Available in two distinct models-the sporty RSX and the high-performance RSX Type-S-this sports coupe ideally complements the Acura line-up of precision-crafted luxury performance vehicles. With their high-performance engines, abundant luxury features, advanced safety and security systems, and innovative cockpit and body designs, the 2003 RSX and RSX Type-S set a bold standard of driving excitement and refinement in the sports coupe class.
Boasting more power and luxury than the Integra, which it replaced, the RSX is designed for well-informed, youthful driving enthusiasts seeking advanced style and superior performance.
In keeping with the engineering team's goal of delivering a race-bred driving experience, the RSX is equipped with a next-generation, 16-valve, DOHC 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that uses Acura's i-VTEC "intelligent" valve-control system. The i-VTEC system contributes to an impressive 160 horsepower at 6500 rpm while also enhancing fuel efficiency and emissions control. The RSX features either a 5-speed manual transmission or an available 5-speed Sequential SportShift automatic transmission.
The RSX Type-S is powered by a high-output version of the DOHC 2.0-liter engine that incorporates an even higher-performance i-VTEC system-helping to produce a remarkable 100 horsepower per liter (200 horsepower @ 7400 rpm). As the ideal complement to this high-tech powerplant, the RSX Type-S comes exclusively with a close-ratio, 6-speed, short-throw manual transmission.
To meet the demands of today's discriminating drivers, both RSX models boast a sport-tuned suspension system. This suspension delivers precise handling combined with excellent grip, a smooth, controlled ride, and reassuring stability. The RSX features a state-of-the-art Control-Link MacPherson Strut front suspension that greatly enhances cornering performance while also improving interior room. At the rear, the RSX features a compact double-wishbone system that helps deliver quick, confident handling and a smooth, compliant ride. On the extra-potent RSX Type-S, the suspension is optimized with firmer rear springs and dampers for even greater responsiveness and road feel.
The 2003 RSX is equipped with 10.3-inch ventilated discs in front and 10.2-inch solid discs at the rear as well as standard an Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) to help ensure controlled, secure stops. To match its additional performance capabilities, the Type-S uses larger 11.8-inch ventilated front discs. Each RSX model wears beefy 205/55R16 Michelin MXM4 all-season high-performance tires on 16-inch, five-spoke alloy wheels.
Building on its decidedly enthusiast-oriented theme, the RSX features a dynamic, "driver-tuned" cockpit. Large-diameter, metallic-face analog gauges with a backlit design are grouped in a pod that sits in the center of the instrument panel. A small-diameter, three-spoke leather-wrapped sport steering wheel is standard. Carefully chosen, high-quality materials enhance the cabin's sporty feel while also providing a warm, inviting ambiance. Deeply sculptured seats offer support during enthusiastic driving as well as comfort. Ample head- and legroom ensure a comfortable ride for both front and rear passengers, while a generous cargo area (with 50/50 fold-down rear seats) delivers ample storage. Standard safety features include dual front and side-impact air bags, dual seatbelt pretensioners on both front seats, and advanced occupant detection system for the passenger's side air bag.
The fully featured RSX is also designed to provide an upscale driving environment. Standard features on both models include an Automatic Climate Control System, a keyless entry system with anti-theft engine immobilizer, power mirrors, power moonroof and power windows with an auto-up/down feature on the driver's window. RSX seats are trimmed in standard cloth and simulated suede. Hand-selected, perforated leather seating surfaces are available on the RSX and are standard on the RSX Type-S. The RSX is equipped with a powerful six-speaker music system with in-dash CD player. The RSX Type-S features an even more impressive Acura/Bose® Music System, which includes an in-dash 6-disc CD changer, cassette player, and, in the cargo area, a new Bose Richbass™ woofer for impressive bass response.
The exterior design of the RSX is as pleasing to the wind tunnel as it is to passers-by. A new five-sided grille, integrated headlights and integrated taillights reinforce the "Acura family look" of the RSX, while thin roof pillars, astutely shaped body panels, and curved window glass provide exceptional visibility and excellent aerodynamics.
CONCEPTS AND GOALS
The 2003 model year RSX is designed to provide:
- A highly dynamic and sophisticated, race-bred driving experience
- Outstanding horsepower, fuel efficiency, and low emissions
- Crisp, enthusiast-tuned handling response with a smooth and secure ride
- Sleek, contemporary styling in a lean yet roomy package
- A spacious, driver-oriented cockpit combining sporty materials with a comprehensive array of luxury amenities
- The latest safety technology-including state-of-the-art impact management and technologically advanced front and side air bag systems
- An overall blend of performance, refinement, and features that sets a new standard in the sport coupe segment
HIGH PERFORMANCE POWERTRAIN
The RSX is powered by two variants of an innovative, 16-valve, DOHC, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine utilizing the first U.S. application of Acura's i-VTEC valve-control system. i-VTEC incorporates VTC (Variable Timing Control) to continuously adjust intake-camshaft phase in concert with Acura's Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control (VTEC) system-enhancing performance, and fuel efficiency, while reducing emissions across a broad power band. The i-VTEC system in the Acura RSX utilizes VTC and VTEC on the intake valves and camshaft to help generate a stout 160 horsepower at 6500 rpm and 141 lb-ft. of torque at 4000 rpm. On the high-performance RSX Type-S engine, i-VTEC combines VTC intake phasing with VTEC intake and exhaust valve control to help produce a robust 200 horsepower at 7400 rpm and 142 lb-ft. of torque at 6000 rpm.
Both the RSX and the RSX Type-S meet the strict Low Emission Vehicle-II (LEV-II) standards adopted by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) for 2004.
The 160-horsepower RSX engine drives the front wheels through a choice of two state-of-the-art transmissions: a smooth-shifting, five-speed manual that provides excellent control during spirited driving, or an optional 5-speed automatic transmission equipped with Acura's Sequential SportShift system. The SportShift concept first appeared on the Acura NSX exotic sports car . It was subsequently applied to the Acura CL and TL and now to the RSX. The SportShift transmission operates as an automatic or puts gear selection in the hands of the driver, much like a manual transmission.
By moving the console-mounted shifter to the left of the "Drive" position into a special SportShift gate, upshifts and downshifts can be commanded with a quick fore or aft motion. Gear selection in SportShift mode is indicated by an LED display located between the speedometer and tachometer. If the driver prefers, the transmission also offers the fully automated shifting convenience of a conventional automatic. Additionally, the transmission is equipped with a Grade Logic Control system for enhanced shifting smoothness and reduced gear "hunting" when climbing or descending steep grades in automatic mode.
In keeping with its high-performance mission, the RSX Type-S is available exclusively with a 6-speed manual transmission. Designed to be exceptionally compact and lightweight, this brand-new 6-speed has also been engineered to shift with extremely short and precise throws. The transmission also incorporates multi-cone synchronizers for outstanding feel. Additionally, the Type-S includes a short-throw clutch with a new torsion mechanism that considerably reduces noise.
GLOBAL COMPACT PLATFORM
To achieve both a sleek exterior and a roomy cabin, the RSX is built on the Global Compact Platform-with a 4-wheel independent suspension system. Up front, the RSX features a compact Control-Link MacPherson Strut suspension for outstanding handling, ride and packaging. Moreover, the Control-Link MacPherson Strut design delivers quick, responsive handling by helping to maximize each front tire's contact with the road throughout the range of suspension travel. In the rear, the RSX is equipped with a compact double-wishbone suspension that helps provide a smoother ride, improved handling, and additional cargo space.
Large disc brakes at each wheel help deliver exceptional stopping power. In front, the RSX uses 10.3-inch ventilated discs, while the high-performance Type-S gets 11.8-inch ventilated discs. Both the RSX and the RSX Type-S feature 10.2-inch rotors at the rear.
The solid unit body of the RSX was designed from the outset to set a new standard for torsional and bending rigidity. Thanks to extensive computer analysis using NASTRAN analysis, the structure of the RSX exhibits 35 percent higher bending rigidity and stiffness and a 116 percent improvement in torsional rigidity compared with the Integra, the car it replaced. In addition, extensive use of noise insulation and reductions in idling vibrations make the RSX's cockpit substantially quieter than that of the Integra.
The RSX platform has been computer-designed to achieve a 5-star NCAP rating for frontal impact by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Specially designed crumple zones in the front and rear help dissipate impact forces before they can intrude on the passenger cabin, while impact-absorbing pads in the pillars, roof sides, and door linings work in conjunction with the standard front and side air bags to help minimize the chance of occupant injury.
SPACIOUS AND STYLISH COCKPIT
Despite its 101.2-inch wheelbase, the RSX provides generous room for both passengers and cargo-thanks in part to its compact suspension system and cab-forward design. With the rear seats up, the cargo area offers 16 cubic feet of cargo space.
The driver-oriented cockpit features a sleek instrument panel with large, metallic-face gauges that are backlit in red for easy night time visibility. Both models feature deeply bolstered seats and a small-diameter, three-spoke, leather-wrapped steering wheel for an unmistakable "driver's-car" feel. Handsome, suede-like material with patterned-cloth center inserts is standard on the RSX while perforated, hand-selected leather is available as an option. Perforated leather is standard on the RSX Type-S.
STANDARD LUXURY FEATURES
Like all Acura models, the RSX is comprehensively equipped. Standard equipment includes an Automatic Climate Control system with air filtration, a keyless entry and security system with anti-theft engine immobilizer, power windows with an "auto-up/down" feature for the driver's window, power door mirrors, and intermittent wipers. In addition, the RSX boasts a standard 6-speaker audio system with in-dash CD player, while the RSX Type-S features an even more impressive 7-speaker Acura/Bose® Music System with 6-disc in-dash CD changer and cassette player.
SPORTY AND AERODYNAMIC EXTERIOR DESIGN
Thanks to a gently tapered body-side panels and curved door and quarter-panel glass, the RSX is the most aerodynamic coupe in its class. In addition, the RSX's coefficient of lift is minimized for maximum high-speed stability.
The RSX features combination headlights, flush-fitting door handles, and neatly integrated taillights for a fluid, refined look. The 2003 RSX is available in eight exterior colors: Taffeta White (RSX only), Nighthawk Black, Redondo Red Pearl, Satin Silver Metallic, Desert Silver Metallic, Eternal Blue Pearl (RSX only), Premium White Pearl (Type-S only), and Arctic Blue Pearl (Type-S only).