Probably one of the easiest sports car – nay, supercars! – to drive, the 1990 Acura NSX, just like all other Acura products, was sold under the Honda badge everywhere but in North America. Clearly inspired by the all-aluminum 1986 MG EX-E concept car, the Acura NSX took the supercar breed to the next level by removing almost all its faults, something that may or may not have been a good idea. It’s incredibly stiff, aluminum monocoque chassis, combined with double wishbone suspension all around gave it superb handling, and its five-speed manual transmission was simply a joy to use. The seating position was also incredible. The only place were Honda may have erred, and this is a matter of taste, is in the styling. Many thought it bland.
Being a race-inspired manufacturer, it’s not surprising that Honda put a lot of effort in the NSX’s engine. It was a state of the art 3-liter V6 with quad-cams, four valves per cylinder and variable valve timing and lift, which allowed it to have plenty of low end torque and still rev up to a barnstorming 8,000 RPM. It produced 274 of the smoothest horsepower you’ve ever felt. The NSX was appropriately fast, too: 164 miles per hour top speed, and 5.9 seconds to 60 mph.
On a personal note, I’ve driven an Acura NSX, once. A 1996 model if memory serves. It’s an experience like few others, unless you’re a regular driver of Ferraris, Porsches and Lamborghinis. Then it’ll be merely awesome.
While it wasn’t appreciated at the time, the 1990 Acura NSX heralded a whole new way of thinking about supercars and performance, one that didn’t require being on a first name basis with your mechanic. Many thought that the lack of flaws took away some of the car’s character, but in fact it changed how people think their performance cars should be.