Monday, April 2, 2012

Acura tries its hand at a flagship once again

Acura is a unique brand in the luxury arena as it has never offered a V8 for sale in its cars even with Acura and Honda racing programs successfully running high performance V8s for years. For years Acura has attempted to create a true flagship without V8 power with mixed results. The Legend was wildly successful as the first Japanese luxury vehicle sold in America even with a V6 powering the front wheels. However its replacement the RL has never had the same success and the last generation RL spent the last few years having trouble clearing double digit monthly sales, in fact it was outsold by the Audi R8 last year. When the latest RL came out it was greeted with praise from the automotive precess that was not reciprocated by the consumer which found the RL offering little benefits against its cheaper TL sibling. The RL is negligibly larger than the TL and uses the same powertrain.

In two days Acura will once again attempt to challenge Audi, BMW, Lexus and Mercedes with its new flagship rumored to be called the RLX. Acura promises that the RL replacement will have the interior space of the 7 series while having more nimble handling like that of the 5 series. Once again Acura will not offer a V6 option. However, this time around Acura's refusal to use a V8 shouldn't hurt as much as fuel economy concerns have forced its competition to offer V6 engines as well. Acura also believes that its trick hybrid all wheel drive system with two motors on the rear axle will give performance equivalent to a V8. Such a set up should be good for around 400 combined horsepower with claimed 4 cylinder fuel economy. Hopefully Acura delivers on this promise better than Lexus did with its V8 hybrid that promised V12 performance with V6 fuel economy while delivering V8 performance with V8 fuel economy.

It appears that the latest RLX should return some of the Legend's former glory in the luxury arena, some would prefer the name to make a comeback as well, but it is still tough to see the RLX matching up with the A8, 7 series, LS and S class. On the other hand the RLX should be a much better competitor to the A6, 5 series, GS and E class which are mostly sold with six cylinder engines as well nowadays.

V6 only for Acura's flagship

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