Inspired by Formula One racecars, the NSX is a technological showcase for Honda, the parent company of Acura. A mid-engine, two-seater made mostly of aluminum, the V-6-powered NSX was Hondas answer to Ferraris and other high-priced sports cars when it debuted as a 1991 model.
Though several updates have been made since its introduction, the limited-production NSX is the same model that arrived nearly 10 years ago. Honda is rumored to be planning a V-8 engine for the NSX that could arrive as early as 2001. It would be Hondas first V-8-powered production car.
This low-slung sports car comes as a hardtop coupe and as the NSX-T with a removable roof panel that weighs just 19 pounds, thanks to the weight-saving aluminum used for the body. The rear styling features an integrated spoiler that includes the center-mounted brake light.
Despite the road-hugging styling, the NSX is easier to get in and out of than many sports cars, and it has enough room for taller people to sit comfortably. The dashboard and controls are laid out so they are easy to use. With the engine mounted behind the seats, a cargo area of 5 cubic feet provides modest storage space in the front of the car.
Under the Hood
Two V-6s are available in the rear-drive NSX, and the choice hinges on the transmission. The six-speed manual teams with a 3.2-liter 290-horsepower engine, and the optional four-speed automatic comes with a 252-hp 3.0-liter V-6. The automatic transmission is Acuras SportShift, which allows changing gears manually through a steering-wheel lever an idea borrowed from Formula One racing.
The SportShift transmission, steering and throttle are controlled electronically, instead of mechanically or hydraulically. Traction control and antilock brakes are standard.
Although it is 10 years old, the NSX still looks contemporary and acquits itself admirably on the road. It never achieved the revered status of a Ferrari, however, so it lacks the cache and investment potential of the Italian exotic.