An all-new Acura flagship is coming, and we could be seeing the concept as early as next week. According to multiple sources, the new model is still on track for its uneviling at the 2012 New York International Auto Show in early April.
Back in December we heard the yet-to-be-named RL successor(RLX?) was in development, and that it would be the first production Acura model to utilize the Earth Dreams hybrid SH-AWD system. The “Sport Hybrid SH-AWD” will be very similar to the one found in the future NSX, with a hybrid 3.5L V6 engine assisted by two independent 20kW+ motors. Of course with the NSX being mid-engined, the new flagship will have a reversed layout with the gas-electric V6 up front.
Combined with a 7-speed dual clutch transmission, the new system is said to have ”acceleration equivalent to V8 engines, as well as fuel efficiency equal or superior to in-line 4-cylinder engines.” The new sedan is also expected to grow larger on the inside, but overall dimensions should remain similar to the existing model.
Reports have suggested the next-generation Acura RL could go on sale by end of the year as a 2013 model.
Stay tuned for official announcements from Acura within the next week.
UPDATE: Acura’s official Twitter account @Acura_Insider confirms New York debut, details on live webcast coming soon.
While we’re patiently waiting for the arrival of the “Earth Dreams” CVT and 7-speed dual clutch transmissions, Automobile Magazine has suggested that Acura may utilize a 9-Speed Automatic developed by German supplier ZF by 2014.
An early press release from Honda had the new Earth Dreams electric SH-AWD system paired with Honda’s 7-speed dual clutch, but it still hasn’t been confirmed which models will receive the mentioned combination. According to the article, the next generation TL expected at the end of 2013 may be the first Acura to use the ZF “9HP” transmission.
More details at Automobile Magazine.
[Source: Automobile Magazine]
Here’s another First Drive Review from The Fast Lane Car, this time featuring the all-new 2013 Acura ILX. Again, driving impressions are embargoed until mid April, but host Roman Mica does admit the ILX feels more like a “baby BMW”.
See the video below or head over to The Fast Lane Car for more.
[Source: The Fast Lane Car via YouTube]
Here’s one of the first video reviews of the all-new 2013 Acura RDX in motion from The Fast Lane Car. Actual driving impressions of the vehicle are embargoed until the end of the month, but you can still see it in action and take a peek at some of its new features.
[Source: The Fast Lane Car via YouTube]
Details on the 2013 ILX and RDX have been trickling in from the Acura media event being held in Arizona this week.
Sale dates have been officially confirmed by Acura:
• 2013 ILX to go on-sale May 25th, 2012
• 2013 RDX to go on-sale April 2nd, 2012
Jeff from Temple of VTEC has been sharing some of the information, still not officially confirmed by Acura.
Here are some key points from Jeff:
• 2.0L to start at $27,000 (est), 2.4L and 1.5L hybrid models to start at $30,000 (est)
• 2.0L engine has a balancer shaft, Acura says it delivers performance that matches TSX 2.4 5AT
• All ILX trim levels feature Amplitude Reactive Dampers for improved maneuverabilty and ride comfort
• To be built and sold in North America and exported to China
• From a “premium” standpoint, the ILX is a pretty clear step above the 9th generation Civics. This is from the standpoint of build quality, features, materials, and design details.
• The ILX body is composed of 62% high strength steel, with aluminum hood and and bumper beams to keep body weight as low as possible
• Between the 3 trim levels, there’s a surprisingly tight range of curb weights – the base 2.0L version is the lightest at 2910lb, while the Hybrid Technology model tops out the range at 2987lb, for a span of a mere 77lb. The 2.4 6MT model (only offered in Premium trim) weighs 2978lb.
All good things must come to an end, and after 10 days and nearly 2000 kilometers travelled, our epic road tour through the Rockies came to a conclusion. I was happy to be heading home, but reluctant to hand over the ZDX back to Acura.
Performing like a sports sedan but with the toughness and utility of a crossover, it was as I expected, the perfect winter driving machine for our trip. Powering up steep climbs and navigating down curvy descents, through ice, snow, slush and rain, the ZDX was flawless. No vehicle is bulletproof in extreme road conditions, but extra measures like winter tires, adequate ground clearance and Super Handling-All Wheel Drive can be a defining advantage when you need to get out of a “snowy” situation. Still begging to be tested, the ZDX was by far the most capable vehicle I have ever taken on a road trip.
With one of the most luxurious and technology-packed interiors Acura has to offer, the ZDX’s spacious cabin was an absolute pleasure to ride in even after many hours on the road. The leather dash and surrounding leather trim mixed with the ambient light from the dual moon roofs to create a natural, comforting environment ideal for our long drives in the mountains. There was more than enough space for our two snowboards and luggage with the rear seats folded down, and the power tailgate was a nice touch for quick and easy loading. As an Acura, the ZDX is equipped with a ton of convenient features, all very intuitive and useful for making the trip that much more enjoyable.
I couldn’t keep count of all the heads that turned as they walked by the ZDX, most likely gripped by its unique and dramatic styling. One of its most noticeable characteristics, the long sloping roof line, is what really distinguishes it from the usual crossover varieties. From the front windshield, the industry-leading panoramic glass roof slowly curves over the top and towards the rear apex at the slightest angle, creating a distinctive silhouette that is elegant, but also aerodynamic and sporty. I love the sharp edge that arches over the rear wheels and along the side of the vehicle, it adds an aggressive flair to the ZDX’s bold, muscular figure. More to its “coupe-like” appearance are hidden rear door handles which at some angles, can make the ZDX seem as if it only has two doors. In a parking lot full of your typical ski resort vehicles, it was nice to have one that was different and so easy pick out.
So is it a utility sedan? A super coupe? A performance crossover? I guess you could say it is all of the above. I still couldn’t accurately describe the ZDX in just a few words, but in this case, it’s definitely not a bad thing. I think the unique combination of qualities bring a mysterious allure to the ZDX, and that’s something you won’t easily find in the selection of today’s vehicles. When I look back at this trip, it won’t be hard to remember the ZDX and how it carried us through the Rockies with such style, comfort, and confidence.
The Rocky Mountain Road Tour 2012:
• The Rocky Mountain Road Tour: Introduction
• Day 01: Marmot Basin
• Day 02/03: Lake Louise
• Day 04: Revelstoke
• Day 05/06: Whitewater
• Day 07: Red Mountain
• Day 08/09/10: Whistler Blackcomb
• The Rocky Mountain Road Tour: ZDX Wrap-Up