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Best Used Sports & Performance Cars ($100K–$200K USD)

Having a 6-figure budget (USD) at your disposal will certainly open the door to some pretty mouth-watering options when it comes to purchasing your next car. Sure, there’s nothing like the scent of fresh leather or Alcantara, along with that near-zero reading on the odometer that only a brand new car can provide. But pre-owned cars—especially ones in this price bracket—should always be part of the equation when cross-shopping between different models or brands.

Even if you do have your heart set on a very specific model, buying used can be a great way to go. If you can save a significant chunk of change by purchasing a used vehicle without taking on any meaningful additional risks, why not?

Cars these days have to pass the most rigorous quality assurance standards, and are more reliable, durable and well put together than ever before. History checks are easy enough to perform on your own, while dealerships often include reasonable short-term warranty coverage (i.e. ‘certified pre-owned’) as part of the sale. Often times, this makes the value of proposition of going ‘new vs. used’, one that is sentimental, rather than logical.

Of course, the current chip shortage and other economic variables have been at play recently; these have set the conditions for an almost-universal ‘hot’ used car market. In rare instances, some pre-owned cars have been going for near, or even over, brand new MSRP as the supply chain continues to be disrupted.

Regardless, here’s our list of the Best Used Sports & Performance Cars you can purchase in the $100K – $200K USD range. In the interest of keeping this list digestible, we’ve also filtered it down to cars produced within the last 10 model years; we’ll save older and vintage cars for another list.

All that being said, a lot of these examples will still have their original manufacturer’s warranty intact—not unlike a brand new car.

Porsche 911 GT3 (991.1, 991.2)

Porsche 911 GT3 991.1

Price Range: $135K – $160K (2014-2015 model years, 991.1)

In an era ripe with 4.0L naturally-aspirated flat-6 911 GT3 and GT3 RS cars, the 991.1 GT3 might appear to be a bit of a black sheep with its smaller 3.8L unit. Used market prices generally echo this sentiment, but that also presents the opportunity to get into an amazing car at an attractive price.

In fact, this should make it a prime candidate for those who are looking for a capable track car, and would rather put their money where it really matters when it comes to this—more tires, more brake pads, and most important of all, more seat time. Better yet, the car still has a couple years remaining on the car’s 10-year engine warranty.

Porsche 911 GT3 991.2

Price Range: $180K – $200K (2018 model year, 991.2)

The 991.2 GT3 commands significant premium over the first phase model as it is a better all-around car. This is in large part thanks to the use of the more robust and more powerful 4.0L unit. However, arguably more important than that, is the fact that the .2 models could also be had with a 6-speed manual transmission while the .1 models were exclusively PDK.

This has made the car more appealing to a wider ranging audience. Moreover, the 991.2 GT3 is the only 991-gen GT model that could be had with 3 pedals (barring the ultra-rare 911R), and has become a big hit with the purist and enthusiast crowds.

Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 (C7)

2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1

Price Range: $150K – $190K (2019 model year)

Before the new Corvette Z06 (C8), the Corvette ZR1 (C7) reigned supreme over all other Corvettes. The ZR1 is responsible for some important milestones for the model and the American automaker. For one, it served as the swan song for front-engined Corvettes—before they became mid-engined in the current C8-gen—and was the final model release in the previous-gen range.

Naturally, it also inherited top spot in the hierarchy as the most powerful Corvette ever produced; this remains a bragging right it continues to boast, even with the release of the aforementioned Z06.

It might be some time yet before we see the ZR1’s 6.2L supercharged V8 engine usurped in terms of output, with 755 hp and 715 lb-ft of torque at its beckoning. Improved aerodynamics help to provide some semblance of balance to this monster of a car, making it possibly one of the more underrated weekend warrior track cars out there.

Nissan GT-R Nismo

2016 Nissan GT-R Nismo

Price Range: $150K – $200K (2014-2019 model years)

As Nissan’s R35 GT-R platform really starts to show its age, most would agree that the Nismo models have been the only saving grace of what would otherwise be a case of ‘same-old-brand-new-you’. The range-topping R35 Nismo models have only been around since about half-way through the current decade+ lifecycle, first appearing for the 2014 model year.

While the Nismo models (2014-2019) have progressively improved over the years, there isn’t one model year that sticks out as being particularly more desirable at the moment, so you can expect a linear relationship between price and year, with other factors such as mileage and condition coming into play thereafter.

The GT-R Nismo was significantly refreshed for 2020 model year, with anything beyond that point commanding well over $200K new or used.

Mercedes-AMG GT

Mercedes-AMG GT R

Price Range:$135K – $185K (2018-2019 model years)

While we believe that the track-oriented GT R models would serve well as grand tourers for most enthusiasts, we wouldn’t argue that the lower trims (GT and GT C) are better options as an everyday cruiser. Afterall, opting for either of those models also unlocks the choice of having them in Roadster (convertible) configurations.

Stepping up to the 577 hp AMG GT R nets you Mercedes-Benz’ flagship supercar, which is the amalgamation of half a century of motorsports success placed into a single Nürburgring lap. Lightened, sharpened and strengthened, its racing DNA is evident in every fiber of its body, chassis and soul.

For those looking for that extra bit of the apex-clipping good stuff, the limited edition ‘GT R Pro’ is an even more track-focused variant of the GT R. Only the special ‘Black Edition’ model is out of the scope of this price range.

Acura NSX

2021 Acura NSX

Price Range: $140K – $180K (2017-2020 model years)

I am one of those who believes that the new Acura NSX gets way more flack than it deserves. True, it seems to be missing the mark on harkening back to the original model—which most people were expecting, but was likely never really Honda’s intention—but it remains a very impressive car from a performance/outcome standpoint.

The company also recently unveiled a new Type S model, which starts brand new at $169,500; easily within our price range for this list. Well, it is, and it isn’t—the limited edition car is expected to command closer to $200K with options, and will likely go for prices inflated well beyond that when they eventually hit the used market.

Your best bet is to focus your search on the more-than-capable ‘base’ models, which come with the tried-and-tested 573 hp twin-turbocharged V6 hybrid engine assisted by 3 electric motors.

Porsche Cayman GT4 (981 & 718)

2016 Porsche 981 Cayman GT4

Price Range: $110K – $130K (2016 model year, 981)

The Porsche Cayman GT4 models are some of the hottest cars in the enthusiast market, especially amongst track go-ers. With the new 718 GT4 RS being released, demand for the regular GT4 models could go either way depending on how many RS models (and at what frequency) Porsche decides to produce.

In my opinion, I think it’d be safe to assume that it’s going to be hard enough to get one, such that most prospective buyers would end up choosing a GT4 instead—and be very happy with that decision, mind you. First-gen GT4s are the cheaper of the two options, and make for pretty much some of the best weekend track warriors at its price range.

Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Boxster Spyder & 718 Boxster Spyder overall review

Price Range: $135K – $150K (2020-2021 model years, 718)

The 981-gen Cayman and the newer 718 GT4 (available in both coupé and convertible configuration) are remarkably balanced cars, and in the right hands, can be just as quick around the circuit as their more expensive 911 stablemates.

The 718 cars are at the higher end of the price range, being newer and all, but also have the more robust and exclusive 4.0L engine versus the 3.8L (and still highly capable) unit in the 981. PDK is also optional in the newer car—the 981 is manual only—which will tickle the fancy of track junkies, much more than the purists.

The 981 is more raw, the 718 is faster. Either way, you can’t go wrong.

Aston Martin V12 Vantage S

22017 Aston Martin V12 Vantage S

Price Range: $125K – $165K (2015-2017 model years)

If the deeply integrated electronic systems of other sports cars don’t appeal to you—like those found in the new, tech-laden Porsche 911 GT3—the Aston Martin V12 Vantage S might just have the right blend of speed, style and character you’re looking for. Yet, with the confidence you feel behind the wheel and the chassis’ superb balance, you don’t need to be a GT racer to exploit its full range of performance.

Even at idle, the V12 in the Vantage S will demand your attention just from the way it sounds. Open up the throttle on the 565 hp 5.9L naturally-aspirated AM28-spec engine, and treat yourself to arguably the best sounding production road car on the planet—one which can be had for well under the $200K mark.

Audi R8

2016 Audi R8 V10

Price Range: $100K – $200K (2012-2020 model years)

The Audi R8 has the highest range of prices (and applicable model years) on this list. You can go back as far as 13 years when shopping for a pre-owned Audi R8, so it’s important to discern the differences of each model year, as their technologies and offerings have evolved a fair bit over that time as well.

Our favorite R8 model would have to be the Audi R8 RWD. Now a standard, instead of a one-off offering, the rear-wheel drive version of Audi’s famous R8 supercar is wonderful for so many reasons. Not only does it provide a notably lower price of entry into ownership of a new R8, it also brings about the puristic thrills that its heavier and more expensive all-wheel-drive counterpart can’t.

No doubt the newer models are sharper in both the driving dynamics and looks departments, but being able to get into an older model for far fewer greenbacks has its appeals too.

McLaren 570S

McLaren 570S Coupé Wallpapers

Price Range: $160K – $200K (2016-2018 model years)

There aren’t many opportunities to get into a McLaren for under $200K, but a pre-owned 570S provides one of those rare chances to do just that. While the 570S isn’t anywhere near being the British automaker’s top model, it remains a highly respectable performance car on its own merits, and is certainly one of the stand-out options in this price range.

After all, you’re getting McLaren’s infamous carbon-tub monocoque chassis and a mid-mounted 3.8L twin-turbo V8 powerplant—delivering 562 hp @ 7,500 rpm and 443 lb-ft of torque @ 5,000-6500 rpm to the rear wheels—which is mated to a 7-speed SSG (seamless-shift gearbox) transmission.

The drivetrain has been praised for its linearity, and although peak numbers are achieved after 5,000 rpm, the car also has plenty of low-end grunt and responsiveness too. The end result is a 0-62 mph time of just 3.4 seconds and a top speed of 204 mph.

Porsche 911 Turbo & Turbo S (991.2)

991 Porsche 911 Turbo Turbo S

Price Range:$145K – $200K (2015-2018 model years, Turbo), (2018-2019 model years, Turbo S)

While there’s no doubt that the latest 992-gen Turbo and Turbo S are all-around better cars than their predecessors, the most recent run of such cars (991.2) are no slouches either; and in many cases, they can be bargains on the used market when you begin to line up the specs with their respective prices.

For example, the lower-trim 991.2 Turbo model is good for 0-60 mph in just 2.7 seconds (plenty quick for just about anyone) and can be had for under $140K on the used market. Today’s range-topping Turbo S is unquestionably faster, able to hit that benchmark in a mind-boggling 2.2 seconds—it’s up to you (and your wallet) to decide whether that half-second is worth that extra $70K – $90K, and if having your mind boggled on a daily basis is even necessary.

Of course, there’s newer tech just about everywhere on the new cars too, but there will never be an ounce of shame owning any car that has the word Turbo (or Turbo S) scribed after those legendary 911 numerals.

Best New Sports & Performance Cars ($100K – $200K USD)

Porsche 911 GT3 (992)

Porsche 911 GT3 and GT3 Touring

Base Price: $160,100 USD (GT3), $160,100 USD (Touring)

Porsche unveiled its new 992-generation Porsche 911 GT3 via digital livestream on YouTube. First deliveries are just starting to trickle in now, making it likely to be designated as a 2022 model. Semantics aside, this new GT3 becomes the seventh iteration of one of Porsche’s most established and beloved automobiles. More importantly, it continues to embody the spirit of previous GT3 models by amalgamating all that is awesome about the 911 – and the Porsche brand – in a single road car.

The automaker has continued the use of the naturally-aspirated 4.0L 9A1 flat-6 power plant in the 2022 Porsche 911 GT3. The only key differences between the engine used in the race car and the one used in the 992 GT3, are the exhaust system and ECU. Otherwise, the two engines share virtually all the same components, such as individual throttle bodies. As such, the new GT3 needed no “sound engineering” and inherently sounds amazing. With its astronomical 9,000 rpm redline, the GT3 produces 502 hp @ 8,400 rpm and 346 lb-ft of torque @ 6,250 rpm. 

Porsche Cayman GT4 RS

2022 Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS

Base Price: $140,000 USD (est.)

Porsche has confirmed under no uncertain terms that there will be a 718 Cayman GT4 RS model. This comes after many months of testing camouflaged mule cars (with accompanied spy shots) which had long hinted that the GT4 RS was going to be a real thing – we finally know that this will indeed be the case. Porsche has stated that they are in the process of wrapping up the final stages of testing.

The GT4 RS will come equipped with a 4.0L naturally-aspirated flat-6, though Porsche has not yet provided any horsepower figures. Besides being obviously more than that of the GT4, many media outlets are predicting that it could make as much as 500 hp, especially considering the measurable gap in their ‘Green Hell’ lap times. Other telling differences can be spotted visually, with the GT4 RS being subject to the customary aerodynamic transformation. This includes a more aggressive front splitter, front fender vents, and a swan-neck rear wing (similar to that of the 992 GT3).

Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 / 718 Boxster Spyder

Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Boxster Spyder & 718 Boxster Spyder overall review

Base Price: $101,200 USD (GT4) / $98,300 USD (Spyder)

The first iteration of the Porsche Cayman GT4 made its debut in 2015, drawing a conclusion to the third generation of Boxster/Cayman (981). Since that time, the GT4 has become a cult hero amongst purists with its absence of frills (not to be misheard as ‘thrills’), relative affordability and undisputable demi-god-status as one of the ultimate driver’s car. Shortly after the release of the 981 Cayman GT4, Porsche ushered in the fourth generation of the Cayman/Boxster (982) in 2016 which are marketed as the 718. The most welcome fact about the new 718 GT4/Spyder models is that they marked the reintroduction of the naturally aspirated 6-cylinder into the Cayman/Boxster series, and for the first time into the 982 generation.

With the main difference between the two cars being that the GT4 is a coupe while the Spyder is a drop-top, both cars are mechanically identical and benefit equally from the typical GT-treatment we have all come to adore. Like the inaugural GT4, the new GT ‘twins’ once again infringe on Porsche 911 territory with their stunning performance metrics to rival Stuttgart’s own flagship car.

Porsche Taycan (All Models)

2021 Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo

Base Price: Starting at $79,900 USD (Sedan) / Starting at $90,900 USD (Cross Turismo)

Porsche’s first EV was the statement car of 2020, proving that a future with electrification can still embody the soul of a true sports car in the Taycan Turbo and Taycan Turbo S. Shortly after their release, Porsche added a slightly detuned version of the Taycan in a trim level known as the Taycan 4S. The company has since expanded the Taycan sports sedan lineup with even more versions, including a rear-wheel drive base model, with a future GTS version rumored to be in the works. Although base prices do start below the $100K mark, the vast majority of Taycan models (even without any options added) certainly meet this threshold.

With the introduction of the new Cross Turismo range of Porsche Taycan models in 2021, we’ve now entered the second act of the company’s electrification strategy. The Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo carries over the EV-platform and performance from its sedan counterpart, then amalgamates them with the utilitarianism of a sporty crossover/estate. What this means is that you can expect the same 800-volt battery architecture powering the car, with 93.4 kWh as the standard fare on all models (certain sedan trims could be had with a smaller 79.2 kWh pack). The Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo is currently available in four distinct trim levels – 4, 4S, Turbo, and Turbo S – with relative performance figures and standard features across the range, mostly in parallel with that of the sedans.

Development of a Limited Production 600 hp Acura Supercar

I have to admit I really liked the original Acura NSX or the Honda NSX as it was called over here in Europe, and I mean the early one with the pop-up headlights, not the later one with the fixed headlights, I wasn’t really a fan of those, but I did like the idea of an NSX with a removable roof panel … this looked like a supercar, I’m sure many mistook it for a Ferrari, especially in red, but it was a Honda, the same make that had the ‘pocket-rocket’ CRX over here, a car that would be tuned to the max … and then you had the NSX, a stunning beauty even in factory original form.

After showing the initial concept, Honda came up with the name NS-X, for New Sportscar eXperimental, eventually, the car was marketed as the Honda NSX, and as the Acura NSX for the North-America market, starting from 1990 powered by a 3-Liter V6 VTEC engine, initially with a 5-speed manual that was joined by a 4-speed automatic in 1993, two years later the NSX T was shown with a removable roof.

The first power upgrade came in 1997 when the displacement of the V6 engine grew to 3.2-Liters while a facelift was executed 12 years after the release, in 2002 the pop-up headlights were replaced with fixed units, sadly three years later, in 2005 production of the Honda/Acura NSX was halted after being in production for 15 years.

The next-generation Acura NSX had been rumored since late 2007, inspiration would be taken from the Acura ASCC, but the entire development was halted in 2010 until late 2011 Honda officially confirmed they were working on a new supercar, which they called the ‘second-generation NSX’, there was even a concept car shown at the 2012 NAIAS, but it would take three more years to unveil the final production model which would become an MY2016 edition, and not built in Japan this time, but designed and engineered in Marysville, Ohio, at Honda’s plant, led by chief engineer Ted Klaus.

The new 2016 Acura NSX still had a V6 engine, but this time a 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged evolution with a hybrid addition, three electric motors boost power to 573 hp, this time through a 9-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, and while it’s a new, modern sports car, I still feel it lacks the intimidation the original car from the Nineties had … it’s just not that amazing looking, but that’s just my opinion.

Sadly the second-generation Acura NSX didn’t become a sales hit, between 2016 and 2020 only 1,386 were sold in the United States, with 2017 being the top-selling year with 581 units, unfortunately, Europe was even worse with only 215 units, in 2020 only 8 Acura NXS found customers in Europe … but for the final year of production, something new came around.

Production of the Acura NSX will be discontinued in 2022, so as a final farewell Acura came up with the NSX Type S, the most powerful NSX ever with 600 hp, unveiled during the 2021 Monterey Car Week, with a limited production run of only 350 units, and a redesigned look to make this 2022 NSX Type S the most aggressive looking one ever, with larger intakes in the front bumper and a GT3 style rear diffuser.

“Only NSX can go beyond NSX,” said Satoshi Mizukami, chief engineer and NSX Type S development leader. “Power definitely contributes to what we strive for, including the joy of driving, but that alone wouldn’t be enough. We want our customers to feel that performance deep inside, and if we were to enhance performance, we wanted to express the vehicle with designs that represent such performance.”

The 2022 Acura NSX Type S can be ordered in a stunning looking Gotham Gray matte paint that combined perfectly with the gloss black mirrors and door handles and let’s not forget the bespoke forged alloy wheels with their split-five spoke design. “At first glance, people will say it looks completely different,” said exterior designer Dai Hara. “It looks fast.”

The increase in power to an even 600 hp from the previous 573 hp has been achieved by using the larger turbos from the NSX GT3 racecar, to cope with that much power Acura installs stickier Pirelli P-Zero tires on these final edition models, in fact, the entire production for 2022 will be made up of Type S only at the Performance Manufacturing Center in Marysville, Ohio, 350 units are available globally with 300 of those reserved for the US market, this is the very first time an NSX Type S has been sold outside of Japan.

Make sure to take a look at the official ‘development’ video on the 2022 Acura NSX Type S below:

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Enjoy some more detailed shots on this final edition supercar from Acura:

Best 6-Cylinder Engines Ever Produced

In this modern automotive era, we are spoiled for choice when it comes to the wide array of supercars, hypercars and now EVs, to choose from. At this level of the game, the V12 engine is often seen as the standard bearer, while a V8 is the lowest benchmark. It’s no wonder the 6-cylinder engine often gets overlooked, despite continuing to power some of the world’s greatest sports cars and supercars. This isn’t just hyperbole. Case in point: the Porsche 911.

With the help of turbochargers, superchargers and in some cases, electric motors, 6-cylinder engines can often squeeze out just as much performance as their larger counterparts, while retaining the benefits of being more compact, lightweight and fuel-efficient. So while they aren’t typically as flashy nor headline-making as the V12s and V8s of the world, they are at the very least, an extremely versatile and dependable option to have in the engine war chest.

It’s no wonder the proliferation of the 6-cylinder engine has been democratized by auto manufacturers internationally, with the platform remaining ever-present across all continents. The Germans, Japanese and Italians are amongst those who persist with their undying trust in the 6-cylinder engine; so much so that it is still being improved and continues to power some of the best automobiles to this day.

Here’s the shortlist of 10 such engines, which we have curated:

Porsche M97.74

Porsche M97.74 engine

Appearing in the 997.2 GT3 RS 4.0, this truly special engine was the swan song for both the 997-generation (2005-2012) of Porsche 911 cars, as well as the Mezger engine design. Borrowing a number of components from the RSR race car, the 3.8L engine in the ‘regular’ 997 GT3 RS was then upgraded to a 4.0L flat-6 (hence the name) which produced 500 hp and 339 lb-ft of torque, while having an astronomical 8,500 rpm redline.

So convincing was this move, even to Porsche’s own brass, that the following two generations (991 and 992) of 911 cars would continue to employ the 4.0L naturally-aspirated engine in the GT3 lineup, proving that the ‘godfather’ RS 4.0 was also well ahead of its time.

With the proliferation of PDK transmissions, amongst other safety-centric technological advancements, many consider the M97.74 and the GT RS 4.0 it powered, to be the final rendition of the purists’ GT3 RS.

BMW S54B32

Collectively, the BMW E46 M3 (2000-2006) is one of our favorite cars here at, and this is in no small part thanks to its S54B32 inline-6 engine. The naturally-aspirated unit is as pure as it gets from the Bavarian company, with a peak 333 hp being produced at 7,900 rpm on route to its 8,000 rpm redline. Other stand-out features include individual throttle bodies and drive-by-wire operation, further accentuating the car’s inherent rawness and driving purity.

When mated to the 6-speed manual transmission, it really doesn’t get much better than this – from BMW or any other company, for that matter. If BMW ever wanted to revert back to a more minimalist philosophy, the S54B32 and E46 M3 would be writing the playbook.

Nissan RB26DETT

Nissan RB26DETT engine

The 2.6L twin-turbocharged inline-6 from Nissan – the RB26DETT – has become something of a legend. It would take nothing short of the absolute best from the Japanese automaker to produce something worthy of powering a car amicably referred to as “Godzilla”, and the RB26DETT has never disappointed. While it was limited to 280 hp from the factory – thanks to the gentleman’s agreement between Japanese manufacturers to cap engine outputs at the time – the R34 Skyline GT-R was anything but docile, even when left untinkered.

The engine’s true capabilities were the worst kept secret in the industry, with a simple flash of the ECU (to effectively remove the restrictions) plus a few bolt-on performance modifications allowing the RB26DETT to produce much, much more.

Porsche MDH.NA

Porsche MDH.NA

Suffice to say, the 991 GT2 RS is the absolute peak of 6-cylinder performance. The GT2 RS in its entirety is more closely based on a Turbo S than it is to its closest GT relative, the 911 GT3 RS. After all, at the heart of the GT2 is a revamped version of the Turbo S engine (known as MDH.NA), while the GT3 has its own unique naturally-aspirated 4.0L power plant. The 3.8L flat-6 was fitted with larger variable-geometry turbos and was given an increase in peak boost to 22.5 psi, which is 24% higher than the Turbo S.

Larger intercoolers, a water-spray system, larger exhaust manifold primaries and redesigned pistons work in synergy with the aforementioned to provide the GT2 RS with 700 horsepower @ 7,000 rpm and 553 lb-ft of torque. Porsche has long buried the traditional notion of “turbo-lag” in its cars with VarioCam Plus and the GT2 RS is no different, making peak torque from 2,250 rpm to 4,000 rpm.

Honda C30A

Honda C30A engine

The original 1990 Acura NSX was fitted with a 3.0L naturally-aspirated V6 engine which produced 270 hp. At the time, that was more than sufficient to go shoulder-to-shoulder with any of its supercar contemporaries; particularly Ferrari, its target rival. What truly made the C30A – and as a whole, the NSX – so special, was that it broke the mold of what a supercar could and should ought to be: reliable and useable. Almost blasphemous thinking at the time, the idea of the “everyday supercar” was still a twinkle in the eye of exotic car auto makers.

The engine demanded very little, if anything, above the expected maintenance laundry list and associated costs of keeping a Honda Accord running. It was refined. It performed. It was comfortable. You could drive it whenever you wanted to. The NSX is widely recognized as one of the forefathers of the modern supercar, going on to inspire the likes of the McLaren F1. That puts it in pretty high regard, I’d say.

Alfa Romeo ‘Busso’ V6

Alfa Romeo 'Busso' V6 engine

There is no other power plant on this list which has been as long-serving or as versatile as the ‘Busso’ engine. Named after its chief designer, Giuseppe Busso, the foundation of this engine was its 60° V6 configuration. From there, a colorful variation of engines were built upon it, with displacements ranging 2.0L to 3.2L plus the use of turbochargers (or none at all) depending on the intended application of the automobile it was being fitted to. This meant you could see a Busso producing as little as 130 hp in a 1983 Alfa Romeo Alfa 6, and up to 247 hp in a 2005 Alfa Romeo 156 GTA.

Regardless of its specs, every Busso engine shares the same reputation for being remarkably smooth, having good low-end power delivery, and an incredibly unique engine note at higher rpms. Needless to say, the Busso would go on to be the centerpiece of the brand for a good 30+ years.

Nissan VR38DETT

Nissan VR38DETT engine

While there was a general expectation that the latest iteration of the GT-R would (or should) be powered by a V8 engine prior to its official release, Nissan inevitably stuck to its guns and continued the tradition of powering its flagship car with its tried and trusted 6-cylinder unit. This time, the engine would be produced in a 60° V6 configuration to ensure that the massively sized and massively powerful engine, could fit under the front hood.  In the very first R35 GT-R cars, the 3.8L twin-turbocharged V6 produced 485 hp, before being upped to 545 hp for the 2012 refresh.

Since then, the hand-crafted power plants have been continuously improved over the years, with the most powerful factory version of the car – the Nissan GT-R Nismo – producing some 600 hp. Perfectly matched with Nissan’s dual-clutch transmission and proven all-wheel drive system, the VR38DETT continues a legend while forging one of its own, all at the same time.

Jaguar JRV-6

Jaguar JRV-6 engine

It’s rather humorous that the JRV-6 would not have made it on this list if not for a gaff on the part of Jaguar, who had originally marketed and went as far as promising that the XJ220 would be delivered to its first customers with a V12 engine. Nevertheless, the eventually-fitted twin-turbocharged 6-cylinder unit was borrowed from a Group B Rally car – the Rover Metro 6R4. It was rightfully potent, and actually made more power than the naturally-aspirated V12 which was originally proposed.

Able to produce up to 542 hp, the XJ220 would even go on to become the fastest production car in the world at the time, topping out at a brow-raising 217 mph. While its credentials were proven in the real world, I’m sure many buyers were still a bit miffed at the fact that the final product came with half the number of cylinders they had put down their deposits down for.

Toyota 2JZ-GTE

Toyota 2JZ-GTE engine

The Toyota Supra was equipped with the ubiquitous 3.0L inline-6 2JZ engine in all its models. The most recognized version of the Supra – the Turbo – possessed a twin-turbocharged engine known as the 2JZ-GTE, which was specced with up to 326 hp. The two turbochargers operated sequentially and not in parallel. This essentially meant that one of the turbochargers was designed to provide near-maximum torque as early as 1,800 rpm, while the second turbine would be engaged in a “pre-boost” mode until around 4,000 rpm where thereafter both turbochargers would be spinning at full blast. This translated to better low-end throttle response, less ‘turbo lag’, increased boost at higher engine speeds, and a relatively linear delivery of power – all of which was difficult to achieve in unison, with the technology available at the time.

The 2JZ-GTE-equipped Turbo model was able to sprint from 0-60 mph in just 4.6 seconds and complete the standing ¼ mile in an impressive 13.1 seconds. Top speed was recorded at 155 mph.

Alfa Romeo 690T

Alfa Romeo 690T engine

The fact that the engine in the 2021 Alfa Romeo Giulia GTA is derived from the Ferrari F154 platform, automatically puts it in some highly esteemed company. After all, other variations of the F154 are used in the likes of cars such as the Maserati Quattroporte, Ferrari F8 Tributo and even the hybridized Ferrari SF90. While the F154 takes on a V8 configuration, the Alfa Romeo variant (known as the 690T) is a 2.9L twin-turbocharged V6 which produces 540 hp. Capable of 0-60 mph in 3.6 seconds, the 690T isn’t exactly blistering by today’s standards, but it does become an integral part of the car’s overall philosophy of balance and agility; this was probably one of the main reasons Alfa Romeo chose to go with a smaller unit rather than going the copy/paste route with the Ferrari setup.

The GTA / GTAm are about as track-ready as any production car can get when also factoring in its insanely aggressive aerodynamic and chassis upgrades.

Most Beautiful Cars From The 2000s

The turn of the millennium was an exciting time for so many reasons, and this too was certainly the case for the automotive landscape. Many regard the 2000s as a golden era for cars; a time when the collective industry seemed to achieve this perfect blend of technology, design and purpose. These days, performance is more accessible than ever and in some ways styling has evolved for the better as well.

But there remains something to be said about simpler times, especially when one begins to reminisce about a world without self-driving cars and the once greater acceptance of beauty standards that were measured through the ‘eye-of-the-beholder’. So many cars from this decade managed to carry themselves with an air of class and elegance, without needing to be haute or obnoxious. Affordable grassroots automobiles could muster up as much charisma and garner the same levels of admiration as the unpretentious (relative to today’s standards), yet objectively beautiful supercars of the day. This really wasn’t all too long ago, just thinking about it.

We’ve compiled a list of cars, which we believe, represent the pinnacle of beauty from this decade. While our selection will lean towards aesthetic power, you can expect an overlap with our other “Best of 2000s” special lists on – particularly our “Best Sports & Performance Cars From The 2000s” and “The Greatest Supercars Of The 2000s” lists.

After all, there is as much beauty in function as there is in form.

Here’s the shortlist of 10 such cars, which we have curated:

Porsche Carrera GT

Porsche Carrera GT

The Porsche Carrera GT has become one of the most iconic and sought after Porsche models in the realm of exotic car idolization and ownership. It was a mid-engined V10 hypercar – one of the first to be considered a step beyond supercar status – and introduced a variety of industry-first technologies and features to the production car market.

On the outside, there is nothing to suggest that the Porsche Carrera GT should be anything but a purpose-built super/hyper sports car. The silhouette of the car is a properly executed amalgamation of sleek and muscular features which certainly feels applicable to the Carrera GT’s overall demeanor. From the front particularly, the car is still undeniably a Porsche, with its headlights paying tribute to the Porsche 917 – the first Porsche race car to win at Le Mans. The bulgy front fenders extend across the doors and connect to the rear haunches of the car, which then blend into its extroverted rear deck finished off by the large, retractable rear wing.

The double-clamshell engine lid conceals the 5.7L power plant while complimenting the two roll hoops it sits purposefully behind. The windshield and windows are designed to provide maximum visibility to the driver from all angles. The cockpit of the Carrera GT is relatively understated but still more than adequately appointed with its perfect blend of functionality, elegance, and convenience. The center console inclines at a sharp angle towards the front dash, and is fully made from carbon and bolted to the chassis of the car to promote rigidity and safety.

Mounted near the top of the center console, is one of the Carrera GT’s most quintessential features – its ergonomically located manual gearbox fitted with a laminated birchwood shift knob, which pays tribute to the heritage of Porsche motorsport.

Ford GT

2003→2006 Ford GT

The Ford GT is the American Beauty; the one true supercar to hail from west of the Atlantic and proof that exotics cars weren’t exclusively an Italian delicacy. Released at the 2002 North American Auto Show, Henry Ford II was proud to show off a modern-day version of Ford’s most successful endurance racer. A month after the release, Ford announced the Ford GT would be put into production and with a price ‘around six figures’. The waiting is now over, Ford have released official details of the production version.

The Ford GT supercar’s design instantly stirs up images of the glorious Ford GT race cars from the 1960s. Yet a new presentation features all-new dimensions and a contemporary, striking interior – as well as epic engineering stories of how high-tech methods helped preserve a classic form.

Interior comfort considerations had two effects on the exterior styling of the Ford GT. To increase passenger headroom, the engineering team wanted to raise the roof height. However, the design team felt the low profile was an essential aspect of the Ford GT design. The engineers and design team fought for each millimeter, finally agreeing to raise the roof 17 millimeters above that of the concept.

“As a race car, the original Ford GT didn’t have an interior design to speak of” says Pardo, Ford GT Chief Designer. “They featured two seats, a steering wheel, a few toggle switches and lot of bare metal. That’s it. As such, the interior of the Ford GT is the biggest deviation from the vintage cars. ‘The passenger cabin of most modern cars is isolated from the engine” Pardo elaborates. “But, in the Ford GT, the supercharger is right there, inches behind your ear. It creates an intimate relationship with the engine, more like a motorcycle than a car.”

Ferrari Enzo

2002→2005 Ferrari Enzo

Named in honor of the company’s founder, the Enzo is one of a limited series of road cars including the 288GTO, F40 and F50. These cars represent Ferrari’s continuing desire to produce the most exclusive and technologically advanced road car. Pininfarina and Ferrari have a close relationship which started with the 1951 212 Inter Barchetta. Since that time, Pininfarina have styled most road-going Ferraris including the Enzo, which was their most radical design to date.

Pininfarina’s form combines complex detail with a clean and balanced overall shape. Aggressive lines adorn the exterior which include an interpretation of the Formula One nose, to which the Enzo owes it’s technology. These styling cues break ground in the area of design and will be copied both in future super cars and future Ferraris. Unlike the F40 and F50 which came before it, the Enzo is devoid of any rear wing. The absence of the rear wing was possible due to the underbody at the rear of the car which includes two large diffusers. These diffusers generate sufficient down force to replace a drag-heavy rear wing. Further active aerodynamics help the Enzo maintain stability at all speeds. An adjustable rear spoiler and adjustable front flap allow for either high load or high speed aerodynamic setup.

During a period of great achievement for Ferrari, the Enzo reflects victories which include four consecutive F1 championships. No doubt, Enzo Ferrari himself would be most proud of this limited series named in his honor.

Aston Martin DB9

2004 Aston Martin DB9

James Bond. 007. Is there any other car in the world that is more synonymous with one thing, than the Aston Martin DB9? Probably not. Suffice to say, this British grand tourer was able to match the suave levels of its most famous driver, and then some. Succeeding the DB7, the Aston Martin DB9 debuted at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2003. The first cars in the series boasted a 5.9L V12 producing 444 horsepower; this made a 0 to 60 mph acceleration time of just 4.8 seconds possible. The maximum speed was set at 299 km/h although some have claimed it can be pushed beyond 300 km/h.

The Aston Martin DB9 is a modern interpretation of a traditional Aston Martin sports car, representing a contemporary version of classic DB design elements and characteristics. “Aston Martins are not edgy cars – they don’t have sharp surfaces or pronounced power domes” said Hank Fisker, Director of Design. “The bodywork is elegant and gently curved, like a supremely fit person, with great muscle tone. But it is not like a body builder, who is bulky and out of harmony.”

The side profile is very clean, with a single-sweep roofline. There is a pronounced boot – a noticeable feature of the DB4 and DB5 – and the haunches on the rear wings are wide and curvaceous. The aluminum bonnet runs all to the way to the leading edge of the car. “This accentuates the length of the bonnet and the power of the car” says Fisker. All front cut lines emanate from the grille. The DB9’s bumpers are invisible. The front number plate is part of the crash structure and computer modelling has enabled Aston Martin to use invisible -hard pressure zones- to cope with bumps.

Nissan Skyline GT-R (R34)

1999 Nissan Skyline GT-R

As far as pop culture icons go, the Nissan Skyline GT-R has cemented a reputation as one of the world’s most revered automobiles. Whether you’re a young teenager who has only been able to experience one through your favorite video game, or a wealthy car collector looking to add a unicorn to your garage, the R34 (1998-2002) GT-R in particular, checks everyone’s boxes. Some would argue that the Skyline GT-R only gained international recognition thanks to the “Fast & Furious” movie series, but those into JDM car culture or motorsport were well aware of “Godzilla’s” credentials well before the silver screen event.

The Skyline GT-R produced 280 hp (which could easily be tuned to much, much more) from a twin-turbocharged RB26 engine and featured an all-wheel drive system with HICAS, allowing it to become a dominating force on both circuits and mountain roads alike. Every aspect of the Skyline GT-R, from the aerodynamics to body rigidity, has been fine-tuned through competitive racing and 11 years of intense testing, producing one of the best race-bred coupes ever made.

Style-wise, the r34 GT-R is Japanese automotive perfection – the quintessential packaging of radical performance, timeless appearance and undeniable charisma. Relatable, and within the realm of most people’s aspirations of ownership (at one point in time), the Skyline GT-R quickly became the Japanese people’s sports car, and eventually the de facto representative of the JDM movement which swept across North America and shaped its automotive culture almost singlehandedly. This is all the more impressive when considering that the Skyline GT-R was never available brand new within US shores.

Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren


“Gullwing”. The pinnacle of Mercedes-Benz design and engineering prowess. A contemporary interpretation of stylistic elements lifted from the original SLR and design details taken from the 2003 Formula 1 Silver Arrows, allow the 21st-century SLR to form a bridge between the past and the future, bringing cutting-edge motorsport technology to the road, just as the inspirational SLR Coupe did in 1955.

This super sports car allowed Mercedes-Benz and its Formula 1 partner McLaren to showcase their collective experience in the development, construction and production of high-performance sports cars. This combination of knowledge and expertise is evident not only in the host of pioneering developments, impressive performance figures and superior driving characteristics of the SLR, but also in the extremely high levels of safety and practicality which it offers.

These attributes come together to form the basis for an automobile with a very special charisma – an impressive synthesis of Mercedes tradition and innovation in every respect. High-tech materials from the field of aeronautical technology make their debut in a series-produced car here: carbon fiber is used for manufacturing the body, lending it its low weight and an exemplary rigidity and strength previously only achieved in Formula 1 race cars. The crash safety standards achieved using this innovative material are equally high.


2000 BMW Z8

The new millennium super roadster: The BMW Z8. With breathtaking looks and classic proportions, the BMW Z8 was presented the beginning of 2000 as the latest addition to the portfolio of sporting two-seaters. The Z8’s appearance is as equally thrilling as its trendsetting chassis structure, this being a self-supporting aluminum frame called ‘space frame’.

This is wrapped in a sleek body shell featuring screw-on components. Under the bonnet there is a high-performance V8 sports motor displacing five liters. Impressive power of 400 bhp is transmitted to the wheels by a six-speed transmission.

Today, the BMW Z8 has become a bit of a unicorn car with a cult following of wealthy collectors. Most examples are going for around US$250,000 on the used market – almost double the brand new MSRP.

Honda NSX (NA2)

When the NSX was first introduced to the world in 1990, it sent shockwaves throughout the automotive dimension, pioneering an unprecedented amalgamation of characteristics and engineering principles. At a time when the words ‘supercar’ and ‘reliability’ couldn’t be spoken in the same sentence, the formula Honda used to create the NSX resulted in a vehicle that was truly unique for its time – it had all of the desirable characteristics of a supercar, but was packaged with the same reliability, build quality and sensibility of a Honda Accord.

By the time the new millennium had rolled in, the NSX had become a classic but aging beauty. In 2002, the car got a makeover which included some much needed aesthetic updates to modernize it. Fixed headlights to replace the pop-ups, along with more streamlined front and rear fascias, and larger wheels, ushered in a new era for the original NSX, dubbed NA2. Shortly after the facelift, Honda released a Type-R version of the NA2 NSX which was exclusive for MY2002 and for the Japanese market only – just like it did for the NA1 NSX in 1992. By this time, the Type-R moniker had become the official signature of ultimate Honda road car performance, and the 2002 Honda NSX Type-R (officially abbreviated to NSX-R on this occasion), certainly lived up to its badge.

Lamborghini Murciélago

The Lamborghini Murciélago is a superlative car with a mechanical structure that requires no gimmickry. The styling reflects this with a silhouette free of any superfluous ornaments or embellishments. Pure, simple, and mostly-straight lines are all that is offered; the result is a definitively trapezoid-shaped car which lends styling cues from the previous Lamborghinis, and then combines them with better performance and more superior drivability than ever before.

One highlight of the car is the two rear wings which seamlessly pop up for engine cooling. Not only does this increase the aesthetic value of the car while at a standstill, it also functions as a dynamic system for cooling efficiency. It truly is the ultimate expression of the Lamborghini marque – thoroughbred performance with dynamic features that add to a clean and elegant styling. Suffice to say, its lives up to its namesake, with the Murciélago said to be the strongest fighting bull of all time.

Honda S2000

For many years, Honda’s beloved roadster held the distinction of producing the most hp per liter of any car on the planet, via its F20C engine. Despite being a convertible, the S2000 is renown for its rigid chassis which helps to provide one of the most raw driving experiences one can have in a production road car. The slick 6-speed manual – the only choice of transmission – was a perfect match to the car’s 2.0L VTEC powerplant which produced 240 hp and revved all the way up to 9,000 rpm.

The s2000 cuts a sharp-looking roadster figure with sensual proportions, thanks to its super long front hood and truncated rear. Clean lines are expressed through its no-nonsense design, and have gone on to be attributed with the car’s ever-increasing character and timelessness. While the S2000 is unapologetically a convertible, I think that the car looks especially good with the optional OEM hard top (along with a variety of aftermarket options).

Later variants of the S2000 featured a strokered 2.2L engine which delivered more power in the lower rev-range and had slightly shorter gearing to improve acceleration. The Honda S2000 embodies everything that is awesome about a naturally-aspirated sports car that is built around the driver; and now, many enthusiasts and collectors alike are seeking to own their piece of its brilliant history.

Acura Honors the 30 Year Anniversary of the NSX Debut in Chicago

The Shot Heard ‘Round the World

In 1989, Acura debuted the NSX supercar and changed the automotive industry. The NSX, then debuted as the NS-X Concept, changed the way people thought about supercars. It came with world’s first all-aluminum monocoque chassis, had titanium connecting rods, and was built to a different standard than the competition. It was the first exotic supercar from Japan and the first supercar you could easily drive daily.

To commemorate the 30-year marker, Acura celebrated the car in Chicago and put together a video. It features the first NSX and the most recent iteration. The commemorative video hits the high points of the model’s debut and showcases some seriously beautiful cars side by side.

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Acura had several different influential members at the Chicago Auto Show to discuss the NSX and its impact. Jon Ikeda, Vice President and General Manager of Acura, was there when the NSX first hit the world stage.

Before NSX, it was always assumed that supercar performance came at the price of a comfortable interior and everyday drivability,” said Ikeda. “NSX shattered those notions, and raised the bar on every other exotic and supercar maker, with the effects still felt today. NSX was a huge inspiration and one of the major reasons I was drawn to join Acura nearly 30 years ago.

The current generation NSX carries on the original car’s mission. The car pushes the performance envelope with a hybrid powertrain and Sport Hybrid Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive. It has a hybrid twin-turbocharged, mid-mounted V6 engine. It can also operate in full EV mode, and it’s the only supercar built in America.

Acura shows no signs of slowing down, and that’s a very good thing for enthusiasts everywhere. It will keep making the NSX better. Hopefully, in another decade, Acura will celebrate the 40-year anniversary. 

2019 Acura NSX Track Test Review | Exotic tech, exhilarating performance

EAST LIBERTY, Ohio — The 2019 Acura NSX makes sonorous noises behind my ear as the tachometer soars toward 7,500 rpm. My hands grip the squared-off steering wheel a bit too hard as I scrub off about 60 mph and dive into the first corner of the Transportation Research Center (TRC) dynamic handling course. There’s 3,878 pounds of car beneath me, but the front tires do exactly what my hands tell them to, without hesitation, and I’m through the double apex corner without even thinking about the defiance of physics I just witnessed.

On paper, a nearly 4,000-pound track car makes no sense. Yet in practice, it’s just as tossable and eager to change direction as something much lighter. This is the NSX’s party trick, thanks to some magic with the suspension and all-wheel drive system on this car. And while the new NSX is a very different vehicle than its predecessor, it was born of a similar spirit of innovation and forward thinking.

The original Acura NSX hit the streets in 1991, establishing a new set of rules for every supercar released since. Constructed of an aluminum body — still an exotic material mainly used in competition vehicles — with curves that still drop jaws today, it was every bit as sophisticated as a Ferrari. But unlike Ferraris of the time, it was also reliable and easy to drive. Slide behind the wheel of a 1991 NSX, and you’ll be transported back to a time when outward visibility was still in style. You can see the ground right in front of the nose. Turn around, and there’s nothing blocking your view but a low wing. It’s essentially a bubble canopy.

Acura knows owners of the original NSX, your author included, absolutely love this about their cars. The effort to make the cockpit of the NSX similar is appreciated, even if modern crash standards prevent a perfect implementation. There are other subtle throwbacks. Every original NSX made a distinctive intake whine when winding it up to 8,000 rpm, and the new NSX has real intake noise physically pumped into the cabin to replicate this sweet sound all the way through the rev band. Another echo of the original is the simplified, sedate dash layout — eminently usable and likely to age well. A simplified version of the new RDX infotainment system would have fit the bill, too, but sadly it’s not present.

2019 Acura NSX2019 Acura NSX2019 Acura NSX2019 Acura NSX

Under way, however, the generational similarities cease. Our time on this trip in the 2019 model was spent solely on track at TRC, and it was a wholly different experience from the old car. Take drive modes, of which the original had zero and the new model has several. Pop the center dial over to race mode, and the 2019 NSX idles loudly but inoffensively in our makeshift pit lane. Easing out onto the track, the nine-speed dual-clutch transmission holds onto low gears awaiting a takeoff run. After pit exit, all 573 horsepower and 476 pound-feet of torque are unleashed. Acceleration is instant. There’s no waiting for the turbos attached to the 3.5-liter V6 to spool up, because the electric motor sends a shock through your system straight away. The original NSX, with its naturally-aspirated V6, is lovely but has no answer for the high-tech assistance the new NSX gets from turbocharging and its wild hybrid system.

When the second-generation NSX came out for the 2016 model year, the steering drew complaints. This refresh focused heavily on fine-tuning the steering and suspension, and it worked. Front and rear stabilizer bars are 26 percent and 19 percent stiffer respectively. Rear toe link bushings are 21 percent stiffer, and rear hub rigidity has increased by 6 percent. Much-improved tires — the Continental SportContact 6s — replace the less sticky SportContact 5Ps. Tying it all together is a total recalibration of the SH-AWD system, magnetorheological dampers, electric power steering and stability control settings. If you want the Pirelli Trofeo R rubber, it’s still available as well, but we didn’t get to try those out.

2019 Acura NSX

It all works together perfectly, creating that quasi-telepathic connection that the best drivers’ cars have. Of course, it sets blazing lap times with ease, something the original can’t touch. But there’s also an impeccable balance through long sweepers. The car doesn’t feel like it wants to oversteer, but it’s easy to kick the rear end out in corners, then control it with the throttle in race mode. Stability control is still there, imperceptible but under the surface, and it doesn’t interfere with the fun. You can switch it off entirely if you’d like. The operation of the SH-AWD system, sending power front and rear, is apparent as it yanks you through corners.

The magic is that the complex torque vectoring spits you out on the other side of the corner, making it feel like you did it all by yourself, rather than with the help of a lot of computing power. That could easily make the NSX feel cold and clinical, but it doesn’t. It produces grins that last long after you’re off the track.

Subtle, but tasteful changes were made to the design, too. A new orange paint color is available (it seemed popular during our tour of the NSX’s Performance Manufacturing Center in Ohio) along with a blue and black interior scheme. Full red leather is another new option if you were looking to pop some eyeballs. The front beak directly above the grille was silver before, but now is painted in whichever paint color you choose — a huge improvement. Acura made several cost options standard too, like the four-way power seats, ELS audio system, navigation and proximity sensors.

Driving feel is something that the original NSX did better and arguably still does better than nearly any other car on the road. Gordon Murray thought the connection between the driver and road was so perfect in the original NSX, that he sought to make the McLaren F1 emulate it. Now that’s a compliment.

But I’m not prepared to say the new one matches it. Electric steering can never offer as intimate of a connection to the road as the manual steering in the original NSX does. This is where we’re supposed to accept the inevitable march of “better” technologies, but there’s still a bug in my head telling me it could be better. Getting the 2019 NSX out onto real roads will be the test to see how much it’s improved. For a track, it was good enough with the tires talking to me and some amount of simulated road feel.

While the 2019 NSX updates seem small on paper, the sum is appreciable. You keep the neck-breaking acceleration, but the rest of the car is taken up another notch. It’s no Type R-style upgrade, but think of it as going part-way there.

2019 Acura NSX

All of this extra equipment and performance comes with a small price hike. The 2019 NSX starts at $159,300 including destination charges, a $1,500 increase. If you were to tack on some options, the price begins to approach $200,000, which hurts the value proposition it is at base price. We tested cars with the $10,600 carbon ceramic brake rotors. You probably don’t need them, but if you’re going to be using this car for what’s it’s designed to do, they’re the most important option box to check.

Another roadblock to success the NSX faces is the stiffer competition today versus when the original went on sale in 1991. Nobody expects supercar sales to be robust, but Acura sold just 11 NSXs in September this year. The original NSX died off because Acura couldn’t sell any of them, and they were significantly more expensive by the end of production. Now Acura has to deal with the Audi R8, McLaren 570S and even the 911 Turbo at or near its price point. Those cars are no slouches themselves.

Living up to the legendary reputation of the first Japanese supercar is difficult too. The original NSX is a tough act to follow, particularly in terms of driving feel. But the new NSX is so incredibly dazzling on track, it’s easy to forgive the few areas in need of some polish. The bottom line is that the ’19s gain welcome and noticeable improvements that make it a better supercar. Consider me smitten.

Related Video:

2019 Acura NSX Gets A Refresh

Acura’s Mid-engine Hybrid Receives Chassis Upgrades, New Color & More Standard Features

The 2019 Acura NSX receives the model’s first refresh, after its market debut some 2 years ago. The refresh is relatively minimalist in nature – as far as these kind of things go – with the mid-engine hybrid AWD supercar benefiting from some chassis tweaks, aesthetic enhancements and introduction of more standard equipment. The NSX retains the 573-horsepower, twin-turbocharged V6 with 3 electric motors and 9-speed DCT used in previous years.

The NSX debuted with its new swag at ‘The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering’ event on the Monterey Peninsula in California. Most notable on display, was the new ‘Thermal Orange’ paint color option ($750 USD). Other exterior changes include the front grille upper section now being finished in the main body color (previously chrome).

Arguably, the most important changes come in the form of improvements to the chassis which include new Continental SportContact tires, a stiffer suspension setup and calibrations to the vehicle’s software, which directs the SH-AWD system, active dampers, electric power steering and stability control system.

Acura claims that all of these changes translate to a 26 percent and 19 percent stiffer front and rear anti-roll bar respectively, and ultimately provide better grip and more precise handling feedback to the driver. These upgrades were made in a direct response to the previous car’s tendency to be over-sensitive to weight transfer on corner entry, resulting in generally undesirable moments of oversteer.

Engineers modified chassis components, tires and software tuning to make NSX even more responsive to the will of the driver, elevating performance driving in all circumstances, from daily driving to the circuit. At the limit, the NSX’s balance, playfulness and controllability have improved, allowing the driver to more precisely modulate understeer and oversteer with subtle throttle inputs. – Acura Press Release

Acura further notes that the newest NSX will complete a lap of its home course, Suzuka Circuit, 2 seconds faster than before.

Now standard in the Acura NSX are the ELS premium audio system, power sport seats, navigation, proximity sensors and sport pedals – altogether costing $4,700 USD in options on the previous NSX. While the base price of the 2019 Acura NSX is $157,500 USD – $1,500 more than last year’s model – one could argue that the NSX is actually getting a price cut with the aforementioned $4,700 in options now being standard fare.

Acura NSX roadster finally on its way this year?

Autobild put together a slideshow forecasting various convertibles due to arrive from 2018 to 2023. The long-prophesied Acura NSX roadster graced the first slide, reportedly prepped for market launch later this year at a price of 200,000 euros. That’s about 13,000 euros more spendy than the hardtop, a relative bargain. Don’t call your Goldman private banker yet, though — that Autobild slide is likely as close as any of us will get to said roadster this year.

We’ve been doing the hokey pokey with the droptop NSX for at least six years now. In 2012 an eager enthusiast corps thought a European patent might have revealed the convertible supercar, only to realize it was Acura protecting Tony Stark’s screen gem in The Avengers (pictured). In 2016, Autocar reported that Honda viewed the NSX as a platform for experiment and tests of developing technology that “help [Honda] understand where the brand is going.” Those brand explorations meant Honda was “contemplating convertible, lightweight, non-hybrid and all-electric versions.”

In 2017, Internet snoopers happened on patent images for a droptop coupe first dubbed the “Baby NSX,” then potentially the ZSX after more snooping dug up a trademarked name. Even though production plans for a “Small NSX” actually did exist, dated to before 2008, the Small NSX/BabyNSX/ZSX turned out to be the Honda Sports Vision GranTurismo entry when Honda couldn’t make a business case for the genuine article.

Here we are staring down the same wishing well. Last year Acura sold 137 NSXs in the U.S. through the end of Q1, and so far this year only 67 coupes found buyers in that time. We know the NSX is a halo car, but halos work to best effect when they’re visible. So all we know now is that the talented hybrid would do well with any variant that would get it more visibility, of the top-down kind, the Type R kind, perhaps a road-legal, non-hybrid GT3 kind, or any other.

Related Video:

Acura NSX ScienceofSpeed Dream Project brings another wing to SEMA

Acura rolled into SEMA last year with its non-hybrid NSX GT3 race car, that FIA spec-series competitor pulled to Vegas on a trailer behind a GT3-themed Acura MDX. Sticking with the GT3 theme this year but going road-legal, Acura worked with Arizona-based ScienceofSpeed on a GT3 package that NSX owners can put in driveways. The result is the lower, more powerful, more wing-y NSX “Dream Project.”

Liquid-cooled injecting for the twin-turbo boosts output, adding 37 horsepower for a total of 610, and another 31 pound-feet of torque to register 507. A lightweight steel exhaust sheds 16 pounds and bestows those magnified numbers with magnified bass. A custom suspension drops the coupe by a little more than an inch, a custom iLIFT suspension add-on automatically raises the front axle two inches if the NSX detects a hurdle.

The ScienceofSpeed aero kit includes all you’d expect from the alphanumeric “GT3:” front strakes, wider rocker panels, larger rear diffuser, a rear wing, gold powdercoated carbon ceramic Brembo brakes, and wider Pirelli Trofeo R tires wrapped around Advan GT forged wheels. Drench the package in two-tone Andaro Nouvelle Blue Pearl and gloss black roof, and the NSX Dream Project’s ready to be driven from climate-controlled garage, to parking-lot car show, back to climate-controlled garage. If the owner decides to test a limit or two, Recaro Pole Position seats and a gaugeART OLED display will keep him locked in and informed.

Related Video:

Buy a new NSX and you can put the badges on as it rolls off the line in Ohio

Acura announced today that new NSX owners now have an opportunity to see their cars being built at the Performance Manufacturing Center (PMC) in Marysville, Ohio. At the starting price of $2,700, owners can participate in the “NSX Insider Experience” in which they’ll tour the factory, as well as the Honda Heritage Center. The latter of which houses a HondaJet, an iteration of ASIMO, Honda’s famous humanoid robot, and other pieces of Honda history. Owners on the tour also have the chance to talk with people on the assembly line about how it all comes together, and can even install the badges on their very own cars.

If that’s not enough, Honda offers a few other optional extras to make the trip special. They can add a tour of the factory in Anna, Ohio, where the NSX engines are made, as well as sign up for a performance driving experience in a new NSX. The driving portion is available in two- and four-hour sessions, and it takes place at the Transportation Research Center, which doubles as Acura’s NSX proving grounds. Of course these extras will add to the cost, as will bringing guests.

Honda even offers help with travel planning through Acura Concierge. The service can book your flight and other travel arrangements. It will also allow you to stay at the special NSX suite at the Joseph Hotel in Columbus, Ohio. Acura didn’t go into detail as to what makes the suite specific to the NSX, but we’re sure it’s a nice place nonetheless. NSX owners interested in the program should check out the program’s website, here. For people without the means to buy an NSX, you can still get a look into the factory by checking out our visit to the facility.

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