2003 Acura NSX Press Kit

2003 Acura NSX - Overview

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 featured 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 included 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 - most notably 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.

Beginning in 2002, all NSXs feature a removable aluminum roof panel that can be easily stowed under the rear glass hatch. Also, in 2002, the NSX received a variety of styling enhancements to modernize the car's looks and refinements to the chassis to ensure its competitiveness as a world class sports car. The front fascia of the NSX was updated with a higher hood, and a redesigned front bumper and spoiler. The front headlights changed from pop-up halogen units to fixed position Xenon High-Intensity Discharge (HID) lamps. Other external styling refinements for 2002 included new mesh side air intakes, a trunk lip spoiler, more aggressive exhaust tips and a redesigned taillight configuration. Chassis refinements included a larger diameter rear stabilizer bar, firmer front springs and bigger wheels and tires to enhance the car's dynamic handling characteristics. The enhancements together combined to reduce the car's coefficient of drag from 0.32 to 0.30 and raise the top speed from 168 to 175 mph.

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

  • Top-rank performance comparable to 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

While providing the excitement of open-air motoring, the NSX also set new benchmarks for exotic sports cars in the following areas:

  • Excellent body rigidity for precise handling
  • Outstanding levels of noise isolation
  • Minimizing wind buffeting at speed
  • Providing a security system that functions with the top removed

The 2003 mid engine NSX offers two distinct powerplants. The first 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. The second is an all-aluminum, 3.0-liter V-6 that produces 252 horsepower and 210 lb-ft of torque mated to an electronically controlled 4-speed automatic transmission with Formula One-inspired Sequential SportShift.

Both engines are normally aspirated and are equipped with dual overhead cams, 4 valves-per-cylinder, a Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control (VTECTM) 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 4-wheel, independent double-wishbone suspension 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 4-wheel discs and an advanced 4-channel Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS). The sophisticated Traction Control System (TCS) has been designed to help limit wheel-spin and enhance control.

2003 Acura NSX - Powertrain


The standard engine on the NSX is an all-aluminum, 90-degree, 3.2-liter (3,179 cc), dual overhead cam, 4 valve-per-cylinder V-6 that produces 290 hp at 7,100 rpm and 224 lb-ft of torque at 5,500 rpm. It is mated to a 6-speed close-ratio manual transmission. Redline for this engine is 8,000 rpm.

The only factory option for the NSX is an electronically controlled 4-speed automatic transmission that comes with an all-aluminum, 90-degree, 3.0-liter (2,977 cc), dual overhead cam, 4 valve-per-cylinder V-6 with a top output of 252 hp at 6,600 rpm and 210 lb-ft of torque at 5,300 rpm. Redline for this engine is 7,500 rpm.

An exclusive, electronically controlled Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control (VTECTM) system optimizes volumetric efficiency at both low and high engine RPM. A unique Variable Volume Induction System changes the configuration of the intake system in conjunction with varying engine speeds, working with the VTEC system to broaden the torque curve and increase peak power output.

To achieve both light weight and durability, the engine block is made of aluminum alloy. While cast iron cylinder liners are used on the 3.0-liter engine, the cylinders of the 3.2-liter V-6 are made using an advanced metallurgical technique called Fiber Reinforced Metal (FRM), in which an ultra lightweight alumina-carbon fiber is cast into the traditional aluminum alloy for enhanced rigidity. This process allows displacement to be increased without increasing bore centers while providing outstanding cooling characteristics.

The 3.2-liter engine has cylinder bore surfaces consisting of a 0.5 mm-thick layer with fibers of carbon and alumina (aluminum oxide, or Al2O3) in the aluminum alloy. In production, the cylinder block's aluminum alloy is poured around cylinder cores composed of these two fibers. The cores absorb the molten aluminum during casting. After casting, the cylinders are bored to a slightly smaller diameter than the outside diameter of the cores, leaving a tough, wear-resistant, composite cylinder wall integral with the block but reinforced by the fibers. The process allows larger bores within the same external block dimensions and bore spacing, and makes open-deck block construction possible. This is appropriate for the 3.2-liter NSX engine's higher performance level. The elimination of iron cylinder liners allows a weight reduction of 5.3 lbs. for the larger displacement engine.

Because aluminum-on-aluminum is not an ideal combination for durability with a piston sliding in a cylinder, the 3.2-liter aluminum pistons are given an iron coating. The piston crown has been reshaped to improve heat resistance, and the pin diameter enlarged to cope with the higher power output. Conventional aluminum pistons are used in the 3.0-liter engine with iron liners.

The crankshaft of the NSX engine is a forged unit made of a special high-strength steel to cope with the high power output of both engines.

The low-pressure cast aluminum cylinder heads maximize flow into the combustion chambers in the 3.2-liter engine, where 36 mm intake valves are used. Even though the valve diameter is 1 mm larger than in the 3.0-liter engine, a unique cup shape is incorporated into the valve head to allow it to maintain the same weight. To further increase air flow, a special four-angle valve-seat machining process is used to create a gentle radius leading from the intake port into the combustion chamber - a process typically reserved for racing applications. The head gasket of the 3.2-liter V-6 is made of stainless steel to ensure a positive seal with the FRM cylinders. The combustion chamber for both engines is a pent-roof design with generous squish area to promote swirl and enhance combustion efficiency. The spark plug is centrally located for optimum flame propagation and features a platinum tip for improved durability and longer service life.

The connecting rods are made of a specially patented titanium alloy. While titanium rods are common in Formula One and other race engines, the NSX features the first application of titanium rods in a production car. Compared to a steel connecting rod for the same engine, these titanium rods each weigh 190 g less and are significantly stronger. To cope with the increase in power relative to the 3.0-liter engine, the 3.2-liter engine's piston pin diameter was increased by 1 mm (from 22 mm to 23 mm), while the crankshaft pin diameter was increased by 2 mm (from 53 mm to 55 mm).

To accommodate the larger crankpin diameter, the connecting rod bolts were moved 1 mm farther apart and incorporate a new, high-strength design. The rod bolts used are actually stronger, yet 1 mm smaller in diameter and 20 percent lighter than those previously installed.

Without question, the Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control (VTEC) system is recognized as a breakthrough in engine technology. It convincingly solves the age-old trade-off between low-end torque and high-end power.

VTEC utilizes a unique camshaft and rocker arm system in which, for each cylinder's set of two intake (or exhaust) valves, there are three rocker arms and three corresponding lobes on the camshaft. The two outboard lobes each have a profile suited for low- to mid-rpm operation. The third or center cam lobe has a dramatically different profile designed for longer duration and higher lift. This lobe profile is designed to optimize breathing and horsepower production at high engine speeds. At low engine rpm, the outboard lobes operate the valves. Above 5,800 rpm, the VTEC computer sends a signal to a spool valve, which in turn delivers engine oil pressure to small pistons in the rocker arms. Oil pressure causes the pistons to move, locking all three rocker arms together. Once locked, the rocker arms are forced to follow the center cam lobe, increasing top-end performance. The crossover from low lift to high lift occurs in 0.1 seconds and is virtually undetectable to the driver.

In addition to VTEC, the NSX engine also uses a Variable Volume Induction System. This system uses a separate intake air plenum, located beneath the main intake manifold. This second plenum is separated from the primary manifold by 6 butterfly valves, which open between 4,600 and 4,900 rpm and are activated by manifold vacuum.

When the valves open, the added volume of the secondary plenum creates a higher resonance frequency, which in turn creates a sonic pressure wave. This sonic pressure wave arrives at each pair of intake valves just as they open, promoting more rapid and complete cylinder filling. This system was designed to work in concert with VTEC to improve both low-end torque and high-rpm power.

Programmed Fuel Injection (PGM-FI) ensures that each cylinder receives the precise amount of fuel necessary at any given time and with varying load and speed conditions. This system has been specially tailored to the unique capabilities of the induction and VTEC systems. An air-assist mechanism aids fuel atomization for better combustion at low temperatures.

The NSX features a lightweight, highly efficient exhaust system. On the 3.2-liter V-6, the exhaust manifold employs stainless steel header pipes rather than a cast-iron manifold for improved performance and lighter weight. Increased flow from this configuration is a key contributor to the 290 horsepower produced by this engine.

The catalytic converters are mounted close to the engine for quick converter light-off and a consequent reduction in emissions without any sacrifice in power output. The overall weight of the exhaust system has also been minimized by using spherical joints rather than conventional flexible tubes.

To ensure a hot, stable spark at high rpm operation, the ignition system has a coil mounted atop each spark plug, a design similar to that used in Formula One racing engines.

A compact, close-ratio 6-speed manual transmission is designed to provide short shift throws and quick, precise response. Dual-cone synchronizers are used on first through fourth gears to reduce shift load from 40 to 50 percent for quicker, smoother shifting. Reverse gear is also equipped with synchromesh to ensure smooth shifting. To maximize performance while maintaining excellent fuel economy, all ratios were carefully selected to provide optimum acceleration and effortless cruising. A reverse lock-out solenoid ensures proper gear selection when shifting into sixth gear. The transmission is also designed for outstanding durability in the high-performance application.

The NSX clutch system utilizes a dual-mass flywheel to handle the high torque and power output of the 3.2-liter V-6. The design involves a split flywheel that incorporates a grease-lubricated wide-angle torsion mechanism. Clutch performance is maximized by high-performance friction material on the low-inertia mass clutch disc. The location of the torsion mechanism on the flywheel side helps retain a light clutch feel.

The optional Sequential SportShift 4-speed automatic transmission gives the driver the option of letting the transmission shift automatically in the conventional manner or selecting forward gears manually by means of a fingertip-control shift lever on the steering column. Inspired by Formula One race cars, this dual-mode system was created to give the driver the convenience of an automatic and the sporting performance feel of a manual.

The shift display (PRNDM21) is depicted on the tachometer. Sequential SportShift mode is engaged by selecting the M, or manual, position. In M mode, the shift position is illuminated in a window to the right of the shift display. To shift up, the fingertip control lever is moved up, and to shift down, the lever is moved downward. Unlike some systems, the NSX allows the driver to keep both hands on the wheel while selecting a gear. The CPU (central processing unit) is programmed to prevent any downshift that would cause the engine to over-rev.

Precise automatic transmission shift programming has resulted in minimal shift shock when downshifting during deceleration.

The automatic is also equipped with a programmed lockup torque converter to improve fuel economy and reduce slippage. In the Sequential SportShift manual mode, lockup is available in second, third and fourth gear during both acceleration and deceleration.

On NSX models equipped with the 6-speed manual transmission, a torque-reactive, limited slip differential minimizes wheel-spin of the inside tire when accelerating through a corner. This unit uses a multiplate clutch and helical-type planetary gears. When traveling in a straight line, the amount of slip between the rear wheels is controlled by the force of a preset spring-loaded disc imparting a force on the multiplate clutch. In a tight corner, however, the force of the spring-loaded disc is overridden by the thrust force of the helical-type planetary gears, thus enhancing stability by preventing the inside wheel from spinning.

On NSX models equipped with the 4-speed automatic transmission, a torque control differential employs a multiplate clutch and planetary gear set to help maintain vehicle stability at speed in crosswinds and when driving over split-friction surface conditions. The unit reacts to the difference in rotational speed between the rear wheels and helps to maintain the same rate of rotation for both wheels.

If the NSX should be forced off the intended direction in a crosswind, the differential will detect the rotational difference between the two rear wheels and transfer torque to the slower rotating wheel. This has the effect of directing the car back into the desired path.

The goal of the Traction Control System (TCS) is to minimize rear wheel-spin on slippery or uneven roads. This unique development was created as a high-performance system rather than purely a low-speed, traction-enhancing device. The TCS uses the wheel-speed sensors of the Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) and a g-sensor to detect differences in rotational speed between front and rear wheels and lateral acceleration. If the computer determines the surface is slippery, the Central Processing Unit (CPU) decreases the amount of air and/or fuel delivered to the engine. Using ABS wheel-speed sensors and working in conjunction with the drive-by-wire throttle system, the TCS engages at the moment of impending wheel-slip rather than when slippage actually occurs. A logic circuit also controls stability during sudden deceleration on slippery surfaces. On automatic transmission-equipped models, the system also reduces shift shock during downshifts in the SportShift position. The driver can disengage the TCS via a switch on the instrument panel.

The drive-by-wire throttle system replaces a conventional throttle cable arrangement with an all-electronic system that senses the throttle pedal position and relays that information to a computer. The computer then performs the actual throttle activation instantaneously. The system works by means of a throttle pedal sensor, a throttle angle sensor, an electronic control unit and a step motor to control throttle opening and provide fail-safe throttle operation. It works in harmony with the TCS to provide a broad range of control. This system also helps to enhance the precision of the cruise control system.

2003 Acura NSX - Chassis

Outstanding handling characteristics have been a hallmark of the NSX since its inception. A sophisticated all-aluminum double-wishbone suspension provides outstanding ride and handling, while large, 4-wheel disc brakes and a 4-channel Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) help ensure secure stops.

In addition, the NSX's revolutionary variable, electric-power-assisted steering system provides excellent road feel and easy operation.

The goals for the NSX suspension system went well beyond the typical goals of high lateral adhesion, transient response and linear response to control input. The engineers wanted a system that allowed the driver to easily control the car right to the limit, particularly with the more powerful 3.2-liter V-6 engine.

The basic configuration is similar to that of a Formula One car, employing an upper and lower control arm (or double-wishbone) design with a coil-over shock absorber and stabilizer bar front and rear. The rear suspension has an additional transverse link for greater wheel control. The suspension arms are made of extremely lightweight, rigid and durable forged aluminum. The front and rear hub carriers are also made from heat-treated aluminum castings. The springs are straight rate with an extended rubber bump stop mounted on the chassis, which acts as a progressive springing element at the limit of wheel travel.

The shock absorbers are nitrogen-filled and feature a unique progressive valve design. The progressive opening of this valve produces a more favorable damping profile, and more precise damping control, than a conventional valve system in which the fluid-control orifices are either fully opened or closed.

The front and rear suspension components are mounted on separate aluminum subframes using rubber bushings designed to reduce vibration yet limit flex and shift of the suspension components relative to the mountings.

From the beginning, the suspension development program has been far-ranging, taking place at Honda's Tochigi Proving Grounds and the Suzuka Circuit in Japan, the 179-turn Nurburgring course in Germany, the Honda Proving Center of California (HPCC) and Honda's newest test track in Takasu, Hokkaido. In addition to the standard evaluations conducted in-house by the suspension engineers, the car was subjected to evaluation by top-rank drivers such as the late three-time Formula One World Champion Ayrton Senna and Formula One driver Satoru Nakajima.

The braking targets were to provide outstanding braking performance, excellent pedal feel, linear braking response and low pedal effort. To reach these targets, the NSX is equipped with 4-wheel ventilated disc brakes, dual-piston steel calipers in front and single-piston calipers in the rear. The diameter of the brake discs is 298 mm in the front and 303 mm in the rear. The combination of large rotors and flex-resistant calipers achieves the ideal braking system balance. Splashguards with cutouts aid in ventilation and enhance fade resistance.

The 4-channel Anti-Lock Braking System controls each wheel independently using a 16-bit microprocessor. This four-wheel independent capability allows precise control of the anti-lock function, especially when the car is braking on a surface with a split coefficient of friction - for instance, if the left side wheels are on snow, ice or standing water, and the right side wheels are on dry pavement.

The basic configuration uses independent, parallel hydraulic circuits. In addition to the primary, non-anti-lock braking circuit, the anti-lock system has its own hydraulic reservoir, pump, modulator unit, solenoids and control pistons. If a failure in the ABS hydraulic circuit should occur, normal braking force would be fully retained by the primary braking circuit.

The NSX's power-assisted steering system was the first of its kind on the American market. The system consists of a rack-and-pinion steering gear with an electric motor installed concentrically around the steering rack. The steering system is a direct design which functions with no assist at higher vehicle speeds. A speed sensor in the electronic control unit determines road speed and, coupled with a torque-sensing system, feeds a signal to the motor. To ensure reliability, the electrical system for this unit features gold-plated connectors.

Forged-aluminum alloy wheels reduce unsprung weight, and provide the highest strength possible. The result is a very light, seven-spoke wheel with the strength and impact resistance of a much heavier steel wheel. The NSX has seven- spoke wheel with a painted, then clear-coated finish. Wheel sizes are 7 x 17 in front and 9 x 17 in the rear.

The suspension engineers, working in conjunction with Yokohama Tire Company and Bridgestone Tire Company, sought to produce tires that would not only provide excellent traction and handling, but also allow the driver to "feel" the limits of the tires' performance.

The resulting NSX-specific tires are remarkable, meeting all the high-performance targets the engineers established early in the program.

The NSX is equipped with wide, low-aspect-ratio tires, front and rear, for more responsive handling and increased cornering capability. Tire sizes are 215/40ZR17 front and 255/40ZR17 rear, resulting in a large contact patch for even superior handling.

2003 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 unit body structure that weighs approximately 462 lb (210 kg) with doors, hood and deck lids installed - about 40 percent less than a steel unit, but with the same rigidity and impact protection. The NSX structure is significantly stiffer than most of its competitors.

Key body parts are made with 6000 series aluminum alloy that is up to 50 percent stronger than other similar alloys, thus requiring less material to perform effectively. The doors, fenders, front and rear deck lids, and other key parts of the NSX are made from this material. 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.

All NSXs feature a removable aluminum roof panel that can be easily stowed under the rear glass hatch as standard equipment.

To maintain high rigidity, extensive reinforcement measures are employed throughout the body. These reinforcements include a side sill aluminum-extrusion design with thick 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 thick trunk leading-edge panel. In addition, generous wall sections can be found in a reinforcement web in the rear floor cross member, and there's a strengthening rib in the center rear bulkhead section, a redesigned and thicker walled rear roof-rail section. Robust A-pillars and front and rear roof rails also contribute to body rigidity.

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.

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.

The NSX features 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. 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.

The 2003 NSX comes in the following body colors, Long Beach Blue Pearl, New Ioma Orange Pearl, Grand Prix White, New Formula Red, Spa Yellow Pearl, Silverstone Metallic, and Berlina Black. Each of these colors can be matched to a corresponding interior color for a personalized look or ordered with a conventional tan or black leather interior.

2003 Acura NSX - Interior

The objective was to create an interior that was the sports car equivalent of a jet fighter cockpit. The key elements of this concept were to provide virtually unlimited visibility, a feeling of snugness or intimacy with the interior of the vehicle and the sense that the cockpit and driver were out in the airstream rather than enclosed and isolated from the environment. To achieve this feeling, seats were designed to fit snugly at the hips and flow outward and upward to provide ample space for the head and shoulders.

The NSX's interior comes in eight colors, seven of which can be coordinated to match the vehicle's exterior body color for an individualistic, high-tech look.

A low seating position contributes to a low center of gravity and helps to reduce the vehicle's frontal area for improved aerodynamics. Ordinarily, a low hip-point would impart to the driver the feeling of being buried in the interior and could lead to a claustrophobic feeling. To avoid this, the body engineers created a very low cowl section, which allowed them to lower the height of the dash and instrument panel. The low cowl also enhances forward visibility.

In designing the instrument panel, the approach was one of simplicity. Since the primary function of the instruments is to relay information as clearly and quickly as possible, the designers opted for a traditional analog execution. All the major controls are clustered around the steering wheel column to make them easy to reach. The instrument panel is dominated by the tachometer on the left and the speedometer on the right. To the left of the tach are the water temperature and oil pressure gauges. To the right of the speedometer are the fuel gauge and voltmeter. The instrument faces are round with white numerals on a dark blue background.

The windshield header of the NSX has a special aerodynamic design that directs the airstream up and over the passenger compartment to minimize wind buffeting at speed. The NSX is also equipped with small sun visors to enhance visibility.

The NSX uses special highly efficient UV-absorbing green glass to reduce the effects of solar loading on interior temperatures in hot weather.

The NSX is equipped with driver and passenger SRS airbags, which are intended to supplement the seat belts. In conjunction with these, the NSX features automatic seat belt pretensioners that use the same impact sensors as the airbags. The belt tensioners and the air bags are activated simultaneously, causing each belt to retract to help restrain the occupants in the event of a moderate to severe frontal collision.

The NSX's perforated leather upholstery enhances ventilation for greater comfort. Hand-stitched and hand-fitted to the seat facings, door inserts, steering wheel and shift knob, the handsome perforated leather is a natural complement to the businesslike ambiance of the NSX's interior.

The 2003 NSX comes in eight interior colors: Onyx, Camel, Blue, Orange, Red, Silver, Yellow and White. These colors can be matched to the NSX's body color for a stylized, individual look.

A compact Automatic Climate Control System has been developed specifically for the NSX. This is a fully automatic system, but the automatic function can be overridden, and the system can be used in a fully manual mode. The system uses non-CFC R-134LC refrigerant.

A sophisticated alarm system is standard equipment on the NSX. If an unauthorized attempt is made to enter or start the NSX, the horn sounds, the flashers are activated and the starter system is disabled. The system automatically arms 15 seconds after the doors are locked and is disarmed when a door is unlocked with the key. The system will operate even with the roof panel removed from the car.

Bose® engineers became involved with the NSX sound system at an early stage of the car's interior design. This four-speaker system was designed and calibrated specifically for the unique acoustics and resonances of the NSX interior and provides the highest quality imaging and spatial dynamics for both the driver and the passenger.

The Acura/Bose® Music System speakers are precisely aimed so that the pressure wave of the speaker closest to each occupant does not overpower the pressure wave from the speaker that is farthest away. This produces a balanced sound from each speaker, and the net result is true stereo performance. A subwoofer is cleverly located in front of the passenger footwell, while a full range speaker is mounted between the seats at shoulder level.

The AM/FM stereo with cassette features Dolby® Noise Reduction and an FM diversity antenna system. The auto preset function will automatically lock on eight strong AM and eight strong FM stations and store them into the preset selector buttons. An optional CD changer is available.

A special electronically coded key prevents the car from being started, even if a mechanical duplicate of the proper key shape is used. A transponder built into the key signals the immobilizer control unit that the key is genuine. If the car is hot-wired, or an unauthorized key is used, it simply will not start. This system is a substantial deterrent to theft. In New Jersey, for example, insurance premiums have been reduced as much as 15 percent when such a system is used.

2003 Acura NSX - Manufacturing

The goal behind the design of the unique Takanezawa assembly plant in Tochigi, Japan, is to produce the highest quality automotive product in the world.

This plant has no automated conveyor line. Rather, each car is mounted on a dolly and pushed by hand from one workstation to the next. Each team of workers is responsible for the quality of work performed at their station. The car is not passed on to the next area until the team is satisfied that their procedures have achieved the tolerances and goals required in the specifications. Each assembly station, in effect, also functions as an inspection station.

Engine assembly is also done in a unique way to ensure the highest level of assembly quality. Contrary to typical mass production procedures, each NSX engine is assembled by an individual, highly skilled technician from start to finish. This process keeps tolerances to levels that would not be possible in a mass assembly procedure and helps assure reliability and durability.

The NSX is painted in a 23-step paint process, including an aircraft-type chromate coating designed for use with aluminum. A waterborne paint for the base coat was developed to achieve a clearer, more vivid color and a smoother surface finish.

2003 Acura NSX Specifications



Engine Type

3.2-liter, DOHC VTEC V-6
3.0-liter, DOHC VTEC V-6

Horsepower, SAE Net

290 hp @ 7,100 rpm
252 hp @ 6,600 rpm

Torque, SAE Net

224 lb-ft @ 5,500 rpm
210 lb-ft @ 5,300 rpm


8,000 rpm
7,500 rpm

Bore & Stroke

3.66 in x 3.07 in
(93 mm x 78 mm)
3.54 in x 3.07 in
(90 mm x 78 mm)


194 cu in (3,179 cc)
181 cu in (2,977 cc)

Compression Ratio


Induction System

Programmed Fuel Injection (PGM-FI) with Variable Volume Induction System


Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control (VTECTM), 4 valves per cylinder, belt-driven, dual overhead camshaft

Engine Block

Aluminum alloy with Fiber Reinforced Metal (FRM) cylinder liners
Aluminum alloy with cast-in iron cylinder liners

Cylinder Head

Aluminum alloy

Connecting Rods


Emission Control

Electronically controlled EGR LEV emission control

Ignition System

Direct ignition system with knock control


120 Amp max


12V, maintenance-free

Recommended Fuel

Premium unleaded, 91 octane


Transverse mounted, mid-ship engine / rear-wheel-drive


6-speed manual
4-speed automatic with Sequential SportShift and steering-column mounted shifter toggle

Ratios (:1)

1st / 3.066
2nd / 1.956
3rd / 1.428
4th / 1.125
5th / 0.914
6th / 0.717
Reverse / 3.186
Final / 4.062
1st / 2.611
2nd / 1.552
3rd / 1.026
4th / 0.684
Reverse / 1.909
Final / 4.428



Body Type

All-aluminum unit body

Front Suspension

Independent, all-aluminum, double-wishbone with coil springs, stabilizer bar and compliance pivot

Rear Suspension

Independent, all-aluminum, double-wishbone with coil springs and stabilizer bar

Shock Absorbers

Gas-pressurized with Progressive Valve technology, front and rear

Stabilizer Bars



18.3 mm diameter x 3.0 mm wall thickness


19.1 mm diameter x 2.3 mm wall thickness

Steering Type

Variable, electric power-assisted, rack-and-pinion

Steering Ratio


Steering Wheel Turns (lock to lock)


Turning Circle (curb to curb)

38.1 ft (11.6 m)




17 x 7.0 inch forged aluminum alloy


17 x 9.0 inch forged aluminum alloy




215/40ZR Ultra-High Performance


255/40ZR Ultra-High Performance

Braking System

Power-assisted, 4-wheel disc brakes with 4-channel ABS

Front Discs

Ventilated, 11.7 in (298 mm) diameter; 1.1 in (28 mm) rotor thickness

Rear Discs

Ventilated, 11.9 in (303 mm) diameter; 0.9 in (23 mm) rotor thickness

Total Swept Area

Front: 221.1 sq in (1426 cm2) Rear: 229.2 sq in (1479 cm2)

Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS)

4-channel system with 4 wheel speed sensors and electric/hydraulic control




6.7 US qt (6.3 L)

Cooling System

16.9 US qt (16.0 L)
17.4 US qt (16.5 L)

Fuel Tank

18.5 US gal (70.0 L)



48.9 cu ft


5.0 cu ft


53.9 cu ft



EPA Fuel Mileage - City / Highway

17 / 24
17 / 24




99.6 in (2,530 mm)

Track, front

59.5 in (1,510 mm)

Track, rear

60.7 in (1,540 mm)

Overall Length

174.2 in (4,425 mm)

Overall Width

71.3 in (1,810 mm)

Overall Height

46.1 in (1,170 mm)

Curb Weight

3,153 lb (1,430 kg)
3,197 lb (1,450 kg)

Weight Distribution (% front / rear)

40 / 60
40 / 60



Coefficient of Drag (Cd)


Coefficient of Lift (Cl)


Frontal Area (A)

19.16 sq ft (1.78 m2)

Air Drag Coefficient (Cd x A)




Head Room

36.3 in (921 mm)

Leg Room

44.3 in (1,126 mm)

Hip Room

53.8 in (1,366 mm)

Shoulder Room

52.5 in (1,334 mm)




4-year / 50,000-mile limited warranty

Outer Body Rust-Through

5-year / unlimited-mile limited warranty

Acura Total Luxury Care (TLC) with roadside assistance

4-year / 50,000-mile