Long stuck in the back of the luxury pack, Acura hopes to rebuild its image with the launch of an edgy new show car, the Acura Precision Concept, at the upcoming Detroit Auto Show.
With its long nose, sleekly raked windshield, broad shoulders and coupe-like roofline, the prototype is intended to help revive Acura’s reputation for delivering cutting-edge alternatives to traditional German luxury cars. In recent years, it has often been faulted for less stellar designs like the compact Acura ILX.
The new Precision Concept will share the stage with another Acura halo vehicle, the final production version of the NSX. The supercar went through a number of later changes that pushed back its official market launch, but it will finally reach showrooms in February, at a starting price of $156,000.
The coming year will make Acura’s 30th anniversary. When it made its debut three decades ago, it was the first Japanese standalone luxury brand, and models like the original Legend and Integra attracted a flood of buyers who were looking for a stylish, technically sophisticated alternative to traditional Detroit and European luxury cars.
But Acura lost momentum over the years. It abandoned its familiar nameplates for confusing and largely forgettable alphanumeric alternatives. It failed to retain its tech and design leadership, and it was undercut by new Japanese competitors Lexus and Infiniti, as well as by resurgent German brands.
In recent years, Acura has largely had to depend on its truck products – models like the big MDX generating more than 100,000 sales so far this year.
But the brand intends to prove it can be a broader, more viable competitor, and products like the NSX and show cars like the Acura Precision Concept are intended to give a good hint at where it’s headed.
The maker isn’t saying much about the Precision Concept beyond revealing it will make its debut at the Detroit Auto Show on January 12, though Acura’s U.S. chief, John Ikeda, calls it “a very strong and promising direction for the next generation of Acura design.”
(Acura intends to signal its back with pair of costly Super Bowl 50 ads. Click Here for more.)
Precisely what products might pick up on the new styling is unclear, though there are hints that the show car might signal the launch of an all-new model. And there are also subtle clues suggesting that Acura might return to a more classic model name when that happens. Many once-loyal fans would be pleased to hear of the return of the Legend.
The long nose, meanwhile, could signal a more classic luxury powertrain layout, a longitudinal design powering the rear wheels. But such details likely won’t come out until the Acura Precision Concept formally debuts next month – if the maker is ready to reveal even that much in Detroit.
As to the Acura NSX, the maker decided to work up a few changes following the debut of the supposed production model at the Detroit show last January, and that has pushed back its official sales launch until now.
An online configurator will pop up on the Acura website on February 25th and buyers and fanboys will discover a starting price well and above that of the original NSX, even adjusted for inflation.
That’s no surprise considering the far more complex nature of the new 2-seater, starting with the distinctive powertrain pairing a turbocharged V-6 with three separate electric motors
Acura is picking up on Porsche’s playbook, offering a wide range of options that, Ikeda said, will push the all-in price of the 2017 NSX to $206,000.
(Luxury car sales expected to set a record in December. Click Here for more.)
If you don’t want to wait until late February to get your NSX, you might want to book a flight to Phoenix late next month and sign up for a paddle at the annual Barrett-Jackson Auction.
There had long been debate about which of two celebrity fanboys would get Acura NSX VIN #00001, Jay Leno or Jerry Seinfeld. Either one of them still might, but they’ll have to bid for the privilege along with other, less well-known collectors. Acura says it will use the proceeds of the sale for two charities, the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation and Camp Southern Ground.
(Honda to introduce all-new Ridgeline pickup at Detroit Auto Show. Click Here for more.)