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New Boss Aims to Transform Acura into Luxury Leader

New products, new technologies needed to get "butts in seats."

by on Apr.24, 2014

Mike Accavitti with a prototype Acura TLX.

Considering the cost of bringing a car to market, every new vehicle is important, but few more so than the 2014 Acura TLX making its first public appearance at the New York Auto Show this week.

Acura has scored a pair of solid hits with its two SUV models, the RDX and bigger MDX, but as the third sedan in the Acura line-up, the TLX is meant to fill a critical gap between the Japanese maker’s entry-level ILX and its recently added flagship, the RLX.  It’s no easy challenge, going up against a range of major competitors such as the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, BMW 5-Series and Lexus GS lines.

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The TLX is “critically important,” suggests Mike Accavitti, the long-time Chrysler executive who was recently named head of the Acura division. “We have to start somewhere,” he adds.”

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Acura Introduces New Sport-Hybrid Performance System for RLX Flagship

Hybrid mileage, V-8 performance, sports car handling, Acura claims.

by on Nov.20, 2013

The 2014 Acura RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD.

Acura’s flagship RLX sedan is about to gain a new level of sophistication – as well as improved performance and fuel economy – with the debut of the new Sport Hybrid SH-AWD drive system at the LA Auto Show.

The 2014 Acura RLX becomes the first Honda product line to use the new three-motor hybrid system, an even more advanced version of which will be used to power the next-generation Acura NSX supercar. While the gas-electric system is expected to improve fuel economy compared to a conventional gasoline engine, Acura’s new SH-AWD technology also promises to boost both performance and handling by being able to direct power to both the front and rear axles of the 2014 RLX.

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The new version of the RLX will debut the latest of three new hybrid drivetrains developed by Honda to replace its original Integrated Motor Assist, or IMA system.  Each is targeted at a particular segment of the market, from the low-cost single-motor system in the Honda Civic to the new twin-motor drive of the 2014 Honda Accord to the new 3-motor hybrid that will be focused on the Acura brand.

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Acura Debuting RLX Sport Hybrid with SH-AWD in LA

Version of 3-motor hybrid system to also power new NSX.

by on Nov.01, 2013

Acura's RLX adopts a new, 3-motor hybrid drive.

Acura will introduce its new high-performance hybrid system at the L.A. Auto Show this month.  The through-the-road all-wheel-drive system will make its first appearance on the Acura RLX luxury sedan but will follow, in slightly modified form, on the reborn Acura NSX set to reach market by 2015.

The Acura RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD will become the new flagship of the Honda luxury brand’s line-up and, the maker claims, will deliver a blend of “V-8-like performance with 4-cylinder fuel economy,” in this case up to 30 miles per gallon in the combined city/highway cycle. It also promises more sure-footed handling, with the ability to direct torque, as needed, to improve cornering.

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The new version of the RLX will debut the latest of three new hybrid drivetrains developed by Honda to replace its original Integrated Motor Assist, or IMA system.  Each is targeted at a particular segment of the market, from the low-cost single-motor system in the Honda Civic to the new twin-motor drive of the 2014 Accord to the new 3-motor hybrid that will be focused on the Acura brand.

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Acura Planning to Show MDX Prototype

“Concept” likely to be production-ready – and introduce new electric AWD system.

by on Dec.13, 2012

A sketch of the new Acura MDX "prototype."

Acura will turn to the upcoming Detroit Auto Show to reveal a new prototype of its MDX crossover-utility vehicle. Sources tell TheDetroitBureau.com it may also use the opportunity to reveal an all-new electrically enhanced all-wheel-drive system that will go into production with the next-generation crossover.

For its part, the maker isn’t saying much about the new MDX. Beyond providing a sketch of the prototype, it suggests in a release that the 2014 model will adopt a new “’Aero Sculpture’ design language affecting both form and function.”

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The image indicates the show car, at least, will adopt a version of the much-maligned Acura grille that critics have dubbed the “beak,” though like other recent offerings, such as the production RLX flagship unveiled at last month’s LA Auto Show, it will be significantly downsized from the chromed sheath on the current MDX.

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Acura Unveils New RLX “Flagship” Concept

Offers new hybrid torque-vectoring technology.

by on Apr.05, 2012

The new Acura RLX flagship will be offered with a high-tech torque vectoring system.

Acura continues its efforts to reposition itself as a major luxury player, rather than an upscale also-ran, with the NY Auto Show unveiling of the all-new RLX “flagship.”

The new model  compliments several other recent product roll-outs, acting as the top-line counterpart to the new Acura ILX entry-luxury sedan.  The RLX, which upgrades the aging RL model, largely abandons the Acura brand’s much-maligned “beak” grille while introducing a more powerful engine family that includes a high-tech way of shifting torque to help steer through corners.

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The new model is the centerpiece of a design and engineering strategy that American Honda calls “human-centered engineering,” or as CEO Tetsuo Iwamura puts it, “man-maximum/machine-minimum.”

Though roughly the same size, the styling of the new RLX is more sporty and up-market than the outgoing RL – as well as most other recent Acura entries with the exception of the NSX supercar concept the maker previewed at the Detroit Auto Show last January.

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Acura Confirms Return of the NSX

Hybrid supercar concept to debut in Detroit.

by on Dec.12, 2011

Acura hinted that a new NSX might be coming with this prototype sports car used in the recent Iron Man 2 movie - though there'll be distinct differences when the real NSX concept appears in Detroit.

It’s been a long wait but TheDetroitBureau.com has confirmed first-hand that Acura will bring back the NSX nameplate, with a new concept version of the supercar making its debut at next month’s Detroit Auto Show.

The NSX will be the halo vehicle used to help put a halo around Honda’s luxury brand, which has been struggling to re-establish its identity while newer Asian luxury marques – notably Lexus and Infiniti – leave Acura in their dust.

Unlike the V-10 concept that Acura revealed a few years back, the new NSX will opt for a decidedly different approach for a supercar, adopting a specially-tuned version of the hybrid Super Handling All-Wheel-Drive system that the brand will offer in more mainstream models like the RL sedan and MDX crossover.  (For more on the new Electric SH-AWD system, Click Here.)

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The goal, is the “optimization of styling, performance and efficiency,” explained Gary Evert, head of Honda’s U.S. R&D operations, during a secret background session in Las Vegas earlier this month limited to only a handful of automotive media.  “We think this can be a real differentiator for the brand.”

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