Long before it was ever introduced, the NSX was stirring the interest and passion of knowledgeable car enthusiasts all over the world. The word was out. Honda was building a mid-engined exotic sports car. And knowing the thoroughness of Honda's engineering, and the resident passion for high performance within the walls of the Research and Development center at Tochigi, the car world knew that something to be reckoned was in the making.
And when it made its first appearance in 1991, the accolades poured in. Everyone's highest hopes had been fulfilled. The NSX was a milestone exotic that was destined to achieve a niche all its own.
The NSX was discontinued in November 2005, but was later revived in 2016.
The NSX was designed to give Honda/Acura a technology and image leader. It featured a very advanced, mid-mounted 270-hp VTEC dohc V6. Other high-tech buzzwords included ABS, traction control, and aluminum chassis, body and suspension. The original idea was to provide Ferrari-like performance at Porsche prices. Its main competitors were the Porsche 911, Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1 and (on price, but not performance) the Mercedes-Benz SL320 convertible.
Over the years of its production, the only major changes have been price (up), color (more), the wheel/tire package (larger, lower profile), and the addition of an automatic transmission. By 1994, about 5000 have been sold. However, it was clear from news stories about angry NSX owners, complaining that the very high-performance tires wear out too quickly, that many buyers were unclear about the strengths and weaknesses of ultra-exotic sports cars. Those buyers would probably have been happier with more luxury and less temperament.
A total of 3,133 units were produced as 1991 models, and the first 1,119 were sold in 1990, then another 1,940 more in 1991, and the last 74 in early 1992.
No changes were made to the NSX for 1992, but a total of 1,271 units were produced, with the first 1,080 sold in 1992, and the last 191 units in 1993.
Only 608 units of the NSX were made as 1993 models. The first 461 were sold in 1993, and the last 147 in 1994.
The 1994 NSX was introduced in January 1994 with no changes. For this model year, only 512 units were produced as 1994 models, with the first 386 sold in 1994 and the last 126 in 1995.
Acura declined to offer any official description, but "new technology" was promised along with "two variations." An open-roof NSX, called the NSX-T, was assumed for the first time, along with more displacement to increase torque, and a fashionable 6-speed transaxle.
No one ever offered a Formula One race car-style semi-automatic transmission, adaptive (not active) suspension, carbon fiber or other advanced composites in a genuine production car, all of which were other possibilities for the 1995 model year.
The NSX-T was unveiled in January 1995, and it went on sale in March 1995. It featured a light (19-pound) metal removable roof panel along with a unique storage system that didn't compromise the standard car's meager luggage capacity or its interior space. The bodyside sills and front roof-rail section were reinforced to make up for the roof's loss of support if the panel was removed. The T consequently weighed 95 pounds more than the standard NSX.
A total of 780 units were produced as 1995 models, with the first 758 sold in 1995 and the remaining 22 in early 1996.
New for 1996 was the SportShift system. Similar to Porsche's Tiptronic automatic, the driver could choose to upshift or downshift the 4-speed automatic transmission manually by flicking a lever located near the steering wheel. The transmission operated as a conventional automatic as well. Additional changes included a drive-by-wire throttle-control system that would work the engine's throttle plate with an electric 2-way motor instead of a mechanical cable. The fuel injectors were new. The electrically controlled power-steering system continued, while the traction-control system was updated. On the 5-speed NSX, a special differential improved acceleration out of tight corners.
The all-aluminum car employed light-alloy forgings for the double-wishbone suspension, which would help to offset the weight of the leather-trimmed power seats, automatic climate control, cruise control, Acura/Bose stereo system and antitheft equipment.
The hardtop NSX returned in 1996. A total of 505 units were made as 1996 models. The first 438 were sold in 1996, followed by the remaining 67 models in 1997.
For 1997, the NSX flied the flag of performance. It was known as the best sports car ever built, winning countless accolades in the enthusiast press. From its all aluminum monocoque body to the 290-horsepower VTEC engine, with titanium connecting rods, the NSX was an engineering tour de force.
Unlike any other Acura vehicle, the NSX was completely designed, engineered and built by Acura's Research and Development group in Tochigi. The engineers who designed and developed it and the assembly technicians that were responsible for assembling it had all been hand-picked for their skill and dedication. Like the finest European exotics, each engine was completely assembled by a skilled technician. And each car was tested at maximum speed at Tochigi's high-banked oval track before being released for delivery.
A total of 338 models were made as 1997 models, all of them on sale within the 1997 calendar year.
The NSX remained unchanged for 1998. Although pricing was announced on November 10, 1997, it first went on sale in December, when the first 10 units were sold, then the remaining 235 models were sold in 1998.
The 1999 NSX went on sale in December 1998, with the first 68 models going on sale within that month. It was later replaced by the 2000 models as of September 29, 1999, with prices still unchanged.
|Model year(s)||List price||Destination charge||Effective date|
|1991||$61,000||$600||February 10, 1991|
|1992||$63,000||$600||February 9, 1992|
|1992||$65,000||$600||March 1, 1992|
|1994||$72,500||$700||January 1, 1994|
|1994||$73,300||$700||May 9, 1994|
|1995||$75,000||$725||March 7, 1995|
|$81,000 with targa top|
|1996||$79,500||$725||October 6, 1995|
|$83,500 with targa top|
|1997–1998||$84,000||$725||January 1, 1997|
|$88,000 with targa top|
|1999–2000||$84,000||$745||December 1, 1998|
|$88,000 with targa top|
|$88,100 with targa top|