What's New for 1997
The six-speed 1997 Acura NSX comes to us this year with a larger 3.2-liter V6 engine that makes 290 ponies. Automatic NSXs continue with the 3.0-liter, 252-horse V6.
Since its 1991 introduction, the Acura NSX has been heralded by much of the motoring press as the best sports car ever produced. Certainly, with its 24-valve V6 engine, all-aluminum body, mid-engine layout and traditionally Honda-correct ergonomics, the NSX is a heckuva car. But the best sports car ever made? We're not too sure about that.
First, there is the issue of the NSX's ability to keep up with the best sports cars in the world. Sure, it handles well, but its acceleration figures barely matched that of American muscle cars like the Chevrolet Camaro Z28 and the Pontiac Trans Am. To answer critics who claimed that the NSX lacks the gusto of a true supercar, Acura increased the NSX's displacement to 3.2-liters and added a six-speed manual transmission. (Models equipped with an automaitc transmission make due with the previous 3.0-liter engine.) The new engine cranks out 290-horsepower and moves the car to 60 mph in about five seconds.
The second issue has had to due with the Acura's prohibitive price. Retailing for $84,000, the NSX is not a bargain, and is dangerously close in price to the Dodge Viper and the Porsche 911 Carerra. Additionally, a redesigned Corvette, and new roadsters from BMW, Porsche, and Mercedes-Benz, are available for roughly half of the price of the NSX.
While the future of the NSX is not certain, we think that it is a car worth considering. Its revitalized powerplant makes it more appealing for those desiring a supercar, while its livable interior and excellent ergonomics make it practical enough to live with on a day-to-day basis.