura NSX Type S going around a racetrack corner at speed
2022 Acura NSX Type S rear 3/4 | Acura

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All these changes, big and small, help explain why the 2022 Acura NSX Type S recently set a lap record at the Long Beach Grand Prix. They also explain why it feels so much more visceral than the regular NSX. And yet, they also don’t take away from the current car’s strengths—and weaknesses, Roadshow adds.

The bad news is the 2022 Acura NSX Type S is still cramped, especially for taller drivers, Car and Driver reports. Also, visibility is rather limited, it has an outdated version of Honda’s infotainment system sans volume knob, and the seats aren’t great for long drives. And even in the sportiest driving mode, the Type S doesn’t really shout its supercar status. In other words, it doesn’t fully divest itself of some of the second-gen NSX’s ‘drawbacks.’

However, once you start driving the Type S, two things become clear. One, it’s still just as comfortable and easy to live with as the regular version. And two, Acura succeeded in its mission of making the NSX more exciting.

Remember that Long Beach GP track? Acura claims the 2022 NSX Type S is three seconds a lap faster than the 2021 car, Car and Driver says. But the numbers don’t tell the whole story.

“[The 2022 Acura NSX] Type S is…your best chance to get one of the greatest Japanese sports cars ever sold to the public.”

Car and driver

The Type S isn’t just louder than the regular NSX—it also has sharper steering, “quicker reflexes,” and the transmission doesn’t just shift way faster, it’s way smoother, too, Roadshow says. Car and Driver claims it “handles like it’s at least 300 pounds lighter than” its claimed curb weight. Oh, and while earlier second-gen NSXs were criticized for cheap interiors, the 2022 Type S has none of those issues.

The Type S could never be as pure as the original, but it fulfills the same mission in its own way

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Here’s the thing, though. Car and Driver notes that the Type S “builds on the strengths of the second-gen NSX.” In the real world, the second-gen Acura NSX can genuinely keep pace with supercars that cost many times more. Hence why it’s one of the best AWD sports cars available today. Or rather, it would be, if the limited-edition Type S wasn’t its swan song.

Admittedly, the second-gen NSX’s problems weren’t performance-related per se. Sure, some supercars accelerated faster in a straight line for the same or less money. But the hybrid supercar’s biggest problem was the original NSX. It quite literally rewrote the supercar rulebook by being a reliable, daily-drivable exotic that was just as fun as its higher-priced rivals. And as you can see in the Throttle House video above, it’s a simpler, more visceral, and involving car than even the Type S.

But I’d argue that the people who dinged the current-gen Acura NSX for not being a modern-day carbon copy of the OG missed the point entirely. Firstly, as Throttle House notes, modern safety and emissions regulations don’t allow cars like the first-gen NSX to exist. That’s especially true of the lightweight Alex Zanardi Edition car in the video.

Secondly, the whole point of the original NSX was the democratization of supercar technology. In the 1990s, it was aluminum-intensive construction and mid-engine layouts. In 2017, the LaFerrari and Porsche 918 Spyder ushered in the age of turbocharged hybrid AWD performance. You know, like the NSX offered for a whole lot less?

Yes, the second-gen Acura NSX had a long and somewhat troubled development. Yes, the regular version arguably focused too much on daily comfort at the expense of supercar thrills. But it was a more affordable, everyday-livable alternative to those hybrid hypercars. And the 2022 NSX Type S shows that Acura can deliver thrills when it wants to.

Will Acura bring back the NSX for a third generation?

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Unfortunately, you can’t get a 2022 Acura NSX Type S anymore. Acura is only making 350 examples and they’re all sold out. And even if you got a used NSX with the optional carbon-fiber bits, it wouldn’t quite be a Type S clone.

However, rumors suggest that Acura isn’t done with the NSX quite yet. And with Honda’s recent electric vehicle plan announcements, an electric NSX may be in the works. Still, whether it’s goodbye for now or forever, the Type S is a fitting, exciting salute.

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