2003 NSX-T New Car Test Drive
The Acura NSX was a sensational supercar when it was introduced in 1990, and it remains one of the most sophisticated sports car designs around. It's built a lot like a prototype racing car, made civilized for the street, with many interior fittings straight off the Acura shelf. But sophisticated and racy do not mean fussy and challenging to drive. In the NSX they mean mild-mannered when you need it to be, exciting when you want it to be. And always the focus of attention.
Once, my wife and I had to return two press cars from the driveway to the office: a Chevy pickup and an NSX. I put her in the NSX because it was easier for her to drive. Never mind that I then backed into it while behind the wheel of the truck, because it was so low it ducked under the pickup's rearview mirror.
Would you like that in Long Beach Blue, Imola Orange, Spa Yellow, Silverstone Metallic, Berlina Black, Grand Prix White or New Formula Red? In 2002 you can even order interiors to match (Vivid Blue, Vivid Orange, etc.). Our vivid Spa Yellow test car came with matching interior, which was louder than we might recommend, although with the roof panel removed, bees seemed to like it.
Actually, there are two de facto models of NSX, although Acura calls one of them merely an option, and the price is the same 89 thousand for either. Base engine is 3.2 liters with 290 horsepower and 224 foot-pounds of torque, mated only to a six-speed manual gearbox.
The optional engine is smaller and less powerful, at 3.0 liters, 252 horsepower and 210 foot-pounds, and comes only with a four-speed sequential automatic transmission. It can be manually operated in Sport Shift mode, using a lever on the steering column.
Both engines are highly developed versions of the successful Honda V6, with double overhead cams, four valves per cylinder, variable valve and ignition timing, variable volume induction tuning, electronic drive-by-wire throttle control, and more.
The only other options are dealer installed. There's a trunk-mounted six-disc CD changer and keyless entry. The standard sound system is a four-speaker AM/FM radio and cassette, designed and calibrated by Bose for the NSX.