Parting is such sweet sorrow-especially when you're turning your back on the Acura RSX project car. We only had the RSX Type-S for a few months, but it doesn't take long to become enamored with its hard-hitting i-VTEC enhanced power curve, sultry silhouette and stout suspension.

To refresh your memory, we added a Borla cat-back exhaust system to the Acura and netted 12.7 hp at the wheels (see December 2001, Turbo "Dyno Cell"). Then visual appeal was addressed with a factory wing and body kit from Acura of Mission Viejo. Coming from the factory and dealer installed, the kit's cost and installation can be financed into the purchase price of the vehicle. The kit is delivered pre-painted, expediting installation, whether it's bolted on at a dealership or by the owner. In the past, OE kits have been mundane, but the RSX kit really transforms the look of the car without betraying the spirit of its design.

Along with the body mods, Eibach springs were enlisted to drop the sporty coupe (March 2002, Turbo) and this was followed with Wilwood brakes (May 2002, Turbo). For our parting shot, we'll address the creature comfort quotient and take a final stab at maximizing the suspension.

Tunes are also big-time important-especially to those spending a lot of time behind the wheel on business or daily commuting. While OE audio systems have come a long way, many cannot capture the soul of the music. For enthusiasts who do more than listen to traffic reports on AM radio, there's a lot out there.

For our project, we started with an Alpine CDA 7873 head unit. The CDA 7873 AM/FM CD receiver screams high-tech with its multitude of features, which include an Ai changer control to run a number of Alpine CD changers, V-Drive internal 60x4 amplifier, three pre-amp outputs with subwoofer level control. The unit is XM satellite radio ready.

For our needs, we wired an Alpine V12 amplifier to power Boston Rally RC620 6.5-inch mid-range speakers and a Boston Competition Series 1000 10-inch subwoofer, which is housed in a standard enclosure. This new set-up added a distinct authority to the sound coming from the Acura. The bass was deeper and more intense, while the highs and mids were cleaner.

As far as road holding is concerned, the car is on the fast track, but we wanted to dial a bit more lateral stability into the RSX. With springs addressed, the next logical step was to upgrade the anti-roll bars. The whimpy OE offering was discarded in favor of a one-inch tubular unit from Hotchkis Performance. The Hotchkis bar's tubular contruction reduces unsprung weight while delivering superior stability compared to the solid stock bar. We attest to the value of anti-roll bars after driving the Supra 7 on the "Trek 2 Texas" with no bars at all onboard. It was downright scary.

But we're still a bit surprised when we feel the difference made with better bars. In the case of the RSX, we noticed the car was more in tune with the road, remaining level and stable through a corner. This also meant it reacted quicker when faced with multiple S curves. Weight transfer was under control and the Acura felt much more nimble in even slightly spirited driving.

The RSX is a hit. It was a popular sight at the 2002 Tokyo Auto Salon and America's own 2002 SEMA International Auto Salon. With 200 hp and 142 lb-ft of torque at the end of the throttle cable and six speeds at the end of the shifter, it's apparent the Type-S is popular with driving enthusiasts. We only wish we had more time with this car.

SOURCE
Boston Acoustics
978-538-5000
mobile.bostonacoustics.com
DAZZ/Racing Hart
5121 Commerce Dr.
Baldwin Park
CA  91706
Hotchkis Performance
12035 Burke St., Ste. 13
Santa Fe Springs
CA  90670
877-466-7655
www.hotchkis.net
Alpine
310-326-8000
www.alpine-usa.com
Mission Viejo Acura