1.5L VTEC Turbo ILX?

1.5L VTEC Turbo ILX

Earlier this week Honda announced development of new direct injection turbo engines in three displacement variations – 2.0L, 1.5L and 1.0L. With most of the media attention focused on the Civic Type R Prototype and its 2.0L +280 hp engine, the fact that an ILX was used as a test mule at the Tochigi test track went mostly unreported. While it’s not uncommon for Honda to use current models as test mules to showcase new technology, a 1.5L turbo would certainly make sense for a future iteration of the ILX.

Honda’s new Earth Dreams Technology 1.5L turbo engine reportedly makes 201-hp and 192 lb-ft of torque.

[Image Source: Response jp]

Acura RLX Technology Preview

Honda's Sport Hybrid SH-AWD Test Mule

Honda’s Sport Hybrid SH-AWD Test Mule

With the official debut of the 2014 Acura RLX just around the corner, Acura wants the public to get excited about two new technologies that will be available on their upcoming flagship sedan. Acura’s new Precision All Wheel Steer™(PAWS) and Sport Hybrid SH-AWD® systems will be showcased on the RLX to improve and enhance handling performance.

A handful of journalists from various automotive publications were recently at Honda’s testing grounds in Japan to sample both applications. The test car however was not an RLX, but a similarly sized Accord(Inspire) sedan equipped with the said technology.

Here’s Automobile Magazine‘s Jake Holmes on the Precision All Wheel Steer system:

“When you enter a corner and add steering input, there’s a miniscule pause before you feel the car tighten its line slightly as the rear wheels add more steering. It produces a sensation of rotation that gives the car a livelier feel than is typical of front-wheel-drive cars. At lower speeds, PAWS makes for easier maneuvering because of the reduced turning circle. PAWS also can correct under- or oversteer by adjusting the line of the rear wheels, which means sometimes PAWS can fix small slides without any need for the brake-based electronic stability control to activate.” – Jake Holmes, Automobile Magazine

Michael Austin of Car and Driver on Sport Hybrid SH-AWD:

“The rear motors also provide torque vectoring in corners, putting resistance on the inside wheel (which generates electricity for instantaneous use, lessening the draw on the 6.7-kWh battery) and driving the outside wheel to minimize understeer. Track performance is impressive, with instantaneous turn-in and grip that seems to transcend the abilities of the Michelin Pilot Sport 3 tires. We didn’t have the chance to mess around too much, but there is no power oversteer. Jam on the gas and the car simply follows exactly where you point it with a neutral attitude.” – Michael Austin, Car and Driver

Both technologies sound impressive so far, hopefully adding a dynamic that will boost the RLX’s image as a “driver’s” car. Full reviews can be read from the links below:

Quick Drives: Acura RLX Precision All-Wheel Steering, Sport Hybrid SH-AWD Prototypes
• Sampling the 2014 Acura RLX’s Goodies: Precision All-Wheel Steer and Sport Hybrid SH-AWD
• New 2014 Acura RLX Drivetrains Aim for Smiles
2014 Acura RLX Prototype Test Drive
• 2014 Acura RLX Technology Preview Drive
2014 Acura RLX drive preview

Rumor: Acura Flagship Concept Headed to New York

2012 Acura RL
2012 Acura RL

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.

Autoblog Samples the New Electric SH-AWD

Honda’s Electric SH-AWD Mule

Autoblog’s Chris Paukert gives his first impressions of Honda’s new electric SH-AWD system from last week’s media event at the Twin-Ring Motegi track. Limited to just one lap with the new direct-injected 3.5-liter V6 powered test mule, it’s safe to assume the team is looking forward to spending more time testing a production model.

“Our time behind the wheel was extremely brief, consisting of little more than one lap of a handling course. Thus, we’ll have to withhold judgment, but we will say that the system shows genuine promise. Whirring away from the pits under electric power and having the V6 seamlessly come to life was an encouraging start, but we didn’t really get a feel for the SH-AWD until we started negotiating the corners and slalom. While carving through the orange pylons, the sedan felt significantly – and predictably – nimbler than a standard front-drive Accord, displaying genuine eagerness to change direction.” – Chris Paukert, Autoblog

Head over to autoblog.com to read the full post.

[Source: Autoblog]

Motor Trend Reviews Potential Future Acura Drivetrains

Honda's 2.4L Direct Injection "Earth Dreams Technology"

With the announcement of their next generation Earth Dreams Technology engines last week in Tokyo, Honda also presented working prototypes for the media to sample the new tech. At Honda’s Twin-Ring Motegi track, Motor Trend got the chance to test three potential Acura drivetrains: the 3.5-liter V6 with Hybrid SH-AWD, the direct injected 2.4-liter I4, and the 1.6-liter turbodiesel.

Here is what they had to say about the new 3.5-liter Hybrid SH-AWD:

“Relative to today’s mechanical SH-AWD, which relies upon planetary gears to multiply torque to one rear wheel or the other when accelerative force is being applied, the rear-mounted electric motors can accelerate or slow either wheel independent of throttle position, so they can apply torque-vectoring under steady-state cruising and deceleration as well as acceleration. Engineers claim it can also apply power regenerated from an inside wheel to accelerate the outside wheel, though we suspect those electrons get routed through the battery. We only got one brief lap, but it was enough to suggest the V-8-performance claims have merit and that the electrified rear axle does indeed enhance handling over a much wider set of driving circumstances. It also feels really green to be able to arrive at and depart a stoplight (or a Hollywood red carpet) silently in EV mode.”  - Frank Markus, Motor Trend

The new SH-AWD system sounds a bit complex but very promising if it can deliver the proposed performance. I haven’t heard any news of diesel engines coming to Acura, but the new 2.4L engine is the likely candidate for the future TSX or sub-TSX models.

Read Frank’s complete preview of the three vehicles at motortrend.com.

[Source: Motor Trend]

Honda President Takanobu Ito Talks Acura

Honda AC-X Concept

Honda/Acura Supercar Confirmed?

It has certainly been an interesting and exciting past few days for Honda and Acura fans as we got a glimpse of what the future has in store.

Earlier this week at the 2011 Tokyo Motor Show, Honda previewed their outline for next generation engine models and technology through a plan called “Earth Dreams Technology”. The phrase is used to describe Honda’s pursuit to advance and utilize environment friendly technology while still satisfying the passion of driving. Some key features include the implementation of direct injection, CVT, and an electric SH-AWD hybrid system.

Making a big presence at the show was Honda CEO and President Takanobu Ito who made time to answer questions and interact with the North American media. Motor Trend’s Frank Markus put together a solid post about the session with Ito, revealing a bit more about what’s coming up for Acura:

“Ito-san is not satisfied with the current performance of the brand in the U.S., though sales are strong in China and the Middle-East. He intends to make new products more unique and sporting. Look for the hybrid-electric Super-Handling AWD to figure in this renaissance, along with the supercar.

A new RDX and small sedan are on the immediate horizon next spring. Acura’s mission is to provide smart luxury that meets social needs, not just personal needs. The small sedan will share some platform architecture with the Civic but feature unique powertrains. The forthcoming supercar is a core element of Honda/Acura’s history and DNA, and will be sold as an Acura in North America. We will also hear news about the RL flagship sedan quite soon too.”Frank Markus, Motor Trend

The post is full of great questions and answers regarding Honda, so head over to motortrend.com for the rest.

We all knew the next generation RDX was coming as well as a “sub-TSX” model which looks to be a hybrid. However rumors of the Honda/Acura Supercar seems to have grown to the point where we should just consider it confirmed.

On the design front, Jeff from TOV mentioned the Honda AC-X Concept(pictured above) may influence Acura’s future styling and corporate theme. I think it would be a welcomed direction as it looks to me like a futuristic evolution or expansion of the “shield” grille.

2012 looks to be a busy year for Acura, hopefully we will get to learn a little more about the upcoming supercar in the next few weeks.

[Source: MotorTrend, Temple of VTEC]