“Driving this car in the snow is pretty darn cool,” said Dan Hassler, suspension and steering dynamics engineer at Honda, though, truth be told, he’s probably a little biased, having played a key role in developing the second-generation Acura NSX.
Unfortunately, piloting one of these Japanese exotics through a white-out blizzard is something most owners probably dread more than parking underneath a power line in the Mojave desert that’s just become home to a flock of migratory birds. Can you say baked on?
But why is the Acura NSX ready for snowy weather? Well, for starters it has all-wheel drive, but that’s not the only reason. According to Hassler, “It basically goes where you steer it. It’s good for a novice driver, it’s good for an expert driver.”
When so equipped, this car’s advanced Super-Handling All-Wheel-Drive system can take advantage of snow tires’ excellent longitudinal traction while cornering. Conventional cars can only tap into the limited reserve of lateral grip provided by these tires, which, while trying to change direction on slippery surfaces, can quickly be exhausted.
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In non-engineering terms, what the NSX can do while cornering is overpower the outside front wheel and underdrive the inside one, which lets the snow tires to really dig in, playing to their strength. Hassler said that this is great for beginning drivers because the vehicle simply goes where you point it, but this can also be fun for more experienced motorists. “They can then use the throttle to control the amount of sip angle and place the car easily wherever you want. It’s something that probably most customers will never do but it’s a true joy to drive this car in the snow.”
Indeed, supercars are not a regular feature of the winter road-scape, at least at northern latitudes where much of the hemisphere is blanketed in frigid white precipitation. Still, the thought of making like snow and drifting sounds incredibly appealing. Now, to see if Acura will loan us an NSX around the middle of January for some testing. It’s all in the name of science, we promise!
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