2002 Acura NSX -- Introduction

The intention in creating the Acura NSX, first introduced for the 1991 model year, was to produce a hand-built, exotic, mid-engine sports car that would establish entirely new levels of prestige, performance, refinement, drivability and reliability. The aluminum-bodied NSX defined a new interpretation of the exotic sports car through state-of-the-art, lightweight technology.

As the NSX evolved during the 1990s, it was continually hailed as a technological showcase.

The NSX-T model introduced during the 1995 model year, which features a removable roof panel, broadened the appeal of the NSX. It also succeeded in maintaining the extremely high levels of performance and sophistication established by the NSX coupe. Technological achievements include an optional Formula One-inspired Sequential SportShift' automatic transmission with a unique steering column-mounted electronic shifter; a drive-by-wire throttle system and standard variable, electric power-assisted steering (EPS), a compact and efficient system pioneered in the first-year NSX equipped with automatic transmission.

The 1997 NSX/NSX-T took a giant step forward in performance with several major enhancements - the most notable being a larger, more powerful 3.2-liter, 290 hp, V-6 engine with a 6-speed manual transmission.

Other significant engineering updates included larger brakes and an improved Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS), refinement to the electric power steering system, application of new aluminum alloys for lighter-weight, high-rigidity body panels, adoption of special heat-reflecting window glass and an anti-theft vehicle immobilizer feature.

The 2002 model gets updated styling to modernize the car's looks and refinements to the chassis to ensure its competitiveness as a world class 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 halogen units to fixed position Xenon High-Intensity Discharge (HID) lamps. Other external styling refinements include new mesh side intakes, a trunk lip spoiler, more aggressive exhaust tips and a redesigned taillight configuration. Chassis refinements including a larger diameter rear stabilizer bar and firmer front springs which combine with bigger wheels and tires to enhance the car's dynamic handling characteristics.

In designing the NSX, achieving a light overall weight was chosen as the best way to attain the following attributes:

  • Top-rank performance on a par with existing exotics
  • Excellent livability - the NSX is as easy to live with as any other Acura
  • Outstanding handling whether in the city or on the highway
  • A high level of comfort and ergonomic design and low ambient-noise level
  • Reliability and durability equal to mass-produced automobiles
  • Extremely high levels of fit, finish and materials
  • Excellent climate control system to keep the occupants comfortable in any weather condition
  • The excitement of open-air motoring

The NSX achieved all of the above and set new benchmarks for exotic sports cars in the following areas:

  • Excellent body rigidity for precise handling
  • Outstanding levels of noise insulation
  • Providing a convenient storage compartment for the roof panel
  • Minimizing wind buffeting at speed
  • Providing a security system that functions with the top removed

The 2002 mid-engine, two-seater NSX offers two distinct powerplants. The standard powertrain is an all-aluminum 3.2-liter V-6 that produces 290 horsepower and 224 lb-ft of torque mated to a 6-speed manual transmission. An electronically controlled 4-speed automatic transmission with Formula One-inspired Sequential SportShift is optional and is accompanied by an all-aluminum, 3.0-liter V-6 that produces 252 horsepower and 210 lb-ft of torque.

Both engines are normally aspirated and are equipped with dual overhead cams, four- valves per cylinder, a Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control (VTEC™) system, and a Variable Volume Induction System. They also feature Programmed Fuel Injection (PGM-FI) and a direct-ignition system that uses six individual coils, one mounted atop each spark plug, instead of a single coil for all six cylinders.

The chassis features all-aluminum construction for light weight. The four-wheel independent double-wishbone suspension also features aluminum-alloy control arms and hub carriers front and rear to minimize unsprung weight for optimum handling. Aluminum subframes for the suspension further reduce suspension mass. The braking system features large-diameter, ventilated four-wheel discs and an advanced four-channel Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS). The sophisticated Traction Control System (TCS) has been designed to help limit wheel-spin and enhance control.

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