NSX Generations changed the image of Honda from the moment they began in 1991, as the automaker was taking a bold step into the world of sports cars. The Acura NSX eventually became one of the best supercar designs out there.
The NSX went through different styles and iterations from the first generation, the releases in-between and the second one, which is still available today. In this guide, we will look at the different generations under the NSX, so let’s take a closer look.
What Is the Acura NSX Generations?
The Acura NSX generations, also known as Honda NSX in the international markets, is a range of two-seat mid-engine coupe sports cars. The car is manufactured by Honda, and the Model years were between 1991 to 2005 and 2016 to 2022.
The NSX started with the HP-X, which was the Honda Pininfarina eXperimental, which was made in 1984. It was a high-performance car powered by a 3.0-liter V6 engine with rear-wheel drive. The project was meant to exceed the performance of the Ferrari while remaining cheaper. Then, the name was changed to NSX, which stands for “New Sportscar eXperimental.”
The NSX was so iconic that the designer of the McLaren F1 supercar, Gordon Murray, used the car as the inspiration. This was because the NSX chassis had the best performance compared to the other cars he tested. He even tried to convince Honda to use a more powerful engine for the car, but they declined.
First Generation NSX 1991-2001
The 1991 Acura NSX has been praised as one of the iconic cars from Honda, and it was designed and developed by Ayrton Senna, a Formula 1 driver, and a team of motorsport engineers. The car was also the first all-aluminum body car with a mid-engine manufactured by Honda. It was produced between 1991 and 2001.
The 1991-2001 NSX is a car that came in two body types which are the 2-door coupe and 2-door targa top. It had a layout of rear-wheel drive and rear mid-engine. This generation included two engines, like the 181.7 cubic-inch 3.0-liter Honda C30A V6 and by 1997, it used a 194.0 cubic-inch 3.2-liter Honda C32B V6 engine.
It also came with either a 4-speed automatic, 5-speed manual or 6-speed manual. The 3.0-liter engine offered 270 horsepower and 210 pound-feet of torque, while the 3.2-liter model offered 290 horsepower and 224 pound-feet of torque. The car stood on a 99.6-inch wheelbase. Initially, the car was designed with a 2.0-liter V6 engine, but this was abandoned.
The exterior design of the car was inspired by an F-16 fighter jet’s cockpit. Other features of the car included the electric power steering system, the electronic throttle control fitted in 1995, the 4-channel anti-lock brake system, and the VTEC variable valve timing system.
Launch and Release
The 1991 NSX was first revealed at the 1989 Chicago Auto Show, although at this time, it was not fully ready for the production line. Later that year, it was also on the Tokyo Motor Show, and it received positive reviews from both events. The name was initially NS-X, but once it was available for dales, it was named NSX. It was first sold in Japan.
The NSX was called the first everyday supercar from Japan and was sold with the Acura badge in the US and Hong Kong. In the rest of the world, it had the Honda badge instead. The first generation of the Acura NSX ended in 2005, as there were other variations of the car from 2001 to 2005.
The 1992 NSX-R was one of the variations of the Acura NSX in the first generation. This version of the NSX was specifically modified for 3a better track performance rather than comfort, so it was a race-oriented car. Some equipment like the audio system, air conditioning system, sound deadening, traction control and spare tire were removed.
There were only 483 models of the NSX-R released, and it was for Japan. There were some optional features like the air conditioning, carbon fiber interior trim, Bose stereo system and a different exterior color. The 1995 NSX-T was another release, and it was a black car with a removable targa top available in Japan.
The main difference between the NSX-R and NSX is the front sway bar. The NSX-R has a stiffer front sway bar than the standard one.
Buyers in North America could get the NSX-T and could also order the car from Japan. The car was fitted with a hardtop configuration, front sway bars with a small diameter, soft rear springs, stiff front springs and firm shock dampers. By 1995, the car came with a 5-speed transmission for better drivability.
You might be asking what the ‘T’ in NSX-T stands for. The T stands for “Torn” because the roof was removed from the car. As for NSX, it stands for New Sports eXperimental.
The first-gen NSX went through its biggest performance upgrade globally in 1997. It was in this year that the engine was upgraded to a 3.2-liter with a thin fiber-reinforced metal cylinder liner and stainless steel exhaust manifold rather than cast iron. There was also the 1997 NSX Type S, which was the most expensive trim model.
By 2001, Honda released a facelifted NSX, which was sold under the Acura badge in North America. The Japanese carmaker improved the daily-driver sports car with technology and engineering skills. By the early 2000s, the 2001-2005 NSX replaced the pop-up headlights with HID lamps like every other carmaker was doing.
The new headlamps offered twice the lumen power. The company also extended and lowered the front bumper, which increased the downforce. Honda also added a new set of taillights and a lip spoiler, which was placed on the rear trunk lid. With these upgrades, the NSX also increased its top speed to 175 miles per hour.
There were also some premium features on the Acura NSX. It came with power-operated bolstered bucket seats and a leather-clad interior that offered the passengers a lot of comfort. There were added gauges for the ammeter and the oil pressure, but the layout was typical of Honda.
The mid-mounted engine on the NSX also increased the horsepower by 10, increasing its performance. Then, with the six-speed manual gearbox, it is able to go from 0 to 62 miles per hour in 5.8 seconds, which is 0.4 quicker than the previous NSX.
There was also the NSX-T which was released between 2001 and 2005. This model was the final push to the end of the first generation and came with the coupe and targa versions. On the NSX-T, drivers got a completely removable roof, and there was no fixed bar that was fixed in place even after removing the top panels.
The Acura NSX-T also came with fixed HID units for better lights on the road. The front bumper was also new, giving the driver a reduced air dam for lower drag and lift. The company also added a diffuser to the bumper, new taillights and a new spoiler to the back. The Acura also came with deluxe leather upholstery and sport bucket seats.
Buyers could also get the automatic transmission NSX-T, which came with paddle shifters at the back of the steering wheel. Car enthusiasts also expected an NSX-T with a V8 engine, but this never happened. Instead, the 2001 NSX-T kept the engine from the previous releases, offering automatic and manual transmissions. This also comes with 17-inch light-alloy wheels.
NSX and NSX-T were highly competitive between 2001 and 2005. These cars were well-liked for their diverse features and performance, especially since they came with upgrades from the 1991 to 2001 version.
Second Generation NSX 2016-2022
The second-gen Honda NSX or Acura NSX lasted between 2016 and 2021, while the Type S model was released by 2022. The car was a two-seater, mid-engine, all-wheel drive hybrid electric car. The aim of Honda was to make a car that could work in all driving conditions, including racetracks, highways, street driving, and high-performance driving.
The 2016 NSX was a mid-engine car with a short nose, and Honda redesigned the style to make it completely different. The car comes with an angular front fascia sporting slim LED headlights and an arched roofline for a unique look. The car also came with a pentagonal-shaped grille with broad side scoops.
Another new feature was the air intakes installed in front of the back wheel arches to cool the engine down and feed it with air. There were also LED taillights connected with a red strip. The sporty look of the exterior was combined with a luxurious interior. The car came with high-bolstered seats for comfort and a tall center console with buttons for the gearbox.
The hybrid car also came with a pair of electric motors that powered the front wheels, and a third motor with a turbocharged V6 engine was placed behind the cabin. The car was quick and fuel efficient. The car offered a maximum power output of 573 horsepower and 475 pound-feet of torque. It was one of the top electric vehicles released that time.
As for its performance, it could go from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 2.9 seconds and had an impressive top speed of 191 miles per hour. Buyers could purchase the car in eight different exterior colors, including the popular Long Beach Blue, and two-wheel designs.
Launch and Release
The 2016 NSX was first announced in December 2014, and the plan was that it would debut at the 2015 North American International Auto Show. By the summer of 2015, Honda was taking orders for the car. The price in North America was pretty high, starting at $156,000. The first production of the NSX was auctioned up at $1.2 million.
The second-gen NSX was produced at the Performance Manufacturing Center in Ohio, which is an assembly plant that was specifically built for the car. Due to poor sales, the NSX was discontinued in 2020 in Japan, Europe and Australia. Only three units were sold in 2019 and 2020. By 2021, they only produced the Type S variant.
Updates and Variants
For the 2019 NSX, Honda made some improvements to the cars. The company added stabilizer bars in the front and rear, which made the car stiffer. There were also new tires, standard and optional. Due to this, the company had to make some changes to its software. Honda also offered new color options.
Acura NSX Type S was a limited-production model that marked the final year of production of the car. There were only 350 units, 300 of which were available in the United States. There were different updates to the car, including the maximum power output of 602 horsepower and 492 pound-feet of torque.
With this article on NSX Generations, you now understand the different generations, variants and types of the Honda/Acura NSX.
Here’s a summary of what we looked at in this guide:
- The NSX is a two-seat car manufactured by Honda from 1991 to 2005 and from 2016 to 2022.
- The first generation lasted from 1991 to 2001, and then from 2001 to 2005, and is the first mass-produced car with an all-aluminum body.
- The second gen NSX was offered from 2016 to 2021, and Type S was released in 2022 as a limited option.
You can still purchase the NSX in the second-hand market since it was discontinued in 2022. It’s important to check the condition of the car before you purchase it for a great driving experience.
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