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By Jim Flammang
February 14, 2005
Vehicle Overview Acura's high-dollar, aluminum-bodied, mid-engine sports car underwent a notable redesign during the 2002 model year. The two-passenger NSX got a lower air dam, restyled front and rear fascias, and an air diffuser integrated into the lower rear bumper. Acura's goal was to enhance the car's handling, performance and aerodynamics.
Fixed-position headlights replaced the prior pop-up units. A trunk lip spoiler was added above restyled taillight housings. The front spring rate was increased, and larger 17-inch tires were installed.
A trunk-mounted CD changer joined the standard-equipment list for 2004, but the NSX continues into the 2005 model year essentially unchanged. A lightweight removable roof panel is standard.
Since its 1991-model-year debut, the NSX has been the most costly, strongest-performing member of the Acura lineup. Competitors include the Chevrolet Corvette, Dodge Viper SRT10 and Porsche 911. Through the years, the NSX has been a technological showcase for Honda, Acura's parent company.
Originally intended as a response to Ferrari and other makers of high-end sports cars, the NSX never achieved that level of status. A redesigned NSX is likely to appear soon.
Exterior Unlike some sports cars with designs that date back to the early 1990s, the NSX still looks sleek and contemporary. Aluminum is used for many of the low-slung coupe's components, including its sculpted, wedge-shaped body. An integrated rear spoiler contains a center-mounted brake light.
Built on a 99.6-inch wheelbase, the NSX measures 174.2 inches long overall and stands only 46.1 inches tall. Front to rear weight distribution is 40/60 percent. The removable aluminum roof panel permits open-air driving and contains an integrated storage compartment.
High-intensity-discharge headlights sit in conventional fixed positions. The lower air dam helps yield a 0.30 coefficient of drag. Forged aluminum-alloy wheels with a ribbed spoke design hold high-performance 17-inch tires: P215/40R17 in front and P255/40R17 in the rear.
Interior Only two people fit inside the NSX, but tall occupants get more usable space than they would in many other sports cars. Acura claims the NSX's interior is meant to evoke a jet fighter's cockpit. Because of the mid-mounted engine, a modestly sized trunk is located up front; it holds just 5 cubic feet of cargo.
Standard equipment includes perforated leather-trimmed seats, automatic air conditioning, four-way power bucket seats, cruise control, a tilt/telescoping steering wheel, variable intermittent wipers and a Bose cassette stereo with a trunk-mounted CD changer.
Under the Hood Two powertrains are available. A 252-horsepower, 3.0-liter V-6 teams with a four-speed-automatic transmission, while a 290-hp, 3.2-liter V-6 mates with a six-speed-manual gearbox. The automatic transmission features a manual-shift provision that operates via a toggle lever on the steering wheel � an idea borrowed from Formula One racing. Instead of a throttle cable connected directly to the gas pedal, the NSX uses electronic drive-by-wire technology.
Safety All-disc antilock brakes and traction control are standard. Side-impact airbags are not available.