Tesla Model S vs Acura NSX

Tesla Model S vs Acura NSX

While I'm still waiting for my Tesla Model S, I'm tempted to cancel and entertain the new Acura NSX as a possible option. It is cutting edge, beautiful and may be in the same price bracket as the model S. it had been announced that it will make its production debut at the Detroit Auto Show in January. There may be only a 12 - 15 month lag time between delivery of my Model S and the Acura. Any thoughts on how well the Acura will stack up.

Brian H | October 22, 2012

Concept = Vapourware?

sergiyz | October 22, 2012

apples and oranges.
NSX is not a family sedan, plenty of cars to choose from in this segment...

gmpurdy | October 22, 2012

Agree but if price point is similar I need to consider it. Just as i would consider a Porsche, BMW, etc. These are viable companies with a rich history. Tesla is a company with a limited history. Acura has AWD - Tesla does not. Among other things that are lacking in a car over 100, 000 (my cost for the tesla nearing 110,000.

sergiyz | October 22, 2012

But you shouldn't compare a 2-seater sports car with a Tesla S.
They are designed for different purposes and have very little in common other than that they are both expensive cars.

sbern18 | October 22, 2012

You cannot compare tesla model s with any ice car on a cost basis. It's apples and oranges, one is a paradigm shifting CLEAN car, and the others are just more of the same. Without easy access to super-chargers, the tesla is clearly the less practical car, so one must be willing to pay a premium for the effort to move cars away from gas. If driving a cleaner car doesn't factor into your thinking, it's a no-brainer.

mrspaghetti | October 22, 2012

Agree with sergiyz. If you want a 2 seat sportscar maybe you shouldn't be on the reservation list for a Model S in the first place. If you want a luxury sedan, you shouldn't even be considering the NSX.

Are you sure you know what you want?

mrspaghetti | October 22, 2012


If driving a cleaner car doesn't factor into your thinking, it's a no-brainer.

Disagree. I don't see the Model S as less practical at all, and "cleanliness" has nothing to do with my buying decision. If anything, I see it as more practical since I'll never have to make a special trip to refuel again, and will spend less of my time refueling overall than I would with an ICE vehicle. [considering that charging is done unattended but pumping gas is not]

And it's a lot cooler.

Michael23 | October 22, 2012

I considered R8 and went with performance s for practicality. I think anything around 110k is fair game.

Tiebreaker | October 22, 2012

@gmpurdy: Go ahead, cancel your S reservation. I am sure the folks at Tesla will cry in their organic low-carb beer. The posters above are right, you are not in the market for a sedan.

p.s. what is the NSX 0-60 time?

@tesla.mrspaghet +10

Tiebreaker | October 22, 2012

Found it: Motor Trend estimated 0-60 in 3.0 seconds.

mrspaghetti | October 22, 2012

LOL@Tiebreaker "organic low-carb beer"

Tiebreaker | October 22, 2012

If you have the dough, and really like electrics, here is a car for you:
1088 BHP, 0-60 2.8 sec.

BYT | October 22, 2012

How about MPG? Super Unleaded? CoG? Handling and grip on the road? Can you say it hugs the road with a feel that is similar to the Rolls or was it a Bently? I forget? But your right, if you wanted a sports car, I would consider a used Roadster maybe??

BYT | October 22, 2012

here's the referance:

Quote: "Even with the Model S sedan's tech-packed dashboard, 4-door coupe good looks, and quickness off the line, we may have left most impressed with the ride quality. We're going to go there and say it: we haven't felt a ride this smooth since driving the Rolls Royce Ghost, a car that starts at nearly $250,000. Of course, we offer the disclaimer that we were driving on Tesla's own perfectly paved course, but the way the chassis moved around the turns was nothing short of extraordinary. A lot of that is due to the optional air suspension, but also benefits from the ground-up design of the car's space frame chassis."

mrspaghetti | October 22, 2012

God, I can't wait...

archibaldcrane | October 22, 2012

I'm leaning in the opposite direction, the 45 mpg (combined - 45/45/45) new Lincoln MKZ hybrid for 37k is tempting me. It'll be in showrooms in a couple months, and I want to check it out. According to, the difference in yearly "fuel" cost is bigger between the MKZ and a 328i ($700/yr) than the Model S and the MKZ ($600/yr).

Maybe it'll suck, I dunno, but I'm trying to test drive everything I can before my "Build your car" email comes in. $60k for a 60kwh is damn expensive.

mrspaghetti | October 22, 2012

What's your res # archibaldcrane?

bfudge | October 22, 2012

The two cars can't be compared. Gas vs Electric, Sport vs Sedan. You have to want a clean car that promotes energy independence that still performes like a sport car. I already have an NSX (2002)and can't wait to get my Sig Performance.

archibaldcrane | October 22, 2012

P12,106, it'll be at least a few months before I have to build or defer.

mrspaghetti | October 22, 2012

Ok, I was going to advise you to defer or cancel if you had a lower number than me :)

But seriously, the fuel cost difference you posted above doesn't seem right. Figure out your average miles/yr driven, divide by mpg for the ice vehicle, then multiply that by the price of gas / gallon in your area. Multiply that by the number of years you expect to own the car and add it to the cost of ownership for any ICE vehicle you're considering. That's the price you have to compare to the Model S.

If you really want to be picky, you could also add the cost of electricity to the total cost of ownership for the Mod S, but it's a pittance in comparison to the ICE fuel cost.

Ignore that mpge nonsense.

archibaldcrane | October 22, 2012

You can't completely discount electricity costs, they are a factor (unless you're running full solar, which I'm not). Here's what shows, for LA current fuel prices, driving 100k miles (look at the number beneath the "YOU SAVE" number):

archibaldcrane | October 22, 2012

Of course, the Lincoln does not perform like the Model S - the 2011 Hybrid did 0-60 in 7.1 compared to 6.5 or 5.9 for the Model S. I'm sure it does not drive as well, CoG, noise, etc. But it's (even after paying for 100k miles worth of fuel) $18k cheaper (for the 60kwh) or so, and you can get things like standard leather, ventilated seats, blind spot monitoring, cross-traffic detection and a superior sunroof as options.

Don't get me wrong, I think the Model S is amazing. But if I'm going to drop that kind of cash on it, I'm exploring EVERYTHING else out there.

mrspaghetti | October 22, 2012

No, those numbers still look high. Remember electricity is cheaper at night - often MUCH cheaper. Humor me, use my calculation. I really don't know how they got their numbers and I think they are wrong. At least I can explain my calculation. Tell me if you think it doesn't make sense.

By the way, I do discount electricity since I'm actually on a plan where it's free from 10pm to 6am :)

archibaldcrane | October 22, 2012

Yeah, that's assuming 12 cents per kwh, which is higher than I'd be able to get on LADWP's separate meter for EVs program (although that does have an $8/mo fee). Between low and high season, tiers, etc. it's hard to put a single number on price-per-kwh - but for me, 12 cents per kwh is high, it may be in the 5 cents range.

Still, it's nowhere near closing the price gap between these two.

gmpurdy | October 23, 2012

If you have a 100 grand to drop on a car fuel cost is not a factor. Further while the NSX is not electric, it is a hybrid that uses electric motors (I believe 3) and uses a unique AWD system. In addition people are also buying the Tesla S for the "conspicuous consumption factor", "wow factor" and having the latest greatest technology - see the forums on "celebrities that have Tesla's"', "people taking pictures of people taking pictures"', etc. for evidence of this. The fact that you might save a little money is near the bottom. My question was more to do with comparing the significant investment in the car - one company is a maybe where the other company is well established. The question is valid in terms of cost and technology.

Timo | October 23, 2012

Tesla isn't really a "maybe" anymore. It is almost guaranteed to go profitable in first quarter of next year. After that there simply isn't anything similar in the world, they will be top dog pretty fast.

Future is pure electric. Not so far future either, cars (batteries) are already ready for it, only thing missing is the fast charging network for long trips and Tesla is in process of correcting that little lack of pure BEV infrastructure.

If you are willing to wait a bit, Tesla next sport car will be made in GenIII platform and pretty much will blow all the competition away (Model S is not a sport car, it is premium family sedan. The fact that it competes with sport cars just shows how superior pure BEV platform is).

mrspaghetti | October 23, 2012

@archibaldcrane & gmpurdy

I'm not trying to convince anyone that buying a Model S will "save you money" because it won't. I'm just trying to make sure a fair comparison is getting done.

Let's assume you expect to own your Model S for 8 years (arbitrarily picked the battery warranty period). Using my driving history, I rack up about 22k miles/year and I pay about $3.50/gallon for gas. The claimed mileage for the hybrid mentioned about is 45mpg - let's take that at face value.

(22000miles/yr) / (45mpg) x $3.50 x 10yrs = $17,100

That's what you have to add to the cost of ownership for the hybrid

If electricity is $0.05/kwh, assuming you drive 22k miles/yr again, using the cost calculator on the Tesla site for 60 miles/day (22k/365) works out to $0.85/day or $3100 over 10 yrs.

So your total cost of ownership for the hybrid is $37k+$17k = $54k

total cost for the Model S assuming your sticker is $60k is about $63k

I don't know how they figured out their values at, but I think they should be drug tested.

mrspaghetti | October 23, 2012

Oops, I said 8 years but calculated for 10. My bad.

But you get the picture.

Timo | October 23, 2012

I'm not trying to convince anyone that buying a Model S will "save you money" because it won't

Depends of your point of view. If I want a car that is as quiet as Rolls Royce Phantom, sticks to the road like BMW M5 and as fast to accelerate as ...hmmm... Porsche Panamera GTS I think my cheapest choice is Tesla Model S.

mrspaghetti | October 23, 2012


Fair enough.

But obviously it wouldn't make sense to trade in your Yaris for a Model S if you were on a tight budget and looking to cut expenses. That's what I was getting at.

BYT | October 23, 2012

i disagree that because you drop down 100k that the fuel is not a factor?? I ran the numbers for myself and although yes, the Model S is 110k for me, the 20k I would save in fuel is considerable. Add the additional 10k savings in EV refunds/credits and that's 30k. Consider that I plan to keep the Model S over 10 but more likely 15 years before I replace the batteries, even more savings. This doesn't take in account the cost of gas over that amount of time as we all guess it most likely will increase considerably. Compare the Model S with those perks to other cars in that price point and to me, it's a NO BRAINER!!

gmpurdy | October 23, 2012

I ordered the tesla S because it was an electric car that didn't look like a golf cart. It is an impressive car. Also not having to pay steep taxes and prices at the pump (not to mention the inconvenience of filing up). But unlike some others, I do see the Model S shortcomings and whether you accept the reality or not, the company is still in a precarious position. They have one model - if they run into problems or recalls it will be a death knell. I was very impressed with the car on the very brief test drive I had. But a company with Honda/Acura reputation, stability and the fact that the original NSX was an incredible car has given me the impetus to weigh all of the options. With the delay in receiving my Tesla Model S and the unveiling of the NSX production car slated for January at the Detroit auto show, I am looking at all available sports cars/sedan options. It would not be prudent to do otherwise.

mrspaghetti | October 23, 2012

What's your res # gmpurdy?

MB3 | October 23, 2012

t.m. Maybe things are different in TX (Sorry if I didn't get your loc right), but here in CA we know how to spend big money on gas. currently up to $5/gallon. That was admittedly a peak price, but it may yet average that over 10 years. TX is huge, and even here we put on 30k per year, so that must not be too much of stretch. So let me repeat your calculations using 50 mpg of a prius instead of 45 of that other car (because the math is more textbook ready)
10 yr * 5$/gallon * 30000 m/year / 50 mpg = 30,000. then the final costs are 64,000 for the junky little car compared to 63,000 for the totally awesome Tesla.
Not that I need justification ;)

Scorch | October 23, 2012

Bummer, I thought this was going to be a video of the 2 cars racing...

jaq1 | October 23, 2012

@gmpurdy - enjoy your NSX and good luck with your research. As for the rest of the actual reservation holders who will be purchasing a model S, the difference is clear.

TikiMan | October 23, 2012

Where I live, and based on my lifestyle, the Model S worth a few years of my life back. I don't think the Model S is for just anyone (at least not at this point), however, for some of us it is a Godsend vehicle!

I won't deny it, I love exotic sports cars, and be it an NSX, Porsche, Ferrari, Austin Martin, or even a Bugatti... NOT a single one of them will get me legally in the HOV lane single-occupancy. On the flip side, a Tesla Model S will, and with amazing style, speed, and technology to boot!

Thus my advice to anyone who can afford a $100k car... Life is too short, buy what you want! No one is going to fault you for it, and if YOU LOVE IT, who the hell cares what others think or say about it! We live in a great nation where at least with a few things (for now), we still have a great deal of choices (which is what makes us great).

I am so thankful to Elon and Tesla for allowing me to have a different choice! And for many in this great nation (and a few others), it will be one of the most amazing choices we will have ever made! :-)

gmpurdy | October 24, 2012

Jaq1 - thanks for the usual retort from those that see the Tesla S as having no shortcomings by insinuating that because I asked about a possible alternative vehicle in the $110,000+ range that there is no way I could be a reservation holder. Yes iIm actually questioning Tesla. So fact 1: I am a reservation holder. Fact 2 Tesla had had my interest fee loan for a long time. Before I plunked down the next 105,000+ dollars I thought I would put the question out there. As I said in the previous post, I think the Model S is a great car - but there have been other start ups that have had great cars - that does not ensure longevity or shortcomings or alternatives - there is lots of historical evidence to support innovative car companies that have failed. But I do recognize its short comings for a car in this price range. For example, it is wider than my current SUV and yet for a car that is electric - where a significant number of people are going to be charging it in their residential garage -yet it has no power folding mirrors. It may be ok in California to get out of the car to fold them in, but in the North East where the snow is up to your ass it not a desirable thing to have to do. This is not a nitpick, but a rather major engineering oversight for a car in this price range and one that requires charging (in a garage) every time I park it at home - which is at least daily. I asked about the Acura NSX Hybrid - Just as others have asked about Volt, Fisker, BMW, etc. I have the money to pay for the car because before I jumped into any investments I have explored all possibilities and mitigated my risk where possible. Was it an unreasonable ask? | October 24, 2012

I have had issues with every car I have owned (BMW, Lexus, Volvo, Nissan). Some of those cars I also loved. It is all about positives outweighing negatives. It is your money and your wishes- go for it. Most of us forum lurkers have already drank the kool aide. I will still be able to appreciate the finely engineered ICE cars I pass on the road with my S P :o)

Brian H | October 24, 2012

I think the core issue is comparing a sports car to the S. They're not bought for the same reasons or judged by the same criteria.

mrspaghetti | October 24, 2012

Exactly. You might as well have asked, "hm, should I buy a boat or a plane?"

petero | October 24, 2012

Gmpurdy. I have to admit the NSX is a stunning car and if both are parked next to each other on the street I would say the Acura will draw a larger crowd. Oooohs and aaaahs aside, if you are lucky you may see the NSX in a year or two, what you won’t like is the Acura dealer slapping an “added market value” sticker on the car and charging you an extra $25K+.

Say thank you TM.

DouglasR | October 24, 2012

We thought about getting a cabin in the mountains, but opted for the Model S instead.

Brian H | October 25, 2012

A cabin's 0-60 sucks.

DouglasR | October 25, 2012

But annual maintenance on the cabin is much less than $600.

BYT | October 25, 2012

Have you seen property taxes? $600 is a steal!!

DouglasR | October 25, 2012

Yeah, but my cabin is built on a landfill.

mrspaghetti | October 25, 2012


If there's nuclear waste in the landfill it will drive down property values and taxes even further. Bonus!

Brian H | October 25, 2012

Watch out for giant methane bubbles.

DouglasR | October 25, 2012

Watch out for methane bubbles? I harness them for power. Ever heard of "cookin' with gas"?