The RSX has taken the baton from the Integra and is carrying the performance torch for the Acura/Honda badge in the performance compact scene. At least until the Civic Si hatchback hits and pumps some much-needed life into the ailing Civic lineup.
Under the hood, the RSX Type-S (read Integra GS-R) flexes a 1.8-liter DOHC four that belts out 200 horses at the flywheel with a lofty 7,900-rpm redline, 11.0:1 static compression and Honda's iVTEC valvetrain. In the Type-S, Honda has unleashed an evolutionary step in its continuously adjusted camshaft phasing controlled by dynamic oil pressure. The new VTEC effect packs a wallop and we were anxious to follow up our simulated RSX tuning article in the October issue with the real deal. We ran some baseline dyno tests at the McMullen Argus Tech Center and netted a 163.9 wheel horsepower reading. The RSX was then delivered to Borla Industries in Oxnard, Calif. Borla's tech team set-off to develop a system that would deliver the knockout punch the Type-S needed. Less than two weeks later we picked up the car and were greeted by an outstanding exhaust note. The Borla system sounded mean when at WOT but seemed to know when to calm down as it provided subdued tones in cruising mods. The car felt quicker but with little seat time prior to the installation it was hard to tell if this was wishful thinking. Off To The Dyno Cell
Back behind the Orange Curtain (Orange County) it was time to see if our seat-of-the-pants impressions were correct. The RSX was again strapped to the Dynojet and the rollers were set in motion. When we hit the sampling button, we were greeted by a readout of 176.6 hp, which calculated to an 12.7-hp jump in output--quite a nice jump. Borla's own tests showed a 12.3-hp jump with a 160.5-hp baseline and a 172.8 peak. The difference in baseline numbers could be attributed to better, cooler air in Oxnard or the RSX baseline run could have been a hotter run at one facility and a colder run at the other. The bottom line here is how close the power gain numbers are. In the realm of dyno testing .4 hp is dead on.
The Borla exhaust is constructed of T-304 stainless steel and features 2.5-inch diameter piping, mandrel bends throughout and a straight-through muffler design. The system is terminated with a polished rolled tip that looks right at home on the Acura and sounds better.
Will the RSX be as popular as the Integra it replaces? This question will be answered in time. But for those who want more thrust when they drop the hammer Borla has the goods; there is no question about that.
The Borla system shows improvement everywhere you look throughout the powerband. Peak power checks in at 176.6, an 12.7-horse improvement over stock. Torque jumped from 123.0 to 130.8 lbs-ft. Also of note is the aggressive jump as the iVTEC effect hits at about 5,700 rpm. This surge of power is much more apparent than previous VTEC engines and can really be felt in the cockpit.