2001 Acura NSX/NSX-T -- Body & Interior
A rigid structure is of paramount importance in a performance car. High rigidity provides a stable platform for proper suspension geometry and alignment, and it makes possible a tight, rattle-free interior. Additionally, central to the goal of performance is a favorable power-to-weight ratio, which was improved by 30 percent with the 3.2-liter V-6. As a rule, a very light car can achieve high performance levels with less horsepower. After an intensive research effort, it was determined that the most efficient way to meet the rigidity and weight targets for the NSX was to build the body exclusively of aluminum.
Using a Cray supercomputer, the engineers performed millions of Finite Element Modeling (FEM) and stress analysis calculations. The result of this research and development effort is a chassis that weighs 462 lb (210 kg) with doors, hood and deck lids installed -- about 40 percent less than a steel chassis, but with the same rigidity and impact protection. The NSX structure is significantly stiffer than most other competitors currently on the market.
Key body parts are made with a newly developed 6000 series aluminum alloy that is up to 50 percent stronger than the previous aluminum alloy, thus requiring less material to perform effectively. This thinner, lighter-weight material is used in making the doors, fenders, and front and rear deck lids, among other key parts of the NSX. For example, by using this high-strength alloy, thinner door skin material netted a 4.9 lb (2.2 kg) weight reduction without any sacrifice in strength.
NSX-T BODY REINFORCEMENTS
To maintain high rigidity in the body, even with the roof panel of the NSX-T removed, extensive reinforcement measures are employed throughout the body. Required reinforcement includes a side sill aluminum-extrusion design that involves significantly thicker wall sections. Other reinforced areas include the base of the B-pillar where it joins the rocker panel, a larger rear bulkhead crossbar and a thicker trunk leading-edge panel. In addition, thicker wall sections can be found in a reinforcement web in the rear floor cross member, and there's an additional rib in the center rear bulkhead section, a redesigned and thicker walled rear roof-rail section and a redesigned front roof-rail section with increased wall thickness. More reinforcements include a completely redesigned and thicker upper A-pillar, a redesigned and thicker upper-dashboard cross-member and a redesigned front lower floor section with increased wall thickness.
EXTRUDED ALUMINUM SIDE SILLS
To attain a structure of high rigidity, complex aluminum extrusions were used for the crucial side sills of the unit body. These extrusions, with their carefully braced internal structure contribute to the extremely high torsional stiffness of the NSX.
The removable top is made of aluminum for light weight and durability. The roof panel is body-colored and is easily removed by means of two latches located on the left and right side. Its light 8.5 kg weight makes it easy to remove and stow. A dash-indicator light alerts the driver if the latches are not properly closed. Once removed, the panel is stored under the rear glass hatch and the hatch can be locked with a key for security. Since the top has its own storage compartment, it doesn't use any of the available trunk or interior space. In addition, the vehicle security system functions with the top removed as well as in place, sensing any intrusion.
RADIUS FRONT FRAME RAILS
To help maximize occupant protection, the front frame rails of the unit body are designed with large-radius curves where they meet the passenger cabin. This design helps to dissipate energy in the event of a collision, spreading out impact loads and diverting them under the passenger cell.
CONCEPT AND GOALS
The objective was to create an interior that was the sports car equivalent of a jet fighter pilot's helmet. The key elements of this concept were unlimited visibility, a feeling of snugness or intimacy with the interior of the vehicle and the sense that the cockpit and driver were out in the airstream rather than enclosed and isolated from the environment. To achieve this feeling, the seating space for the driver and passenger was designed to fit snugly at the hips and flow outward and upward to provide ample space for the head and shoulders.
SEATING POSITION AND VISIBILITY
A low seating position contributes to a low center of gravity and helps to reduce the vehicle's frontal area for improved aerodynamics. Ordinarily, a low hip-point would impart to the driver the feeling of being buried in the interior and could lead to a claustrophobic feeling. To avoid this, the body engineers created a very low cowl section, which allowed them to lower the height of the dash and instrument panel. The low cowl also enhances forward visibility.
INSTRUMENTATION AND CONTROLS
In designing the instrument panel, the approach was one of simplicity. Since the primary function of the instruments is to relay information as clearly and quickly as possible, the designers opted for a traditional analog execution. The instrument faces are round with white numerals on a black background. The instrument panel is dominated by the tachometer on the left and the speedometer on the right. To the left of the tach are the smaller water temperature and oil pressure gauges. To the right of the speedometer are the fuel gauge and voltmeter.
All the major controls are clustered around the steering wheel column to make them easy to reach.
NSX-T WIND PROTECTION
The windshield header of the NSX-T has a special aerodynamic design that directs the airstream up and over the passenger compartment to minimize wind buffeting at speed. The NSX-T is also equipped with smaller sun visors to enhance visibility.
The NSX and NSX-T use special highly efficient UV-absorbing green glass to help keep the effects of solar loading on interior temperatures at a minimum in hot weather.
DUAL AIR BAG SUPPLEMENTAL RESTRAINT SYSTEM (SRS) WITH AUTOMATIC
SEAT BELT PRETENSIONERS
The NSX is equipped with driver's and passenger's Supplemental Restraint System (SRS) air bags, which are intended to supplement the seat belts. In conjunction with these, the NSX features automatic seat belt pretensioners that use the same impact sensors as the air bags. The belt tensioners are activated simultaneously with the air bags, causing each belt to retract to help restrain the occupants in the event of a moderate to severe frontal collision.
PERFORATED LEATHER-TRIMMED UPHOLSTERY
The NSX's perforated leather upholstery enhances ventilation for greater comfort, particularly in warmer climates. Hand-stitched and hand-fitted to the seat facings, door inserts, steering wheel and shift knob, the handsome perforated leather is a natural complement to the businesslike ambiance of the NSX's interior.
AUTOMATIC CLIMATE CONTROL SYSTEM
A compact Automatic Climate Control System has been developed specifically for the NSX. This is a fully automatic system, but the automatic function can be overridden, and the system can be used in a fully manual mode. The system uses non-CFC R-134A refrigerant.
ACURA/BOSE MUSIC SYSTEM
Bose engineers became involved with the NSX sound system at an early stage of the car's interior design. This four-speaker system was designed and calibrated specifically for the unique acoustics and resonances of the NSX interior and provides the highest quality imaging and spatial dynamics for both the driver and the passenger.
The Acura/Bose Music System speakers are precisely aimed so that the pressure wave of the speaker closest to each occupant does not overpower the pressure wave from the speaker that is farthest away. This produces a balanced sound from each speaker, and the net result is true stereo performance. A subwoofer is cleverly located in front of the passenger footwell, while a full range is mounted between the seats at shoulder level.
The AM/FM stereo with cassette features Dolby Noise Reduction and an FM diversity antenna system. The auto preset function will automatically lock on eight strong AM and eight strong FM stations and store them into the preset selector buttons. An optional CD changer is available.
A sophisticated alarm system is standard equipment on the NSX. If an unauthorized attempt is made to enter or start the NSX, the horn sounds, the flashers are activated and the starter system is disabled. The system automatically arms 15 seconds after the doors are locked and is disarmed when a door is unlocked with the key. The system will operate even with the removable roof panel removed from the car.
A special electronically coded key prevents the car from being started, even if a mechanical duplicate of the proper key shape is used. A transponder built into the key signals the immobilizer control unit that the key is genuine. If the car is hot-wired, or an unauthorized key is used, it simply will not start. This system is a substantial deterrent to theft. In New Jersey, for example, insurance premiums have been reduced as much as 15 percent when such a system is used.