Today’s Buy/Drive/Burn trio represent the high-dollar sports car that doesn’t quite make it into supercar territory. They’re very expensive, yet among other extra-fast vehicles in the six-figure segment, they’re considered relatively good value.
This makes them all oddballs; none ever burn up the sales charts. But that doesn’t mean they can’t catch fire.
Honda’s long-delayed second entrant into the NSX nameplate made its way to Acura dealers for the 2017 model year. Produced at the Honda Performance Manufacturing center in Marysville, Ohio, the new NSX grew in every dimension compared to the first generation. Fortunately, power grew as well. The 3.5-liter V6 residing in the middle of the car has twin turbos, which work in conjunction with dual electric motors at the front , and a single electric motor at the rear. 573 combined horsepower travel to all four wheels via the nine-speed dual-clutch transmission. Today’s NSX has a couple of options: polished wheels for $1,700, and carbon-ceramic brakes for a tire-screeching $9,900. Final total is $170,700.
The new GT-R was a bit of a departure for the performance entrant in the Nissan lineup. Previous versions of the GT-R had the Skyline name affixed to it â€” but Nissan wanted to go a different direction. Available since July of 2008 in the United States, the GT-R debuted to immediate critical acclaim. It received a facelift in 2011 and has continued its slow sales to date. A NISMO variant entered the fray in 2018, making it the most powerful, most serious GT-R. In this guise, the standard 3.8-liter twin-turbo engine is reworked for NISMO duty, to the tune of 600 horsepower. All four wheels receive horses via the six-speed dual-clutch automatic. Everything is standard, which is why the NISMO costs about $75,000 more than the base model. It’s $175,490.
Audi R8 V10
Audi’s first mid-engine car went on sale in Europe in 2006, making its way to the United states in 2007. The model was successful enough to warrant a second album, and an all-new R8 debuted for 2016. In the process, the R8 gained sharper styling and lost the V8 base engine of the first generation. Related to the Lamborghini Huracan, the R8 is built at the same Neckarsulm, Germany plant that used to crank out NSU vehicles. Two versions of the Lamborghini 5.2-liter V10 have powered the R8 since 2016; one is turned down, the other is turned up. Today’s offering is the middle trim that’s fitted with the lower-powered V10 and Quattro all-wheel drive. A total of 532 horsepower funnel through a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic. The R8 is today’s value leader, and asks just $164,900.
Three performance (not super) cars, each with well over 500 horsepower. Which one gets the Buy?
[Images: Honda, Nissan, Volkswagen]