Acura NSX Vs. Audi R8: Modern Supercar Tech Battles Old-School Muscle

By Justin Cupler | January 2nd, 2019

Supercars were once simple vehicles that focused on max power with minimum weight. In recent years, technology has taken over and complex rigs like the turbocharged hybrid NSX began tearing up the streets. That said, there is still some of that old-school technology in the world in the 2018 Audi R8. Which of these wild supercars is better for our Rochester, New York buyers, the 2019 Acura NSX or 2018 Audi R8?

Exterior

Supercars are things of beauty, and the 2019 Acura NSX and 2018 Audi R8 are no exceptions. The NSX is still just a few years old and received a slight visual upgrade this year. The 2018 Audi R8 is just one year removed from a complete redesign.

The Acura NSX took a long step away from its early generations in its new format as it’s now larger and heavier than before. With these changes come a sleek and stunning body that has loads of character and a premium feel the previous NSX lacked. The Audi R8, while all-new just a year ago, retains the teardrop, cab-forward styling that made it a legend in the supercar segment. This familiarity is commonplace in all Audi redesigns.

The 2019 Acura NSX is 176 inches long, 47.8 inches tall, and 87.3 inches wide. This makes it 1.7 inches longer and 7.1 inches wider than the R8, but it is 1 inch shorter in height than the R8. Despite its longer body, the NSX’s 103.5-inch wheelbase is 0.8 inches shorter than the R8’s.

Weight plays a massive role in the supercar segment, but not as much as it did many years ago. The larger NSX body and its hybrid powertrain tip the scales at 3,878 pounds, making it 141 to 251 pounds heavier than the R8.

Advantage: 2019 Acura NSX

  • Most modern take in the supercar segment
  • Creases and angles everywhere
  • Wider track for better grip

Advantage: 2018 Audi R8

  • Legendary styling
  • Shorter body
  • Longer wheelbase helps with stability

Interior

Inside, it’s the tale of two vehicles between the 2019 NSX and the 2018 R8.

The 2019 Acura NSX lives off its brand’s luxury roots with tons premium features, including colorful leather seating, a leather-wrapped dash, big touchscreens, a push-button transmission, and much more. The R8 takes on a more spartan look with its simple dash layout that borders on sea-of-black territory. Some buyers prefer this simpler dash in a performance car like the R8, as too many buttons and screens can distract from the joy of the journey.

Both supercars have seating for two and neither is overly roomy. The 2019 Acura NSX has 38.3 inches of headroom, 42.8 inches of legroom, 57.6 inches of shoulder room, and 54.5 inches of hip room. This gives the NSX 1.9 inches more legroom and 2.5 inches more shoulder room, but it comes up short in headroom by 0.2 inches. Audi does not provide a hip room measurement.

Cargo hauling is not something you need to consider when shopping for a supercar, but the NSX at least has 4.4 cubic feet of luggage space. The R8 lists no available cargo area, so your carry-on luggage will have to ride shotgun with you.

Advantage: 2019 Acura NSX

  • Roomier front seats
  • More luxurious cabin

Advantage: 2018 Audi R8

  • Spartan cabin feels more supercar-like
  • Loads of options to dress it up

Performance

 

Things couldn’t be more different under the hood of these two supercars, as the 2019 NSX

NSX boasts a complex combination of turbocharged V-6 power and three electric motors, while the R8 uses the old adage “there’s no replacement for displacement.”

The 2019 Acura NSX boasts a 3.5-liter twin-turbo V-6 engine that kicks out 500 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque paired to an electric motor that chips in 47 horsepower and 109 pound-feet of torque. Up front are two electric motors that each produce 36 horsepower and 54 pound-feet of torque. This collection of advanced propulsion units does a delicate waltz to the tune of 573 horsepower and 476 pound-feet of torque. This power routes through a combination of a nine-speed dual-clutch transmission and a single-speed transmission.

Because it has the two front motors, the NSX comes standard with all-wheel drive. This adds up to a 3.1-second sprint to 60 mph and a 191-mph top speed.

The 2018 Audi R8 forgoes all that technological mumbo jumbo in favor of an all-engine setup that uses a 5.2-liter V-10 powerplant that pumps out 532 horsepower and 398 pound-feet of torque in its base setup. This power flows through a seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch transmission and out to the rear wheels. Buyers can also upgrade to the quattro model and get all-wheel drive.

This base powertrain adds up to a 199-mph top speed and a 3.7-second 0-to-60 sprint — 3.5 seconds with all-wheel drive.

The 2018 R8 has a second 5.2-liter engine option in the V10 Plus trim that cranks out 602  horsepower and 413 pound-feet of torque. This engine also pairs with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, but all-wheel drive comes standard. In this setup, the 60-mph sprint takes just 3.2 seconds, and terminal velocity checks in at 205 mph.

While going fast in a straight line is fun, supercars also have to handle the twisty stuff. In independent testing, the Audi R8 turned in a respectable 0.98 Gs on the 300-foot skid pad, but the Acura NSX’s wider stance and lower center of gravity gave is a huge advantage at 1.06 Gs.

No one buys a supercar for fuel efficiency, but it could be a deciding factor in a tough decision. The Audi R8 is respectable with up to 14 mpg city, 25 highway, and 18 combined in its base setup or 14 mpg city, 22 highway, and 17 combined with all-wheel drive. The NSX puts its hybrid tech to work to deliver 21 mpg city[1], 22 highway[1], and 21 combined[1].

Advantage: 2019 Acura NSX

  • Significantly quicker to 60 mph
  • More traction in the corners
  • Immediate torque from electric motors

Advantage: 2018 Audi R8

  • Old-school torque building excitement
  • Better highway fuel economy
  • Higher top speed

Pricing and Features

The 2019 Acura NSX comes in just a single trim level, and it starts from $157,500.*

The 2018 Audi R8 is available in three trims — V10 RWS S tronic, V10 quattro S tronic, and V10 plus quattro S tronic — and their starting prices range from $138,700 to $194,400.*

2019 Acura NSX Key Features and Pricing by Trim

Base: $157,500*

  • 3.5-liter twin-turbo V-6 engine with electric motor
  • Dual front electric motors
  • All-wheel drive
  • Nine-speed dual-clutch transmission
  • Hill-start assist
  • Automatic engine stop/start
  • Brembo six-piston front calipers
  • Brembo four-piston rear calipers
  • Flush-mounted pop-out door handles
  • Acoustic windshield
  • LED taillights
  • Variable intermittent wipers
  • Remote keyless entry with smart entry
  • Body-color heated mirrors with LED turn signals
  • LED headlights with auto on/off
  • Dual-zone automatic climate control
  • Keyless ignition
  • Active sound control
  • Power windows with one-touch up/down
  • Power door locks
  • Tilt-and-telescoping steering
  • Steering-wheel-mounted controls
  • HomeLink universal home remote
  • Frameless auto-dimming rearview mirror
  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel
  • Leather-wrapped instrument panel
  • Leather-wrapped door panels
  • Alcantara headliner
  • LED ambient lighting
  • Perforated semi-aniline-leather-and-Alcantara seats
  • Eight-way power heated seats
  • 7-inch Display Audio with high-resolution screen
  • Nine-speaker ELS Studio Premium Audio System
  • Bluetooth connectivity with audio streaming
  • USB audio interface
  • SiriusXM
  • Pandora
  • Navigation
  • HD Radio
  • Siri Eyes Free
  • Android Auto and Apple CarPlay
  • 8-inch color digital instrument cluster
  • Backup sensors
  • Cruise control
  • Multi-angle rearview camera

2018 Audi R8 Key Features and Pricing by Trim

V10 RWS S tronic: $138,700

  • 5.2-liter V-10 engine
  • Seven-speed dual-clutch transmission
  • Rear-wheel drive
  • 19-inch five-arm-V-spoke wheels in high-gloss black
  • Adaptive rear spoiler
  • LED headlights
  • LED taillights with dynamic turn signals
  • Power mirrors with auto-dimming
  • Auto-dimming rearview mirror
  • Dual-zone automatic climate control
  • Flat-bottom sport steering wheel
  • Anthracite inlays
  • Eight-way power front seats with memory
  • Fine Nappa leather interior
  • Heated seats
  • Sport seats
  • Keyless ignition
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • 12.3-inch digital instrument panel
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • HomeLink universal home remote
  • MMI Navigation Plus
  • MMI Radio plus with 10 speakers
  • Parking system plus
  • Rearview camera
  • SiriusXM

V10 quattro S tronic: $164,900

  • All V10 RWS S tronic features, plus
  • All-wheel drive
  • Magnetic ride control
  • 19-inch five-double-spoke silver-finish forged wheels
  • Chrome exhaust outlets
  • Aluminum window trim
  • Alcantara headliner
  • Illuminated doorsill inlays with “R8” badging
  • Black-leather door armrests, door pull handles and center console
  • 18-way power front seats with pneumatic leg and side bolster adjustments
  • Bang & Olufsen® Sound System with 3D sound
  • High-beam assistant

V10 Plus quattro S tronic: $194,400

  • Upgraded 5.2-liter V-10 engine
  • Ceramic brakes
  • 19-inch five-double-spoke design Titanium wheels
  • Electric rear spoiler
  • Carbon exterior package
  • Body-color window surrounds
  • Sport exhaust with black tips
  • LED headlights with Audi laser light technology
  • Illuminated aluminum doorsill inlays with high-gloss carbon-fiber surround
  • Carbon Atlas inlays
  • Racing-shell seats
  • Sport suspension

Who Should Buy the 2019 Acura NSX?

The 2019 Acura NSX is for the modern supercar buyer. We’re talking about those who love power but also want technology and luxury to go along with it. The NSX delivers all that and then some.

Who Should Buy the 2018 Audi R8?

Old-school supercar buyers who just want to go fast and look good will appreciate the Audi R8’s classic V-10 powerplant and incredible soundtrack. Its simple interior will also cater to this crowd.

Whether you’re commuting to Rochester for work or zipping to Fairport to see family, the 2019 NSX will get you there in exhilarating style. Come see the 2019 Acura NSX for yourself at Acura of Rochester serving the Rochester, Pittsford, and Fairport areas today. If you can’t make it in today, you can check out our online inventory to see what NSX models we have in stock before heading in.

 

[*] MSRP for 2019 Acura NSX – Prices shown are Acura suggested retail prices only and do not include taxes, title, license, destination, handling charges or registration & documentary fees. Acura vehicle accessory costs, labor and installation vary. Dealers set their own prices. Please consult your selected dealer.
[2] MPG for 2019 Acura NSX – Based on 2019 EPA mileage ratings. Use for comparison purposes only. Your actual mileage will vary, depending on how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, battery pack age/condition (hybrid only) and other factors.