2002 Acura NSX -- Body

A rigid structure is of paramount importance in a performance car. High rigidity provides a stable platform for proper suspension geometry and alignment, and it makes possible a tight, rattle-free interior. A lightweight structure greatly enhances the car's power-to-weight ratio.

As a rule, a very light car can achieve high performance levels with less horsepower. After an intensive research effort, it was determined that the most efficient way to meet the rigidity and weight targets for the NSX was to build the body exclusively of aluminum.

Using a Cray supercomputer, the engineers performed millions of Finite Element Modeling (FEM) and stress analysis calculations. The result of this research and development effort is a chassis that weighs approximately 462 lb (210 kg) with doors, hood and deck lids installed - about 40 percent less than a steel chassis, but with the same rigidity and impact protection. The NSX structure is significantly stiffer than most other competitors currently on the market.

Key body parts are made with 6000 series aluminum alloy that is up to 50 percent stronger than the other alloys, thus requiring less material to perform effectively. This lighter-weight material is used in making the doors, fenders, and front and rear deck lids, among other key parts of the NSX. For example, by using this high-strength alloy, thinner door skin material netted a 4.9 lb (2.2 kg) weight reduction without any sacrifice in strength.

The 2002 model gets updated styling, to modernize the car's looks and refinements to the chassis to ensure its competitiveness as a modern sports car. For 2002 the NSX will be available exclusively with a removable aluminum roof panel that can be easily stowed under the rear glass hatch.

The front fascia of the NSX has been updated with a higher hood, and a redesigned front bumper and spoiler. The front headlights have gone from pop up bulbs to projector-type Xenon High Intensity Discharge (HID) lamps. Other external styling refinements include new mesh side intakes, redesigned side sills, a trunk lip spoiler, an integrated diffuser designed into the bumper lower, more aggressive exhaust tips and a redesigned taillight configuration. The combination of body enhancements makes the NSX more aerodynamic than ever before and, in addition to enhancing front to rear aerodynamic balance, increases the NSX's top speed from 168 mph to 175 mph.

To maintain high rigidity extensive reinforcement measures are employed throughout the body. Required reinforcement includes a side sill aluminum-extrusion design that involves significantly thicker wall sections. Other reinforced areas include the base of the B-pillar where it joins the rocker panel, a larger rear bulkhead crossbar and a thicker trunk leading-edge panel. In addition, thicker wall sections can be found in a reinforcement web in the rear floor cross member, and there's an additional rib in the center rear bulkhead section, a redesigned and thicker walled rear roof-rail section and a redesigned front roof-rail section with increased wall thickness. More reinforcements include a thick upper A-pillar and a thick upper-dashboard.

To attain a structure of high rigidity, complex aluminum extrusions were used for the crucial side sills of the unit body. These extrusions, with their carefully braced internal structure contribute to the extremely high torsional stiffness of the NSX. For 2002, these side sills receive a new garnish for a more modern look.

To help maximize occupant protection, the front frame rails of the unit body are designed with large-radius curves where they meet the passenger cabin. This design helps to dissipate energy in the event of a collision, spreading out impact loads and diverting them under the passenger cell.

New for 2002, the NSX replaces its pop-up headlights with projector-type Xenon High Intensity Discharge (HID) low beam headlights. Three times as efficient as conventional halogen lamps, the Acura HID system uses less energy, with more than double the bulb life. Luminosity increases by 132 percent over halogen lights while weight is reduced by 16.94 pounds. The increased beam width eliminates the need for separate fog lights. The NSX's high beams use conventional halogen bulbs and operate in conjunction with the HID lights.

For 2002, the NSX gets two new body colors, Long Beach Blue Pearl and New Imola Orange Pearl. Other colors are: Grand Prix White, New Formula Red, Spa Yellow Pearl, Silverstone Metallic, and Berlina Black. Each of these colors can now be matched to a corresponding interior color for a personalized look or ordered with a conventional leather interior.

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