Facebook Twitter

ACURA NSX DELIVERS PERFORMANCE AND LOOKS - SO WHAT’S PROBLEM?

SHARE ACURA NSX DELIVERS PERFORMANCE AND LOOKS - SO WHAT’S PROBLEM?

So you want to drive an Acura NSX? Well, be forewarned. The car's not easy to deal with.

Oh, there's no problem with performance. No, siree! The double overhead cam 3-liter V-6, located amidships, delivers 270 horsepower at 7,100 rpm and moves the 3,010-pound, aluminum-body two-seater along right smartly - 0-60 in just over 5 seconds and it seems like less.The standard 5-speed manual is smooth, quick and easy. The road feel is intimate. Your whole body knows when you hit a pothole, but the little devil also seems to know where you want it to go even before you turn the leather-covered steering wheel - and it goes there.

The four-wheel, antilock braking system wasn't challenged by any test that city streets or police-patrolled highways could offer.

We weren't a sports car family when the NSX came to visit us for a week. And we're still not. Most of our driving is around town. The NSX handled that just fine. It's not temperamental at all on crowded expressways, and it didn't mind a bit being asked to putt around the suburbs on the weekend, doing errands. Clearly, though, that's not what this car was built for and it seemed a bit of a waste to use it that way.

But the NSX showed us why many people love sports cars. When my wife and I did get a chance to put it through some of its paces, it showed us what it's like to become virtually one with a vehicle and to have it perform almost like an extension of your body. It was a very exhilarating experience.

The car is EPA-rated 19 city, 24 highway with the 5-speed manual; just 1 mph less in city driving with the 4-speed automatic that you don't want anyway. It carries 18.5 gallons, which gives a very serviceable cruising range.

Of course, there are some little quibbles. I didn't have to change a tire. And after reading the instructions for the "folding" spare, I was darn glad I didn't.

While the traction control worked fine at keeping the car going straight, we found the rear wheels had a tendency to break loose when we tried to do 45-degree turns at much more than 50 mph. But that's probably just because we're not good enough drivers to handle such a hot car absolutely professionally.

The problem wasn't comfort, either. The NSX is very long on creature comforts, even by sedan standards. The ride is harder because it has to be. But the leather, power-adjusted seats were very comfortable. The car's interior was quiet on the road under all conditions. Visibility was quite good for the design, with no major blind spots.

The audio system was outstanding and all the pieces, as befits a car that's largely handmade, fit together tightly and worked easily. The architecture of the instrumentation and the controls was fine. There were no problems working anything; no distractions that would be magnified at high speed.

Price might be a problem. If you're even considering a car of this type, you're probably thinking of spending a lot more than the $65,000 (plus destination charge) that's on the bottom of the NSX sticker. Of course, a seller's market is at work here so you may wind up paying more.

The real "problem" with this car is living up to its image. Frankly, you'd better be something of an exhibitionist if you drive one.

Ours was red - but RED! - with a black top. It sits just 46.1 inches off the ground, and the only word to describe its overall appearance is "sexy."

Teenage boys literally hung out the windows of cars we passed, drooling over the NSX.

Grown men stared and pointed at the car. When my wife drove it, she found that a plus. She said she hasn't been stared at by men that much in years.

When I drove the car into a service station to fill it up, two middle-aged, middle-class guys literally ran out to the pump to look at the NSX, touch it and ask what it was like to drive. They thought it was a Ferrari when it rolled in.

In short, besides being a dynamite sports car, usable for normal transportation and boasting a relatively reasonable price tag, we found the NSX to be a phenomenon. It excites people and draws attention like a magnet. When you drive it, people notice you - big time.

You say that's not a problem for you? Then this just might be your car.