Acura TLX: The storm before the calm
Besides NSX supercar, brand will settle into product-launch lull
Once the TLX sedan is introduced this fall -- replacing both the TL and TSX in the lineup -- Acura will be in a product-launch lull.
All its volume products will have been launched in the last three years, so other than the upcoming NSX supercar, the brand will be carrying over existing product for several more years.
Of course, there will be midcycle changes, which could include installation of new nine- and eight-speed transmission technologies, but the sheet metal is going to remain relatively the same across the lineup for several years.
Acura also is studying bringing some sporting flair back to the rest of the lineup with the Type S designation, but how it plans to increase its vehicles' performance is being determined.
Here is a look at Acura's future product plans.
ILX: A redesign of the Honda Civic derivative comes in spring 2017. Whether Acura chooses to use a Honda Earth Dreams engine or switch to one of the new turbocharged mills is undetermined. The current ILX is critically underpowered, so Acura may vote for the turbo.
TLX: The redesigned 2015 TLX mid-sized sedan, unveiled at the 2014 New York auto show, will replace the TL and TSX sedans in the U.S. lineup. The TLX shares a 2.4-liter base engine with the Honda Accord, but the TLX's mill has higher compression ratios, a two-stage intake and a modified exhaust. The base TLX engine generates 206 hp. It's 1.5 seconds quicker in 0 to 60 mph than the outgoing TSX. The TLX's 290-hp, 3.5-liter V-6 engine is shared with the MDX and RLX and gets 5 mpg better highway fuel economy than the outgoing TL. Both the four- and six-cylinder cars will have standard four-wheel steering; the V-6 has optional Super Handling All-Wheel Drive, or SH-AWD. It goes on sale this fall, with pricing expected to be released closer to launch.
RLX: Redesigned in summer 2013. A hybrid version of the sedan was to arrive in dealerships this spring but has been delayed until late 2014.
NSX: Acura's sports car will be as much about technology as performance when it arrives in the first half of 2015. Instead of a monster engine, the NSX will have a compact, direct-injection V-6 combined with a lithium ion battery pack for power. The Sport Hybrid SH-AWD system uses two integrated drive units at the rear wheels connected to a motor-generator that delivers power. Regenerative brakes will capture electricity and then deliver torque to the outside wheel -- while absorbing negative torque from the inside wheel -- as the car goes through a corner. Development issues with the new-generation hybrid may delay the launch.
RDX: Redesigned in spring 2012. Expect the next version of the crossover in calendar 2018, with a midcycle change in spring 2015.
MDX: Redesigned in summer 2013. Expect the next version in calendar 2019, with a midcycle change in mid-2016.
You can reach Mark Rechtin at email@example.com. -- Follow Mark on