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2016 Acura NSX Engineer: No Active Aero

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 1/12/2015 Edward Loh
2016 Acura NSX© Provided by MotorTrend 2016 Acura NSX

One of the things you may notice about the NSX is that while it is aggressively vented and grilled, it doesn’t have any of the whiz-bang fins and spoilers that rise up and lower at speed. We asked its chief engineer, Ted Klaus, why.

MT: Why doesn't it have some sort of pop-up rear spoiler? Active aero?
TK: “It’s simply that we chose to develop the product with the passive aerodynamics fully optimized. So we wanted to challenge ourselves to fully optimize the aerodynamics. Now, as I’m fond of saying, if you have your passive specification worked out well, you will discover the opportunities for active aerodynamics.”

MT: So does this not have any active aerodynamics?
TK: “There are no active aerodynamics according to my definition, which has an actuator – something that is an electromechanical actuator. So there are no active aerodynamics.”

2016 Acura NSX Engineer: No Active Aero

MT: Was that from a cost/complexity consideration or from a “purity” angle?
TK: “There is an element of purity, and there is an element of what I would call… you set your targets. Supercars aren’t about [being] rational, but you set your targets and you want to achieve your targets in the straightest line, with the least complexity, mass, and other things. But we’ve definitely discovered opportunities, but we were able to achieve our downforce targets without any active aero.”

MT: Are you losing any of the "wow factor" by not having, say, a spoiler that shifts to 90-degrees when you slam on the brakes? Or do you not care? Was that not even a consideration?
TK: “I’m not going to lie, we always consider emotion. I mean one of the keys to any small volume supercar is emotion. But you have to temper that with your overall concept, with your overall philosophy. So, yeah we had many knock down, drag out fights late into the night – are we going to do this, are we not going to do this? If your only consideration is emotion, that would not be well-aligned with NSX.”

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