Acura plunged into the supercar market in 1991, introducing the mid-engine NSX at a time that the company's engine dominated Formula One racing. Facing Ferrari fortnightly on the world's race tracks emboldened Honda to challenge the fabled sports car builder in showrooms, with a car styled to look like a sanitized interpretation of a Maranello machine.
A decade later the 2001 NSX was unchanged from its introduction, as if trapped in amber and preserved for later study. The flat, angular exterior styling, influenced by the Lotus Esprit of the mid-'70s looked even more dated in the 21st century than it had earlier.
This year’s model
Honda has tantalized us for a few years with rumors of a V-8-powered NSX replacement, but when the revised 2002 model debuted at the Tokyo Motor Show last fall, the old warhorse had received a nose job and tail tuck. The automotive equivalent of Lasik surgery upgraded the old car's out-of-vogue pop-up halogen headlights with some stylish fixed high-intensity-discharge beams. As always, the HID lights are a dramatic improvement.