2000 Acura Integra -- Structure

The goals for the Acura Integra structure were to provide a strong, rigid platform to ensure a long, durable service life, create a stable base for the suspension, provide carefully designed front and rear crumple zones to minimize cabin intrusion in a collision and ensure very tight tolerances to help provide the occupants with a quiet, vibration-free environment.

Another goal was to shift as much of the mass to the center of the vehicle as possible to enhance transient response and handling. Other considerations included the creation of a large greenhouse to maximize front and rear visibility, creating a large cabin that provides ample room while making the cabin intimate to enhance the feeling of a sports-oriented coupe and sedan.

The aerodynamic goal for the Integra was to achieve a balance of forces that include moderate downforce at the rear, low turbulence, minimal wind roar in crucial areas such as the windows, excellent flow-through ventilation and to provide optimum resistance to crosswinds while maintaining a low drag coefficient. This was achieved by extensive computer modeling, using the Cray supercomputer and wind-tunnel testing with scale models, mockups and prototype vehicle bodies. One important detail of the aerodynamic package is the one-piece, integral bumper assembly. This unit not only gives the Integra a clean, modern appearance, but its flowing, one-piece construction eliminates gaps between the bumper and the body that tend to produce turbulence and disrupt laminar airflow over the hood. The Integra has a drag coefficient of 0.33 and a lift coefficient of 0.10.

To enhance corrosion protection, virtually every panel of the Integra is constructed of double-sided galvanized steel. The only significant panel that does not use galvanized steel is the roof. After assembly, the body in white is treated to an electro-deposition process that bonds a rust-inhibiting primer coating to the metal. Electro-deposition draws this coating into minute crevices, helping to ensure a barrier against rust-producing moisture. A moisture-resistant wax is also injected into hidden body cavities, to help prevent corrosion that might otherwise form from condensation.

Rigidity clearly has an impact on a number of critical areas. Any suspension, for instance, no matter how finely calibrated or advanced in design, will fail to perform properly if the body flexes and bends under loading. Rigidity also contributes significantly to crash protection and reduction of vibration and exterior noise and to the build quality perceived in areas like the small gaps between panels and openings.

The use of a one-piece integral front bumper accomplishes a number of objectives. In addition to providing a clean, modern and aerodynamic appearance, it reduces the number of components and the weight of the front facias, enhances the anticorrosion performance of the entire front end, resists minor dents and flying debris better and, in case of a minor collision, helps reduce damage that might otherwise be transmitted to the front fenders.

The choice of polypropylene for front and rear bumper material was made based on its properties of resilience to minor damage and because of the material's inherent recyclability. Due to the unique formulation of pigments and medium, the painted bumper resists the fading that was commonly associated with synthetic plastic bumpers. The front and rear bumpers of the Integra resist damage up to a 5-mph collision.

One of the design priorities of the body was to provide the driver with as much visibility as possible. As a result of extensive engineering, which was able to create thin but strong pillars, and a compact engine, which contributes to a low cowl, the Sports Coupe offers 298.9 degrees of visibility while the Sports Sedan offers 306.3 degrees of visibility.

The Integra Sports Coupe uses a pin-guide sash system for the door glass. A pin, which is bonded to the rear inside edge of the door glass, slides in a channel designed into the window sash. The pin holds the window captive against the sash and forms a tight seal to enhance the rigidity of the glass and resist the negative air pressure that builds up at the side of the vehicle at high road speeds. The system also allows tighter tolerances between the glass and the moulding and contributes to better aerodynamics and reduced levels of wind noise.

In order to maximize interior head room, the Integra features a moon roof that slides back and out of the roof surface. Unlike conventional sunroof configurations that slide into a receptacle in the roof, this unit takes up less head room. The glass moon roof also features a convenient sliding sunshade.

A key element of the Integra styling is the signature separated four-headlight design. The individual lights have a near-flush look, improving styling and smoothing aerodynamic flow over the front bumper.

To enhance illumination and give the Integra a modern look, the engineers specified projector beam lamps for low-beam use. Compared to conventional units, these lamps reach 13 feet farther and illuminate an area 20 percent greater, while the high beams, which use improved halogen lamp technology, reach 125 feet farther and illuminate an area 2.5 times greater.

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