Acura introduced a redesigned version of its high-dollar, aluminum-bodied NSX sports car after the start of the 2002 model year. Acuras goal is to enhance handling and performance and improve the cars aerodynamics.
In addition to restyled front and rear fascias, the two-passenger NSX got a lower air dam and an air diffuser integrated into the lower rear bumper. New fixed-position headlights replaced the prior pop-up units. The sports cars suspension was modified with an increased front spring rate and a larger-diameter rear stabilizer bar, and bigger wheels and tires have been added.
Since its 1991 debut, the mid-engine NSX has been the most costly and strongest-performing member of the Acura lineup. Inspiration for the original NSX two-seater came from Formula One racecars. Through the years, its been a technological showcase for Honda, Acuras parent company.
Competing against the BMW Z8, Chevrolet Corvette, Dodge Viper and Porsche 911 Carrera/Turbo, the NSX comes as either a fixed-roof coupe or, when named the NSX-T, equipped with a lightweight removable roof panel. The NSX was originally intended as a response to Ferrari and other high-end sports cars, but it never achieved that status level so its investment potential is less dramatic. Only 182 NSX models were sold in the United States during the 2001 calendar year, down from 221 units in the previous year, according to Automotive News.
Unlike some sports cars with designs that date back to the early 1990s, the NSX still looks sleek and contemporary. Aluminum is used for the low-slung coupes sculpted, wedge-shaped body, as well as for many of its components. An integrated spoiler at the rear contains a center-mounted brake light. The NSX rides a 99.6-inch wheelbase, measures 174.2 inches in overall length and stands 46.1 inches tall. Its front/rear weight distribution is 40/60 percent.
New features for the 2002 NSX include a trunk lip spoiler that stands above restyled taillight housings and redesigned exhaust tips. High-intensity-discharge headlights sit in conventional fixed positions. A lower air dam yields a 0.30 coefficient of drag, down from 0.32, as well as improved front-to-rear lift balance. The front tires measure P215/40ZR17, while P255/40ZR17 rubber is installed at the rear. The wheels are now painted rather than polished, and they come with a ribbed spoke design. The side sills, which Acura calls more substantial, are smoother than before.
Only two people can fit into the NSX, but tall occupants get more usable space than they would in many other sports cars. Because of the mid-mounted engine, a modest-size trunk is located up front; its cargo volume is just 5 cubic feet. Six new interior colors are available, with corresponding body colors. The instrument panel, which previously had a black background, now has a blue one. The removable aluminum roof panel in the NSX-T has an integrated storage compartment.
Standard equipment includes perforated leather seat upholstery, automatic air conditioning, four-way power bucket seats, cruise control, a tilt/telescoping steering wheel, a four-speaker Bose cassette stereo and variable intermittent wipers, along with power windows, door locks and mirrors.
Under the Hood
Two powertrains are available. A 252-horsepower, 3.0-liter V-6 engine teams with a four-speed-automatic transmission, while a 3.2-liter V-6 cranks out 290 hp and mates with a six-speed-manual shift. The SportShift automatic unit features a manual gear-selection provision, which is operated with buttons on the steering wheel an idea borrowed from Formula One racing. Instead of a throttle cable connected directly to the gas pedal, or hydraulic actuation, the NSX uses electronic drive-by-wire technology.
Dual front airbags, all-disc four-channel antilock brakes and traction control are standard. Side-impact airbags are not available.