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Car And Driver Magazine Wins First-Ever RSX Challenge LAS VEGAS, Nev. - 11/1/2005

Acura today announced Car and Driver as the winner of the first-ever RSX Challenge. In a close competition that came down to the final event, the magazine's blue and black Comptech-supercharged 2005 RSX Type-S narrowly edged out the competition. In a second-place tie were Honda Tuning and Super Street magazines, both missing the top spot by a mere 10 points.

Car and Driver's win extended from a near sweep of the track events, plus being the crowd favorite at one of two car show competitions. Technical director Larry Webster drove the RSX Type-S to victory in the handling, braking and quarter mile competitions, despite having the second-lowest horsepower output of the six cars.

Super Street and Honda Tuning tied for second place with wildly different cars. The Super Street entry boasted a turbocharged engine by Top Fuel, while Honda Tuning's engine was naturally aspirated. Editor John Naderi drove the Super Street car to second in every track competition except braking, where a bias problem caused an unusually long stop. Honda Tuning, on the other hand, was mid-pack in most of the track testing, but scored an extra 100 points when it was the only car to pass the mandatory emissions "sniffer" test. Solid showings at the two car shows kept the magazine in contention right until the end.

Car and Driver was ultimately crowned the winner at the 2005 SEMA show and awarded a custom carbon fiber and aluminum trophy designed and constructed by American Honda's Special Projects department.

About The Challenge

The RSX Challenge pitted six magazines against each other in a competition of tuning, style and driving. Car and Driver, Honda Tuning, Import Performance (formerly Import Racer), Import Tuner, Speed magazine and Super Street were each supplied with a new 2005 Acura RSX Type-S to modify.

They were then encouraged to partner with specialty equipment manufacturers to enhance the cars' horsepower, handling and appearance. Teams were not allowed to alter the basic structure of the RSX, the cars had to retain the original engine layout and location, and they had to utilize a minimum of two A-Spec components supplied by Acura Accessory Marketing.

All cars were judged on performance, emissions compliance and appearance. Track tests were conducted by AAA at California Speedway in Fontana, Calif., and included a slalom course, road course, _-mile acceleration and 60-0 mph braking. Horsepower output was measured on a chassis dyno at an independent facility, and each car was subjected to an emissions "sniffer" test administered at an AAA facility. Finally, all six cars were judged on appearance at two car shows, one at Acura's headquarters in Torrance, Calif. and another at the NHRA Sport Compact World Finals at Pomona Raceway in Pomona, Calif.

The magazines modified their cars as follows:

  • Car and Driver worked closely with Comptech and Mugen importer King Motorsports, supercharging their RSX and equipping it with sophisticated chassis modifications featuring Moton adjustable external-reservoir shocks, King Motorsports' competition spring set and Stop Tech brakes. Technical director Larry Webster drove the RSX at the track, beating the competition in all the driving contests except the slalom. The combination of Mugen styling enhancements and custom paint proved popular in the style competitions.
  • Honda Tuning commissioned After Hours Automotive to build its naturally aspirated K20A2 engine. Individual throttle bodies for each cylinder, a fully prepped block, lightweight pistons and a host of other upgrades combined to make this the most powerful naturally aspirated car, the third most powerful tested in the competition, and the only one to pass the emissions test. Contributing writer Dru Barrios drove the Honda Tuning car in all the track competitions. A Buddy Club kit and carbon fiber hood were subtle modifications that let the RSX's styling speak for itself.
  • Import Performance (formerly Import Racer)also went the naturally aspirated route, working with Toda Racing. The engine upgrades included a bump in displacement to 2.1-liters thanks to a stroker crankshaft, piston, and connecting rod combination.
    The Progress Group supplied an adjustable race suspension, and the Brembo Gran Turismo brake system put editor Ty Rodriguez solidly in third during the braking competition. A wicked Veilside body kit and Chargespeed carbon fiber hatch kept the styling contests close.
  • Import Tuner brought the biggest stick to the competition with its Skunk2-built turbocharged car. So powerful it lost traction on the dyno, it still registered nearly three times the horsepower of the stock RSX Type-S on hand. Moton race shocks combined with Skunk2's adjustable racing suspension and big AP Racing brakes for the track, but driver and feature editor Joey Leh was only able to compete in the road course before the mighty engine broke. The C-West aero kit and carbon fiber GT wing were just as extreme as the engine, and garnered many approving votes at the NHRA styling competition
  • Speed magazine worked closely with GReddy and Cosworth on its engine. The chassis was tuned with KW Suspension coilovers, thicker anti-roll bars and Stop Tech brakes, a combination that allowed technical editor Dan Barnes to win the slalom competition and come in a close second in the braking competition. The only exterior modifications were a Seibon carbon fiber hood and hatch and unique black polka-dot graphics package from Graphicsworks.
  • Super Street came in second in the horsepower shootout, thanks to a Top Fuel turbo system that included a bottom end rebuilt with JE pistons, Carillo connecting rods and Darton sleeves. Tien supplied its Flex coilovers, which combined with Type R anti-roll bars for on-track grip that earned driver and editor-in-chief John Naderi solid second-place finishes in the slalom and road course. White carbon fiber front fenders and hood combined with the Carisma side skirts and rear bumpers to handily win the styling contest at the NHRA finals.

Scoring Results

1/4 Mile
Magazine Time Points
Car and Driver 13.521@ 105.24 100
Honda Tuning 13.998 @ 105.85 80
Import Performance 4.219 @ 99.39 60
Import Tuner DNF 50
Speed 14.144 @ 104.56 70
Super Street 13.611 @ 105.89 90
Magazine Time Points
Car and Driver 8.4 80
Honda Tuning 8.57 70
Import Performance 9.29 60
Import Tuner DNF 50
Speed 8.07 100
Super Street 8.1 90
Magazine Time Points
Car and Driver 1.27.32 100
Honda Tuning 1.30.88 60
Import Performance 1.30.90 50
Import Tuner 1.30.51 70
Speed 1.29.82 80
Super Street 1.28.81 90
Magazine 60-0 Feet Points
Car and Driver 110.44 100
Honda Tuning 143.11 70
Import Performance 133.26 80
Import Tuner DNF 50
Speed 124.59 90
Super Street 171.1 60
Dyno Challenge
Magazine Horsepower Points
Car and Driver 232.6 70
Honda Tuning 247.8 80
Import Performance 225.5 60
Import Tuner 502.8 100
Speed DNF 50
Super Street 329.2 90
Magazine Pass/Fail Points
Car and Driver Fail 0
Honda Tuning Pass 100
Import Performance Fail 0
Import Tuner Fail 0
Speed Fail 0
Super Street Fail 0
Car Show at Acura Headquarters
Magazine Points
Car and Driver 100
Honda Tuning 60
Import Performance 70
Import Tuner 80
Speed 50
Super Street 90
Car Show at NHRA
Magazine Points
Car and Driver 70
Honda Tuning 90
Import Performance 60
Import Tuner 90
Speed 50
Super Street 100
Final Total
Magazine Points
Car and Driver 620
Honda Tuning 610 (tie)
Super Street 610 (tie)
Import Tuner 490 (tie)
Speed 490 (tie)
Import Performance 440