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The Acura NSX is the only supercar from the Acura brand. However, others in the lineup, e.g., the Acura TLX and Acura MDX, have meanings behind the second part of their names. TLX, for instance, means touring luxury eXecutive. So, what do the letters NSX in the Acura NSX stand for?

History of the Acura NSX

The Acura NSX first appeared at the 1989 Chicago Auto Show. However, after testing it out on the Suzuka Race Track, Formula 1 driver and champion Ayrton Senna described it as nimble but fragile. It had an all-aluminum body and a 3.0-liter mid-body V6 engine and would officially hit the market for the 1991 model year.

According to AutoEvolution, the V6 that came with the 1991 NSX produced 270 hp and 210 lb-ft of torque, with the car having a two-door coupe-style body. The engine was also paired with a five-speed manual. A four-speed automatic was later introduced and combined with the engine to put out 252 horsepower.

In 1997, a 3.2-liter V6 capable of 290 hp was added to the NSX lineup. In 2002, on the other hand, the supercar got a facelift with the front bumper and tail end of the car modified to give it more downforce.

Also worth noting is that while it was sold as the Acura NSX in the U.S., to the rest of the world, it was a Honda NSX.

The first generation was officially discontinued in 2005. As for the second, it popped up as a concept in 2012 at the North American International Auto Show and would appear again in 2015 before officially going on sale in 2016.

What NSX stands for

NSX-branded seating in the cabin of a 2022 Acura NSX Type S performance sports car model
Acura NSX seating | Acura

When the Acura NSX first appeared, the three letters at the end of its name meant New Sportscar eXperimental. BetweenTheAxles even notes that it was spelled NS-X in 1989, although the hyphen was dropped by 1991. Given it was Honda and Acura’s first all-aluminum body car, it’s understandable why it was “experimental.” The aluminum body made it significantly lighter and, in the process, improved its speed.

However, by the time the second-generation 2017 model hit the market, the company had changed the meaning to New Sports eXperience. After all, the experiment was over.

The current state of the Acura NSX

Having been reintroduced for the 2017 model year after a 12-year absence, the new Acura NSX came with a twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 and a set of three electric motors. These were paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission, with the setup producing a whopping 573 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque.

Instead of the rear-wheel-drive system available in the previous generation, this was an all-wheel drive model. The sports car had a 191-mph top speed and 3.6-second 0-62 mph acceleration, putting it well into modern supercar territory.

Acura replicated this same setup in the 2018 to 2021 models. However, the Acura NSX is set to be retired after the 2022 model year. The automaker also made a limited-production Acura NSX Type S for its final year. Instead of the usual 573 hp, these models could make up to 600 hp and 492 hp. Outside of a few remaining 2022 models at dealerships, you can only find NSX models used.

For the 2023 model year, there are no supercars on Acura’s lineup. Instead, there’s the Acura Integra, Acura TLX, Acura RDX, and Acura MDX, although there are also some type S variants with improved performance.

The Acura Integra Type S, for instance, should hit the market in 2023, and while the normal Integra produces 200 hp, the type S will be capable of over 300 hp, according to an Acura press release. The Acura ZDX Type S, Acura’s first BEV (battery-electric vehicle), is also set to arrive in 2024.

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