Miami hosted its first-ever Formula 1 Grand Prix last weekend, where spectators got the chance to watch superstar drivers on the track and literal boatloads of celebrities on the (fake) marina. Of course, while the fanfare of the world’s largest racing series never disappoints, for a city that’s already overwhelmingly over-the-top, sometimes you need a little escape.
So, Senior Editor Jeff Perez and I sought reprieve in the swamp – literally, the Florida Everglades and the roads surrounding it. Acura graciously lent me a 2022 NSX Type S for the day, and I made the trek from South Beach to where the alligators live, with an apex predator of my own to play with.
The 2022 Acura NSX Type S improves on the standard car in multiple ways. It has a new front and rear fascia for aero, more power thanks to bigger turbochargers, and better tuning of the electric motors. Acura also recalibrated the transmission for faster shifting and slapped on more aggressive Pirelli tires.
We’ve driven the NSX multiple times over its life and most recently had the chance to push the new Type S around the banking at Daytona. But today’s drive is more about saying goodbye to the NSX, a car that we’ve always appreciated and is now in its final model year. So with the F1 crowd in our rearview mirror, we set out to have some fun in this car one last time.
I love the regular Acura NSX more than a lot of sports cars I've driven. And in the past, if you would've asked me what my dream garage looked like, I might have had an NSX in there alongside some seven-figure hypercar. But after driving the Type S model – this is the one I really want.
Like Clint said, he was nice enough to drive this car from South Beach all the way up to me in Broward County, where we promptly headed west to the Everglades in an effort to find the longest, straightest, emptiest stretch of road. We wanted to experience at least a fraction of what the new NSX Type S was capable of.
At first glance, this is a pretty car – and it looks more aggressive than the base version thanks to its sharpened nose and new carbon fiber trim pieces. The Indy Yellow paint job and new Orchid interior also makes this particular example an immediate eye-catcher.
The upgraded turbochargers underhood and a hybrid battery with 20 percent higher capacity increase the output to 600 horsepower and 492 pound-feet of torque. That's a pretty significant 27-horse increase over the base model. And that extra oomph is obvious the second you step on the throttle.
On an empty stretch of US Highway 27, we opened it up. Even at higher speeds, the instant oomph from the electric motors and the additional power coming from the two new turbos made the speedometer climb ridiculously quick. Whereas the standard NSX is very much a sporty sports car, the Type S model climbs into supercar territory with its speed.
Off the highway, an empty side road allowed us to also test the updated launch control system – which Clint shows you how to activate via this nifty demonstration video below. Although it only holds revs at relatively low 2,200 RPM during the launch sequence, the NSX Type S is jarring off the line, rocketing to 60 in under 3.0 seconds and firmly planting me and Clint into the seatbacks.
But like the traditional NSX, if you're not launching it, the Type S drives about as comfortably as a Corvette – or any other comfortable daily sports car. We took it to lunch, parked it in a crowded parking lot, and dealt with traffic, and never once did the NSX Type S feel like it was too much of a burden.
So with all the insanity surrounding the Miami GP, escaping to the Everglades in a 600-hp NSX was certainly beautiful relief.
Funny enough, the first time I drove an NSX was right beside Jeff a few years ago in Miami. That experience was full of rain and pressed for time to shoot a video, so I was looking forward to a round two with the Type S. From everything I’ve heard, this version takes everything I loved about the car and makes it even better. Sign me up.
Right off the bat, I'll say that this spec is a home run grand slam. Yellow is the best color on the NSX (fight me), and the car looks incredible with the added carbon fiber trim pieces matched with the new Type S dark wheels. The new fascia is much better than the beak-style grille from before. I never had a bad thing to say about the Acura supercar’s looks, but the Type S is even better.
But it’s the technical steps forward that intrigued me most with this car. When it was new, the NSX powertrain was unlike anything else on the road, and it remains the most well-executed hybrid system I’ve ever driven to this day. Acura engineers learned from collecting data the last few years and put that knowledge into the Type S, making small tweaks that amount to a big difference.
There are new and improved noises in the cabin, with much more pronounced turbo whooshes starting earlier in the throttle application. If you’ve ever heard an NSX hit redline you’ll know what a unique howl the V6 offers, and it’s now louder and, better. I’d have a hard time telling you honestly that I felt a massive difference in power, but this was never a slow car. Six hundred horsepower is evident in every street driving scenario and it’s pure fun to feel the NSX change from combustion to electric power at a moment’s notice. Nobody expects something with these looks to be silent at a stoplight.
I was also impressed with the new Pirelli rubber, which felt a huge step up over the less grippy Continentals that came on the standard car. These new Italian shoes are bespoke to the Type S and hang on like all hell, even when launching the car. And while Miami’s notoriously straight roads didn’t give us much of a chance to corner hard, the grip felt stronger than in any other NSX I’d driven previously. Just like before, the suspension was plush enough to not punish you, which is something that cannot be said of every supercar on the road these days.
The Type S’s downside is the interior, as I think they could have done more to make it feel unique to the standard NSX. There are a few Type S logos spread throughout, but nothing else feels unique. The infotainment is completely unchanged and feels… very old. At least it has Apple CarPlay and a fantastic ELS sound system to distract you from how bad the screen is.
Throughout its life, the NSX was criticized by some for not being as sharp or as posh as other supercars, but I’ve never agreed with them. This car may be a Honda at heart, but it’s unique among the McLaren, Ferrari, and Lamborghini vehicles of the world because of that. Hybrid horsepower is now the trendy tech of the moment in this category of cars, and somewhere down the line, we’ll all look back and appreciate the Acura NSX a bit more because of the groundwork it laid with this exceptional technology. If you were one of the lucky few to get a Type S allocation, please do yourself a favor and use it as an escape pod for a day – you won’t regret it.