It looks like the long and at times difficult gestation of the new Acura NSX is finally coming to a close, as Acura confirmed today that the production-spec NSX would make its official debut at the 2015 North American International Auto Show on Jan. 12, 2015. And to whet our appetites, Acura has also released a handful of teaser images of the new sports car.
Acura Motorsports took the crowd at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show by surprise when they pulled the wraps off the new 2015 Acura TLX GT Race Car and announced plans to move up to the GT category in Pirelli World Challenge Championship.
Acura’s incremental improvements in the MDX formula have delivered a third-generation vehicle that should appeal to past and present customers. We may not appreciate its stoic and uncommunicative nature, but its blend of efficiency, technology, and outright comfort make it a worthwhile offering in a segment that will likely only get bigger and more competitive.
Our time with the RLX was quite revealing. It’s not, as we’ve established, a very sporty or fun-to-drive car. While we’d bemoan this fact, the reality is that there’s this tendency in the market to deliver far more performance than most buyers need, often at the sacrifice of comfort and refinement. The RLX is the inverse of this philosophy, prioritizing its occupants rather than just its driver. Every once in a while, we like that change.
We’ve been patiently awaiting further news about the production of Acura’s new NSX hybrid supercar. Finally, Acura has announced that it will build the NSX at a new Performance Manufacturing Center adjacent to Honda’s Marysville Auto Plant in Ohio.
Remember the Acura RLX Concept from the 2012 New York Auto Show? Well, here it is again. This is the production version, and for the most part it looks identical to the Concept shown in NYC. The RLX is destined to be the flagship of the Acura range when it goes on sale in the spring of 2013.
In Acura’s television ads, the ILX is billed as offering a just-right blend of premium-brand luxury, fun, and down-to-earth practicality—a blend that, in Acura’s own words, invites drivers to “move up (without) settling down.” Given this, one might assume the ILX Tech Hybrid would fit roughly the same mold, but with a distinctly energy-efficient “green” twist, and to a certain extent it does just that.
The Acura ILX’s 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine is a hoot to use. It pulls nice and hard, but doesn’t ever feel rough. It’s just slightly peaky, and changes in both physical and aural sensation as it climbs the rev ladder. The sound is usually pretty mild, but it will come to life when running it flat-out to the redline. Its tone is almost vocal as the pitch increases, and can really evoke a bit of emotion from the occupants. When driven civilly, though, it is easy to be smooth, and the noise, though always present, doesn’t intrude too much into the interior.
The sweet spot of this Acura package is found in the goodly amount of comfort and refinement for a compact luxury car. Interior materials are nice, and it feels roomy for the car’s fairly small size. Seating is comfortable for extended drives, and visibility isn’t a problem. The ride is smooth and quiet, with very little in the way of NVH (though the CVT can make the engine buzzy under full load). The $5500 Technology Package (for a total starting MSRP of $34,400) adds convenience technology such as navigation with traffic and weather, upgraded surround sound audio, voice recognition software, and GPS-linked, solar-sensing dual climate control.
The G is more powerful than everything in its price/size/class, and is available with a manual transmission, which is an increasingly rare trait these days. (The 6MT in question isn’t that great to use, but I believe it’s far less horrible than Brandon does, apparently.) It has a lively, responsive chassis, and a suspension tuning that rewards hard driving without being completely punishing.
Mostly we think that it’s important to understand whom Acura is marketing its new ILX to, in order to understand why it has built the car that we drove in Arizona. That’s because, in addition to being definitively not some kind of next-phase TSX, Acura is clear about the fact that the ILX is also, most certainly, not a reemergence of the lost Integra nameplate.
Acura has unveiled the RLX Concept at the 2013 New York Auto Show. When we say RLX Concept, we actually mean 2014 RLX, which is what this is. Honda, and by extension Acura, have a habit of showing very thinly veiled production cars under the guise of concepts, which is exactly what’s been done here. In fact, we’ve already been told that sales will start in the beginning of 2013.
With that as background, it would be difficult to rate this 2013 RDX as anything but a direct bullseye for Acura’s development team. This new crossover sort of “joins the herd” in terms of overall character and performance, and then immediately attempts to gain separation in the more traditional arenas of ride quality, content, fuel economy, and price.
Infiniti has a goal. It plans to sell over 600,000 cars around the world by 2016. That means a few things need to happen. First, the brand needs to expand to new and emerging markets, notably Russia, China, and South America. These are the same rapidly growing markets parent company Nissan has targeted with the revival of the Datsun nameplate as its new low-priced brand. Second, Infiniti needs to expand the number of categories it’s competing in.