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Auto blogFri, 31 May 2013 11:57:00 EST
Refinement Rather Than Revolution
Before we get into the meat and potatoes of the 2014 Acura MDX, let's pause for just a moment and talk about the current, still-sitting-at-dealerships 2013 model. It's a pretty good machine. Perhaps guilty only of falling to the backburners of our minds in recent years because, well, the old girl's not gotten any younger. But every time we drove this second-generation MDX, our thoughts were the same - good to drive, pleasant to sit in and a pretty decent value.
Acura's customers felt the same way, and so when it came time to design and engineer the third-generation MDX, the vehicle's formula wasn't shaken up at all. Despite the fact that it uses a brand-new platform and offers a host of upgrades, the key points addressed by the company's engineers were the specific requests of customers and shoppers in the segment - changes that amounted to nothing radical. After all, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.
It's not often that things owned by the late Ayrton Senna come up for sale, but the seller of this black-on-black 1993 Honda NSX (aka, Acura NSX) eBay find claims it was once owned by the Formula One legend, and that he left a footprint on the factory carpet that can still be seen today. (Footprint, or vacuum lines?...)
NSX no. T000999 was given to Senna as a gift from his mentor and sponsor, Antonio de Almeida Braga, the seller claims, and it was stored at a palace near the Estoril F1 circuit in Portugal. He also was known to drive two other NSXs, a black one and a red one - the latter in which he was seen often.
The seller claims to have owned T000999, which is still in Portugal, for 17 years, and the 31,000-mile odometer indicates it was driven about 1,500 miles per year on average. Thankfully the car has been kept stock, so whoever buys it can enjoy driving it just as Senna did - that is, if the car actually is what it's claimed to be. If the story checks out, then this is one valuable NSX, which is reflected in the high minimum starting bid of 47,500 pounds ($73,620). There have been no bids at time of writing, but with nine days left in the auction, we'll be keeping our eyes on this one.
Motorweek's decades of history on television make it the perfect medium to look back into the automotive past and see how things are different now. It recently added old road test videos to its YouTube channel of the Acura NSX and Toyota Supra, as well as the Ferrari F40. For one of its newest flashback clips, Motorweek has exhumed an affordable five-car challenge of 1986's premiere hot hatches.
By today's standards, this is an eclectic field that features fondly remembered classics like the Volkswagen GTI 16-valve and Acura Integra. However, it also throws in some nearly forgotten contenders like the Dodge Colt Turbo and Ford Escort GT. The angular Toyota Corolla FX16 GT-S rounds out the group.
It's fascinating to watch Motorweek run the quintet through the slalom, down the drag strip and on various roads. What's most striking in this clip is the difference in the definition of a performance car between then and now. With its 16-valve, 1.8-liter four-cylinder, the GTI is the burliest of the contenders with 123 horsepower, but it still takes 8.8 seconds to reach 60 miles per hour. By today's standards, that would make it a plain-jane economy car, and not even a particularly quick one.