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Acura RL



  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,049
    The RL, as I recall, will have a transversely mounted engine, unlike Audi -- this, plus a little help from the AWD hardware "ought" to help the Acura's balance.

    Of course, if the battery isn't in the rear, that is something else the engineers could work on, too.

    Indeed, I think there could be some surprises coming in the future (maybe even in the RL) such as a higher performance version -- and of course balance will become even more important.
  • Kirstie@EdmundsKirstie@Edmunds Posts: 10,676
    Let's try to stay focused specifically on the Acura RL. You're welcome to start new discussions for other models that interest you! I think we used to have a Skyline discussion, but it died out.

    Need help navigating? - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    The Skyline is just a model name like Camry or Supra. The regular Skyline sedan dates back 40 years, it has just never been sold here until the G35. The difference in this case from those models is that the "GTR" is a totally different car from the regular Skyline. To put it in Acura terms, its like if the TL\CL were called "Acura NSX and NSX coupe". And the NSX was called "Acura NSX GT-R".

    JDM just means Japanese domestic market.
  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    AWD averages around 150 lbs? Wow, that's a good deal lower than I would have expected. I wonder if that figure includes reactive systems like Honda's RT4WD (110-120 lbs). I've found most of the "permanent" systems to be north of 200 lbs.

    Most FWD-biased AWD performance-oriented cars (WRX, EVO, Audi TT, etc.) suffer from understeer, just like FWDers. In fact, the WRX has some of the worst skidpad numbers. It is routinely embarrassed by lighter FWD cars like the RSX, Celica, and Mazda3. That's because the weight still rests on the front wheels, as it does with a FWDer.

    So a typical FWD-biased AWD system is not the end-all be-all of performance. RWD still has a "balance advantage".

    That said, AWD does add a few things to the performance of a car. Rolling acceleration is better with all four wheels being driven. There is less chance of wheelspin or (in extreme cases) axle hop. While entering a corner is hampered by the unequal weight distribution, exiting the corner is greatly improved. Cars like the WRX can scamper around corners like nobody's business. A little trailbraking, goose the throttle, all your tires light up, and around you go. That's why rally drivers go for AWD. FWDers cannot recover like that.

    Acura's SH-AWD is, on paper, a way to reduce the negatives of that weight distribution problem. Powering the outside rear wheels seems like a way to counteract the tendency for the front end to fall out of line. That's what ATTS was responsible for in the Prelude. Call it a "power-distribution" advantage. The fact that the rear wheels are powered in the RL means it also gains the AWD benefits for acceleration.

    But that balance problem still exists. SH-AWD is a work-around to cure the weight problem, not a solution for it. If BMW or MB develops a rear differential that does the same side-to-side shuffle as the one in the RL, RWD will be king again. It'll have both the balance advantage and the power-distribution advantage.

    FWIW, I expect that the next NSX (if it happens) will have something like that.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Not all AWD systems have understeer issues. Look at the lancer EVO MR. It will take just about any RWD sports car to the cleaners on the skidpad, and at $30,000, nothing comes close to 280+hp, and .98G.
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,049
    . . .may or may not be considered (at least by Acura engineers) to be a work around system.

    And, AWD inherently is neither balanced or not balanced, FWIW. It is, however, factual that many AWD cars are nose heavy -- but that can be said for RWD cars and FWD cars too -- RWD cars, typcially, may have more weight in the rear for obvious reasons, but balance or an "ideal" balance is not just an RWD car's attribute just as AWD does not instantly equate to nose heaviness.

    These technology posts are certainly entertaining to write and generally to read -- however, there is always a tendancy to respond "yea but. . ."

    The points pertaining to AWD or FWD or RWD or even specifically to the new Acrua RL are not absolutes, they are "typical" or general and in some cases would represent "most" of the cases that the writer is going on about.

    Generally speaking, AWD has many real world advantages over FWD and RWD; and generally speaking for many of us even FWD has advantages over RWD. But it is also true that there are certainly examples where these statements are "less true."

    One example of something that probably only proves that most of us are writing in general not about one specific trait: The rear engined, AWD Porsche's are NOT nose heavy -- but I doubt anyone would say that is because they are AWD, for instance.

    Generally speaking, for driving a car on public roadways and generally obeying the spirit if not the letter of the road laws and regulations and speaking of an amalgam of conditions and weather that we encounter under these circumstances, nothing even comes close to AWD for safety, performance, fun and, in some cases even, economy.

    The new Acrua RL may be nose or tail heavy, beats me (I'll bet it is nose heavy for the record), but it will be, I'll wager a huge jump forward in performance and those lucky enough to acquire one of them will have, overall, generally, tyically and for most of the "normal" driving conditions that we will encounter a superior car.

    I am not yet a convinced buyer -- but I find this technology perhaps at the very least the most interesting and potentially compelling thing to come out of a car factory in years.

    I said it once, I'll say it again: RWD (and FWD) your days are numbered.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    I'm with mark on that one. I have little doubt that Lexus is watching the RL very closely, and based on public reaction to it, may choose to add AWD to the GS430 as well as the 300, as well as the LS. The Camry would have to get AWD though for ES to get it, and that seems unlikely, at least any time soon.
  • cericceric Posts: 1,093

    > I said it once, I'll say it again: RWD (and FWD) your days are numbered.

    I believe your statement is true for high-performance cars. I doubt my neighbors would trade in their Camry/Accord for AWD versions of whatever to come. To most people on highway, transportation is simply getting from point A to point B safely, comfortably, and maybe economically Only small percentage of people like us (who actually spend time talking about automobiles) really care about handling, and performance enough to enjoy AWD.

    In fact, I am more inclined to agree that RWD's days are numbered, but not FWD's. FWD would continue to prevail at lower end of market upto near-luxury segment ($35K). RWD+Stability Control would soon be replaced by AWD. Keep in mind that more parts from AWD induce more cost in production, maintenance and repair. That cost works against AWD in lower-end vehicles.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Ceric does have a point there. SH-AWD isnt free. You also most likely wont be seeing SMGs on Civics either.
  • boomsamaboomsama Posts: 362
    There are two main things I don't like about the Acura RL.

    1) The knob that controls everything (much like MMI, or iDrive) is mounted up high on the panel, so you probably can't use it while you rest your arm. A control mounted lower like MMI/iDrive would be better, or even touchscreen.

    2) Keyless engine start is done by another plastic knob-like thing. Whats up with that?
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,049
    I agree with you -- for here is what appears to be happening.

    1. AWD is a very fast, if not THE fastest, growing segment of the total market. (Doubling in a couple of years from the 2004 levels, according to Wards).

    2. FWD for reasons of cost and an "average" of performance that provides more "drivability" (weight over driven wheels kind of thing) than a similarly priced RWD (performance not being thought of as lap times, and other less pedestrian -- no pun intended -- passtimes).

    3. AWD will come to be (it already has in some cases, continues in others and is accelerating as we type) the "step up" trait for a significant number of premium and near premium cars; then the trickle down effect will happen.

    RWD is far from dead, indeed as far as I can tell it isn't (yet) even on life support. FWD appears to be somewhat sick but perhaps it is just a cold and it will pass over the next two or three model years as the market shakes out to boost the number of AWD cars.

    Now the comment about the neighbors not shelling out for AWD vehicles.

    I look up and down the street where I live (and have lived since 1990) and what do I see? More what -- RWD cars, more FWD cars more AWD cars? If you will agree that an SUV is a car, and if you will agree that 95% of the neighbors virtually never go off road, perhaps you would agree that the main reason the neighbors got the SUVs (of all sizes, mainly mid-sized as far as I can tell) was AWD! The Jeeps, Chevies, Japanese this that and the other brands that dot my little slice of suburbia belie the notion that the neighbors won't cough up a grand or two more on the sticker for a new AWD Camry -- they'd probably love to, there just hasn't been one to buy, so they bought a Subie or an Acura MDX or a Tahoe or a Cherokee Limited or a Durango -- or 27 Audis (like my wife and me).

    The new Lexus RX 330 in the neighbor's driveway will never, I'll wager, deliberately be driven through a mud puddle -- but the lack of an AWD Lexus CAR at the moment shifted the purchase decision.

    AWD Camry's -- you bet, and they'll sell well. And, if all that remains in 3 years is an FWD Camry and an AWD Camry, I would not want to bet against the AWD version.

    When absolute cost is the deal maker (or breaker) I would argue that the FWD versions will be kept on the market -- I cannot imagine the acquisition of an RWD Camry over an AWD Camry unless there is no other option, and even then I would argue that the customer will find the biggest bang for his buck FWD car instead.

    The public knows or at least believes the information they have received since the '70's about the efficacy & efficiency of FWD -- a handful of high buck cars coming out with RWD (many also being offered with AWD) will not zap FWD off the face of the earth. To the contrary, at the price point of -- du jour in the economy that is NOW, whenever NOW may be -- FWD may be given a new lease on life as "the economical AWD alternative." This is hardly something that RWD even with many electronic traction aids can claim.

    In not too many years from now, he said confidently, there will be close to 100 cars that will offer AWD. It was not all that long ago when it was stated that power windows and air conditioning would not make it into mainstream cars.

    AWD will soon be virtually assumed to be there or at least be "available." Gulp, I'll go so far as to say "in this decade."

    Acura's RL for 2005 is a bellwether.
  • hjcanterhjcanter Posts: 31
    I have a deposit on an rl and I will be able to view a 2005 a6 next week at the dealership. I am having a tough time deciding which car to purchase in the fall. Automobile mag just had two great articles about the cars in this price range. They liked the a6 better than the 5 series and E class.
  • ksomanksoman Posts: 590
    talking about RL's awd in premium segment against the regular pedestrial camry accord awd segment... we'll see how it plays out, will be interesting, there is a awd toyota sienna on the market, does anyone know how the sales graph of that thing is?

  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    It is always nice to have controls closer to line of sight (than out of sight). In most cases, Honda seems to have perfected that aspect of ergonomics compared to most automakers out there. And then, RL is bound to have voice-activated controls anyway, so that would make dials redundant.

    As far as the keyless ignition goes, the piece to be turned is permanently mounted on the dash. All you have is carry is “smart card” to start the car. This is assuming the keyless ignition system is similar to that Honda offers in Japanese Accord (and Inspire)...

    The Smart Card
    Sensor on the Door
    Keyless Ignition Knob
    The Range
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,049
    Actually I thought the "debate" was going down a path concerning the Lexus ES300 and the Camry (fraternal twins, or very similar cousins so to speak). If you engineer the AWD system for the Lexus, you essentially get "two for the price of one" for your engineering and tooling budget.

    This particular forum is not the place, but it would be interesting to see a list of FWD, RWD, and AWD cars from 2003, 2004 -- planned for 2005 and "reliably rumored" beyond that.

    Acura's RL with SH-AWD ought to trickle down to the Honda line in the not too distant future. Don't you think?

    The "we swear its true" crowd here in cyberspace, claims the TL will get SH-AWD next -- how soon thereafter will the Accord offer it, then who knows which model?

    The comparisons -- when there is THIS much shared engineering between the regular and the premium lines are, IMHO, inevitable.
  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    Lexusguy - Yes, it is true that not all AWD cars will exhibit understeer. In addition to the Evo, I believe that the Audi S4 has nabbed a 1.0 on the skidpad. The WRX Sti does not have the same udnersteer problem as the "regular" WRX. But that is because of some other work-arounds to get past the balance issue. Uber-sticky tires would be one possibility.

    "And, AWD inherently is neither balanced or not balanced, FWIW." - Mark

    First, I thought I was pretty clear in specifying FWD-biased AWD in my original post. With FWD, you have a tendency toward a forward weight bias. A RWD-biased AWD system, such as in the BMWs and Nissan's, does not necessarily have the same challenges to overcome.

    And just to clarify...

    On my remarks regarding SH-AWD being a work-around: it is a work-around to compensate for the inherent balance problem with the typical FWD layout. By that I mean that it does not resolve the balance issue. I fully expect that the car will still have a forward weight bias. I doubt that adding SH-AWD will correct that. SH-AWD may correct the understeer and acceleration issues associate with a forward weight bias. That makes it a work-around, not a solution to the inherent problem.
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    Isn’t this like saying… extending wheelbase and installing drive train behind front axle is a work around to achieving 50-50 weight balance?

    I don’t understand the fuss on a theoretical weight split when all that really matters is how the chassis holds up in terms of handling.

    Rally-cars are designed to understeer, so I’m not surprised the WRX is so. How many rally-cars are RWD? They are usually front drivers or AWD.

    Understeer/oversteer is not necessarily a result of weight balance, it is also a result of chassis set up. One can achieve oversteer in a nose heavy front driver or understeer in a 50-50 weight split rear drive, by adjusting the camber. Most RWD cars around have mild to moderate understeer built into them for it is considered safer than oversteer.
  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    I agree that what matters is what the car is actually capable of doing. That is more important than the theoretical advantages of one design over another.

    That said, the number of hurdles you have to jump to make a car equally capable is a factor in other considerations. I mean, sure, if you mod it enough, you can make a Civic Si that will accelerate and corner just like an Evo. But that Civic will end up costing you $40K by the time you've jumped all the hurdles involved. The Evo would have cost you less.

    You can jump any hurdle you want if you have enough money. But why not start with a car that doesn't have so many hurdles in front of it?

    Now, I'm not saying that the new RL should be a RWD car. Not at all. I just don't agree with the notion that AWD is going to replace, displace, or swap places with either FWD or RWD. AWD has its own crosses to bear.

    Take a look at it this way. The new RL might prove itself very formidable against the RWD competition because of SH-AWD's ability to send torque to the outside rear wheels. I expect it will do quite well despite the balance issue. Well, what happens when the RWD competition comes out with a rear differential that also acts like ATTS or SH-AWD and powers the outside wheel? Now those RWDers have both the power-distribution advantage and the balance advantage.
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,049
    True enough -- but the AWD will always have one thing: traction!
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    You're forgetting one thing. Yes we bought an RX300 for my wife for the AWD, but also because it can have about 90 cu.ft. of space in there. No camry will ever be able to do that. I dont see the wagon coming back any time soon.
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