Acura today unveiled its most exclusive, best handling and quickest model ever at the 1998 Miami International Auto Show. The 1999 Alex Zanardi Edition NSX takes Acura's all aluminum exotic sports car to new levels of excitement with this signature series model that features a number of distinctive features, including revised suspension and exclusive interior and exterior styling cues.
Available only as a hard-top coupe, the signature series NSX takes its name trom two-time CART open-wheel racing championship driver, Alex Zanardi. Only fifty copies of this limited edition model will be hand built - each identified by a numbered signature plaque located between the driveer and passenger seat head rests. Zanardi himself will take delivery of the first signature series NSX when it goes on sale in March of 1999. "This is a terrific honor for me," said the Italian-born Zanardi. "The NSX is clearly one of the greatest exotics of all time and I am very pleased to be associated with such a fantastic sports car."
The ultra-exclusive Alex Zanardi Edition coupe features a lower overall weight than the standard NSX through a number of weight reducing measures. A racetrack tuned suspension, lightweight BBS alloy wheels, titanium shift knob and signature series plaque are a few of the key elements that set this modeI apart from other NSX models.
Other features available only on the Alex Zanardi Edition NSX include a body-colored hard-top roof, red-stitched interior trim with suede-like seating surfaces, aluminum-mesh intake covers, and a new lightweight rear spoiler.
"The Alex Zanardi Edition takes the NSX to a new level of performance and exclusivity, and will appeal to the discerning enthusiast in search of something uniquely thrilling," said Jeff Conrad, assistant vice president, national marketing, of Acura Division. "From the outset, the NSX has been Acura's technology showcase, and in that sense, the Alex Zanardi Edition NSX is the perfect jewel to top the Acura crown."
The Alex Zanardi Edition takes NSX performance up a notch with an improved power 40-weight ratio. Total vehicle weight is reduced 149 pounds compared to the NSX-T, through the use of a fixed hard-top roof, lighter rear spoiler, single pane rear glass, lightweight BBS alloy wheels, a lighter battery, and a manual rack-and-pinion steering system in place of the electric power steering.
Suspension is provided by a forged, all-aluminum independent double-wishbone setup assisted by multi-rate gas-filled dampers with front and rear stabilizer bars. The Alex Zanardi Edition NSX also boasts a racetrack-tuned suspension system and manual rack-and-pinion steering for increased steering precision and,handling control.
The front and rear shock rebound rates have been increased by 99 percent and 31 percent,respectively, along with compression rates that have been increased by 72 percent and 50 percent. Front and rear springs are 103 percent and 32 percent stiffer, respectively, along with firmer bushings- yielding front and rear roll centers that are lower by 0.6 inches in front and 0.3 inches at the rear. A lower overall vehicle height and center of gravity also contribute to improved cornering performance.
Additional exclusive features include a new titanium-finished center console and door inserts, and perforated suede-like seating surfaces for superior grip. In addition to these seats, red stitching highlights the leather-wrapped steering wheel and emergency brake handle. A brushed aluminum plaque located on the rear firewall is numbered and engraved with Alex Zanardi's signature, identifying the vehicle as one of only fifty to be hand built at the company's Takanazawa plant in Tochigi, Japan. An exclusive Formula Red exterior color completes the package.
The Alex Zanardi Edition NSX is equipped with a 3.2-liter, DOHC, 24-valve" , VTEC V-6 engine producing 290 horsepower and 224 lb.-ft. of torque, coupled to a 6-speed close-ratio manual transmission.
Braking is accomplished through ventilated four-wheel discs with 4-channel Antilock Braking System. An advanced automatic Traction Control System(TCS) works in conjunction with the drive-by-wire throttle to help the driver maintain control in slippery conditions, and can be switched off if desired.
Interior features include an Acura/Bose Music System®, automatic climate control, power windows, power door locks, cruise control and telescoping steering wheel. An anti-theft immobilizer system will disable the fuel system in the event of tampering.
Having pioneered the Japanese-nameplate luxury performance market in 1986, Acura introduced the world's first all-aluminum, mid-engine, exotic sports car, the NSX, in 1990. The NSX established a new definition of exotic performance, combining topnotch dynamic performance with superior comfort, reliability and driveability. Since then, the NSX has been continuously refined to keep it on the cutting edge of sports car performance.
Like all Acuras, the Alex Zanardi Edition NSX is covered by a comprehensive 4-year/50,00O-mile bumper-to-bumper limited warranty and Acura Total Luxury Care program, which includes free 24-hour roadside assistance, concierge service and trip routing.
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