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2005 Sexy Car  Buyer's Guide

2005 Acura NSX Review

by Martha Hindes

Acura NSX
Acura NSX

When speaking of sexy, sometimes time-tested is better. Call it the Demi Moore effect that can tantalize a fresh-faced suitor with sophistication, longevity and smashing good looks.

The brand name "Acura" may suggest accuracy, a stellar quality when dealing with such precise concepts as vehicle engines, horsepower and torque, exact tolerances, zero to 60. But adding the longstanding NSX nameplate takes the designation to the pinnacle. While other Acura branded vehicles may rely on more subtle appeal, the NSX is simply brash in an enigmatic way, rather like the brazen, no apologies sensuality actress Angelina Jolie is noted for.

We include NSX for its lasting lure that, despite teenaged status, remains a sought-after icon among die-hard Acura fans. In the $90K-plus price range, we call it an Exotic for a specifically targeted, high-end buyer. The manufacturer calls it the "supercar" that remains a foundation of everything Acura.

Think of the NSX as a highly charged, long-lived concept. It's the "benchmark" against which all other Acuras are measured, say company executives. A sleek, mid-engine design, with a growling, road devouring demeanor, it remains as head turning as when first introduced in the early '90s, with looks that show no hint of losing their magnetic attraction.

Unlike some other supercars, ultra-high horsepower doesn't dominate NSX. Instead, for 2005, two distinctly different "mid-ship" engines, an all-aluminum, 3.2-liter 290-horsepower six-speed manual V6 and a 3.0-liter 252-horsepower Sequential SportShift automatic power it. There are no V8s in sight. That's not surprising since Acura's parent, the Japanese auto maker Honda with heavy-duty racing credentials, is known for pulling exceptional power out of small engines.

For a motion-when-standing-still look there's a sculptured, wedge-shaped, all-aluminum chassis, integrated rear spoiler and airfoil, mesh side air intakes, aggressive exhaust tips and redesigned tail lamps. The roof panel comes off for open-air driving. Among high tech underpinnings are Acura's VTEC induction system, advanced braking and traction control, lightweight composites and a computerized fuel injection system pioneered in Formula One racing. Performance-wise, the super high performance tires, mid-engine balance and lack of weight were designed to make it excel.

For comfort and security there's keyless entry, theft deterrent with electronic immobilizer, premium Bose sound system and advanced airbags. For pure visual power, the interior with hand-stitched leather is designed to "evoke the image of a jet fighter cockpit." We don't think of the NSX as Top Gun tarmac ready, but for true devotees it could seem so.


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