Since its debut in July of 2001, the RSX sports coupe has been an unqualified success, selling 35,595 units in its first year and winning an array of industry awards, including being named to Car and Driver's "10 Best" and Ward's "10 Best Engines" lists. For its sophomore season, the 2003 RSX continues to deliver a potent mix of i-VTEC™ performance, sports car handling and Acura refinement.
"The RSX offers the performance that enthusiasts crave, but the level of refinement makes it competitive with vehicles from Mercedes and BMW," says Dick Colliver, executive vice president, auto sales. "The demand for this car started out remarkably strong and has kept on growing."
The RSX is available in two versions, the sporty RSX and the high-performance RSX Type-S. Both models are powered by advanced engines that feature i-VTEC "intelligent" valve-control systems, combining VTEC (Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control) with VTC (Variable Timing Control). The i-VTEC system delivers enhanced performance across a broad power band in addition to improved fuel economy and reduced exhaust emissions.
To deliver a race-bred driving experience, the RSX is equipped with a 16-valve, DOHC, 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine that produces an impressive 160 horsepower and 141 lb.-ft. of torque. The RSX comes with either a 5-speed manual transmission or an optional 5-speed Sequential SportShift automatic transmission that operates like a conventional automatic or, in SportShift mode, puts gear selection in the hands of the driver. The automatic transmission also features Grade Logic Control, which reduces shift frequency by holding the engine in a lower gear for better hill climbing and increased engine braking.
The potent Type-S version of the RSX uses a high-flow intake manifold and exhaust system in combination with i-VTEC to produce a remarkable 200 horsepower and 142 lb.-ft. of torque. It is equipped exclusively with a 6-speed, close-ratio manual transmission with double and triple-cone synchronizers for precise, short-throws and ultra-positive shift feel.
Remarkably, given their considerable power, both RSX engines meet stringent Low Emissions Vehicle-II (LEV-2) standards and are designed to run for 110,000 miles before the first scheduled tune-up.
To meet the demands of the true driving enthusiast, chassis engineers developed all-new suspension and steering systems for exceptional handling precision, outstanding cornering grip and a smooth, controlled ride.
The RSX utilizes a high-mounted rack-and-pinion power steering system that increases tracking stability, toe control and steering feel. In front, a unique Control-Link MacPherson strut suspension, designed specifically for the RSX, enhances cornering performance while minimizing weight and maximizing interior room. Compared to conventional strut designs, this system provides superior suspension geometry and control by adding a control link to precisely manage toe change throughout the suspension travel.
At the rear, the RSX features a new, compact double-wishbone system that helps deliver quick, confident handling, and a smooth, compliant ride while maximizing interior room.
Gas-pressurized shock absorbers precisely control suspension stroke to smooth out the bumps while front and rear stabilizer bars reduce body roll. On the Type-S, the track-tuned suspension is optimized with firmer springs and dampers, a front strut tower bar and a rear performance rod.
Standard 4-wheel disc brakes with a 3-channel Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) help to provide secure stopping power. The RSX is equipped with 10.3-inch ventilated discs in front and 10.2-inch discs at the rear. To match its additional performance capabilities, the RSX Type-S uses larger 11.8-inch ventilated discs up front. Each RSX model wears beefy 205/55R16 Michelin all-season high-performance tires on five-spoke alloy wheels.
The exterior styling of the RSX communicates a message of power and precision through short front and rear overhangs, sweeping curves and sharply chiseled accent lines. Bright multi-reflector headlights, a deeply beveled chin spoiler and a signature five-sided Acura grille highlight a distinctive front fascia, while thin A- and B-pillars and compound-curved window glass provide exceptional visibility all around.
The interior of the RSX features a "driver-oriented" cockpit with large-diameter, metallic-face gauges. A thick, sporty, three-spoke, leather-wrapped steering wheel is standard. Ample head, shoulder, hip and legroom ensure a comfortable ride for both front and rear passengers, while a 16.0-cubic-foot cargo area and 50/50 split fold-down rear seats deliver abundant storage capacity and flexibility.
Standard safety highlights include Acura's innovative dual-stage air bag system, which deploys the air bags at different rates depending on the severity of the collision. In a high-speed collision, the air bags deploy at full speed while during a moderate collision, the front air bags deploy in two stages with less initial force. The RSX also includes side-impact protection pads and dual seatbelt pretensioners on both front seats.
While yet to be tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the RSX is expected to achieve a 5-star NCAP rating for frontal impact, a 4-star SINCAP rating for side impact and is also expected to garner a "good" (highest rating possible) Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rating for front offset impact.
Standard amenities on all RSX models include an Automatic Climate Control System, power moonroof, high-output audio system with in-dash CD player, keyless entry system with anti-theft engine immobilizer, power mirrors, and power windows with an auto-up/down feature on the driver's window. The deeply bolstered sport seats of the RSX are made from handsome fabric with simulated suede trim. Perforated leather seating surfaces are optional on the RSX and standard on the RSX Type-S.
Like all Acura models, the 2003 RSX is covered by a comprehensive 4-year/50,000 mile bumper-to-bumper limited warranty. Additional ownership benefits include Acura Total Luxury Care (TLC), which provides free 24-hour roadside assistance, concierge service and trip routing.
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