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Acura RL

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Comments

  • boomsamaboomsama Posts: 362
    is that to do with larger brakes?
  • carlisimocarlisimo Posts: 1,280
    I've heard some good and some bad things about the TL's handling so I don't know for sure. I wonder how souped up compacts do... a FWD Integra vs a RWD Silvia (240sx) for example. I've heard of RSX-S's beating 3-series in certain tracks with fwd oversteering techniques.

    The upper power limit for good handling in FWD cars has risen significantly, and I bet that'll continue. It just becomes harder to do well, and easier to move to RWD or AWD. AWD has more cachet than RWD among all but purists, so it makes sense for Honda to go in that direction. Back when Honda was associated with small cars, an FWD identity made sense. The 3-series is crowded in the back and that's where FWD is a real advantage. But that's not so important for a bigger vehicle. And wait a minute... why are we arguing about FWD when the RL isn't using it? No one's saying the RL should...
  • legendmanlegendman Posts: 362
    Is it just me, or does the new 2005 RL look like a cross between a Toyota Camry and a Plymouth Breeze? Why make a luxury car short and squat? The BMW 740iL was one of the most elegant luxury cars ever designed. My 1991 Legend LS, is also long and lean. Since when did a "short" car define a luxury automobile?

    I am a long time Honda and Acura enthusiast, and own a 1991 Acura Legend LS. I have been in the market for a new car for nearly five years, but to date the RL's that Acura has produced (though 2004) have left me cold. It seemed to me that each succeeding year Acura took money OUT of the car, and replaced it with cheap plastic and faux wood.

    Frankly, I am deeply disappointed with 2005 RL prototype. I think that the car does NOT look like a luxury car. It does not say "you have arrived".

    The ugly trunk hump is, incredibly, knocked off from BMW's much derided 7 series designed by that controversial designer Chris Bangle. That trunk design was so roundly criticized by owners and designers alike it is unfathomable why Acura would seek to imitate the most reviled feature of the new 7 series! Maybe Acura did it because the RL (and Accord) design staff have NO actual design skills.

    The front end is also disappointing, using a thin headlight window, underneath which are two scary "eyes" bugging out at you like those you'd see in a low budget Japanese sci-fi flick or a menacing old world Samurai warrior. Totally absent in this design is an artful, sloping (large) headlight opening, done so well for example on the Lexus ES300, the Mercedes S class, or the Lexus 430 sedan.

    Inside, they have have continued to erode the luxury once found in the car. Instead of beautiful wood on the central console they have put metal (yuck!) instead and cheap grey plastic switches, ala a Nissan. It positively reeks of lesser class car accoutrements.

    Then there are the blue sport gauges. Since when did we ask Acura to turn the Legend/RL into a sports car? Don't they have a TL or RSX model for that customer?

    Has Acura ceded the luxury car competition to Lexus? It seems that way to me. Sit in an Inifinti Q45 and then the RL, then tell me, which one is the luxury car?

    I will wait to see the car in the fall, but, what I am seeing so far is just another in a series of "yawns". Acura needs to clean house and replace a lot of people there, because they have destroyed the marquee of this once noble car, and their new effort appears to continue the sad deterioration of what was once known to be a true legend.
  • chillenhondachillenhonda Posts: 105
    I think almost every car company has ceded the "luxury" car business to Lexus. MOst people and critics will agree they make an amazing luxury vehicle. However, the RL, M45, 5-Series, A6, and E-Class are more about performance/luxury than just luxury, and it that regard, Lexus falls short.

    Also, the "bug-eyed" design seems to be on a lot of cars, including the positively weird looking ES330. If someone doesnt like that design, dont buy it. Or deal with the fact that the headlights are better for the driver.
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,093
    . . .even CR, a magazine I cannot even believe I am citing, says that the Lexus Autombiles are "bullet proof" in terms of reliability but are "isolating" -- they isolate and insulate the driver from the experience of driving.

    I have rented Lexus autos and found them very luxurious, I test drove an IS300 and found it, in its first year of production, to be trying too hard to out BMW 3 series cars -- perhaps this has changed (for clarification, the ride was harsh apparently to create a chassis that could emulate the BMW's handling).

    So, this is heresay, I'll grant -- but as they say, 10,000,000 flies can't be wrong -- can they?

    The motoring press has peppered their writings about some (not all) of the Lexus offerings by summing up that they are "perfect cars" but in their quest for perfection have become uninvolving from the passenger's position -- uh, the passenger behind the wheel.

    Indeed, I wish I could call it up and quote it, I read a review of a Lexus autombile recently that commented that Lexus made the driver feel like a passenger -- it was a double sided comment, 1/2 compliment and 1/2 criticism.

    Having laid this "out there" for y'all to defend and pick apart, I still am NOT unwilling to make the good faith test drive of the upcoming Lexus AWD autos -- I end with a question -- is it possible to order a sport suspension (and perhaps even a manual transmission for one of these upcoming AWD autos from Lexus?)

    Rage on, debate, rage on. . . .
  • ksomanksoman Posts: 590
    is your opinion based on pictures or in person view at the NYC auto show? i surely did not think the car was short... maybe its not the iL length, but it aint short... squat it may be. the only comments of yours i will agree with is about the headlights, but you killed your comment when you named the es330 as a compare... ewww, god, beam me up forever....

    as for the original legend, yes it was good lookin, but it was also unoriginal, it reeked of the same time-frame's bmw 735i copycat-ness....
  • shotgunshotgun Posts: 184
    Legendman, an impassioned and elegant post indeed – I feel you my brother! Needless to say, I too, initially, felt quite under whelmed when the prototype RL was introduced on 7 Apr 04. I moped around, sulked, and simply felt terrible because the prototype did not display the aggressive stance/appearance of the first released “artist rendition” of the RL. I read many posts and became increasingly frustrated at various RL’s comparisons to the Camry, Mazda, Breeze, etc. and a slew of other less than prime time vehicles. Fortunately, after reading the many excellent posts in this forum, watching various videos and closely examining newly released pictures, my initial disappointment is beginning to fade.

    For instance, although I don’t have an issue with the RL’s trunk hump (less exaggerated and more stylish than the BMW’s) its overall length is only 3 inches shorter than the 04 model. (Yes I know the wheelbase is four inches shorter) However, I must confess that I’m less than enamored by the “pointiness” and long overhang of the front end – it gives it a dated, 70’ish look.

    With the exception of the triangular amber turn signals (which is what really makes it look like so many other plain-Jane cars) I think the headlights are OK – matter of fact I think, in that respect, they look superior to the exaggerated, elongated look of the ES, Solara, L430, etc., those will fade rapidly. The grill, could be, proportionally, a little larger to give it more character and presence. The side view, based on the brochure available at Acura dealers, is, in my opinion quite elegant and looks vastly superior to the E-Series, 5-Series, and upcoming M45. The rear of the car is interesting with it’s SL and CL heritage, making it look quite classy – sure to endure over the years. Now I actually like the interior and think that the massive, horizontal wood treatment, more than offsets (actually compliments) the metal verticals. Additionally, the technical wizardry found in the cabin, is absolutely superb and simply leapfrogs everything else out there - a huge thumbs up for the interior!

    Yes, I’ve sat in and driven E-Series, 5-Series, Infinity, and various Lexi vehicles, and yes, they feel like luxury cars. However, I do not believe that Acura has ceded the luxury car competition to the aforementioned. Instead, I think Acura is attempting to redefine the mid-level luxury segment by offering serious performance and intelligent technological enhancements to a class of vehicle that’s been missing those traits and accoutrements.

    Finally, in many posts I’ve read, and it’s repeated over and over again, that the 05’ RL looks vastly better in the flesh than it does in pictures. I hope this is true and I’m holding my breath accordingly (given that I’ve placed a deposit already). Your post was a very good read Legendman - I enjoyed it immensely. But you know, in the final analysis, if the 05’ RL realizes its hype in the performance arena and it’s looks are indeed timeless, as some have described, you and I both can be assured that it’s nobility will be restored…In spades!
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,093
    I have no styling issues with the new RL -- but, hey, I actually like the new A6, too. Don't go by me -- styling is in the eye, as they say.

    That BMW 5 series looks so much like a Pontiac, though, well it makes me sick.

    That, too, is just an opinion.

    The new Acura is not stunningly good looking, to my eye, but I find nothing about it that offends either. And, if I felt that way, all I would have to do is look at the new 5 Series BMW -- I still love the look of the 3 Series though -- but I hear that the new 3 will adopt the corporate Pontiac look next year.

    Some like it hot, some like it not.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Legendman, I'm surprised that the interior was one of the things you chose to pick on the new RL about. Compared to the current RL, and especially the legend, the new RL is a MASSIVE leap foward. The current car looks like.. well like a car that is begging for a redesign, with switches and ergonomics from the late '90s. Acura knows that the current RL is not stealing any sales from the LS, so yes in that instance, they are letting Lexus have the luxury market, which is a smart descision. The rest of the Acura line up positions itself as a sportier, cheaper alternative to the Lexus lineup, so why shouldnt the RL do that to?

    When you are a marquee like BMW or Acura, you have to establish yourself to a specific ideal, and stick to it. BMW cars are all about the driver. ALL of their cars. If BMW tried to make a big luxury liner like the LS, their customers would go insane. The RL cant fight the LS, but it CAN fight the GS, which is exactly where Acura is going, and exactly where they should be going.

    I'm also surprised that you picked the Q as the "right way" to do a luxury car? The Q is flop. Nobody likes the design, nobody likes the interior, and nobody likes its sluggish transmission and less than stellar handling. Acura should get as far away from the Q as possible. The new M actually has some potential to sell, and again, thas where Acura is and should be competing. The Q may not survive at all.
  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    The main differences between the SH-AWD system and Nissan's Attessa AWD are not so much in what ic *can* do. The difference is *when* it decides to do it. As someone described it before SH-AWD uses more input data to shuffle the torque. SH-AWD will transfer power as you get on the gas, as you turn the wheel, or as the car rotates on an axis. Nissan's system can shuffle the power to the same wheels, but doesn't do it when SH-AWD will.

    It has been rumored that the SH-AWD system defaults to 60/40 FWD biased split during cruising. As soon as you do anything that might be considered "spirited" driving (turn the wheel, step on the gas, etc.), the system sends power rearward.

    Acura has not marketed SH-AWD as a "World's First" system. It has made that claim only for specific parts of the system. The use of electro-magnetic clutch action is a first. The use of an acceleration device is a first. The entire system is very much like the VTM-4 system with a few new upgrades. So the whole thing is not new.

    ATTS and SH-AWD are alike only in that power can be transferred between the left and right. That's it. Otherwise the two designs are completely different in how they are designed.
  • legendmanlegendman Posts: 362
    >Is your opinion based on pictures or in person view at the NYC auto show? i surely did not think the car was short... maybe its not the iL length, but it aint short... squat it may be<

    Hi ksoman:

    Yes, it appears short to me. My opinion is based both on the NYC auto show photos, published in various media, as well as those on the Acura website. Those are the only views I have seen of the "protoype". As I mentioned in my post I have not had the opportunity to stand up and look right at it, so I all I can go on are the views released by Acura.

    As for the ES330, I would agree that from the side and from the back that car doesn't look too swell. But from up front, on the business end, yes, I do like it's elegant sloping lines and big glass eyes.
  • legendmanlegendman Posts: 362
    >Yes, I&#146;ve sat in and driven E-Series, 5-Series, Infinity, and various Lexi vehicles, and yes, they feel like luxury cars. However, I do not believe that Acura has ceded the luxury car competition to the aforementioned. Instead, I think Acura is attempting to redefine the mid-level luxury segment by offering serious performance and intelligent technological enhancements to a class of vehicle that&#146;s been missing those traits and accoutrements.<

    Hi Shotgun:

    Thank you for your thoughtful and insightful comments. They have been a salve to some small wounds I have been licking since I first saw the 2005 RL prototype on-line.

    I think that you are probably right, they are aiming for a mid-level luxury market. That seems to argue in favor of my original thesis that Acura has ceded the luxury car line, to Lexus and others. Yes, when compared against an E class, it may be a better, or more luxurious car. But clearly it is nowhere near a Lexus LS430, which many moons ago, was Toyota's response to the first Acura. And lest we forget, Acura was Honda's effort to get into the luxury market and compete with Mercedes and BMW.

    I just think that Acura has not built a better mousetrap when it comes to the RL, and by default, have fallen from an opportunity to establish itself up there with the big boys. Even the Infiniti Q45 is a more luxuious car (but not a driver's car!).

    What that means to me in car buying terms is that I will wait to see what the other Japaneses car companies produce in the fall.
  • legendmanlegendman Posts: 362
    >The RL can't fight the LS, but it CAN fight the GS, which is exactly where Acura is going, and exactly where they should be going.<

    Very good point! Yes, I think you are right. That IS the comparison.
  • legendmanlegendman Posts: 362
    >I'm also surprised that you picked the Q as the "right way" to do a luxury car? The Q is flop. Nobody likes the design, nobody likes the interior, and nobody likes its sluggish transmission and less than stellar handling<

    My point was not to laud the Q45's individual accoutrements so much as simply to say that when sitting in the car it felt very luxurious to me. My recollections, of my impressions at the time, was that it reeked luxury, not frugality.

    I would concur that the Q and other Infiniti cars suffer from some very strange, gaudy, and outlandish treatments, such as the center dash control panel, which is reminsecent of Star-Trek or some other sci-fi offering.

    I agree too, that the car handles BADLY. There is no feeling of connection to the road with the current Q; I felt more like I was driving my Sea Ray boat on the lake rather than driving a car on asphalt.
  • legendmanlegendman Posts: 362
    Has anyone sat down in the new RL? Are the driver seats as wide and comfortable as previous years?

    That will be a make or break decision for me.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Yes the Q does have some luxurious aspects to its interior, but its nowhere near as good as an LS430, which is the whole point. Neither Infiniti or Acura can make a better LS430 than the LS430. Infiniti has tried to for 15 years, and it has failed every year. So what Infiniti and Acura have learned after years in Toyota's shadow is that Toyota doesnt really seem interested in making sporty, driver oriented cars, and to move into that space. Now it seems like Lexus is eyeing Nissan's and Honda's moves and copying them, instead of the other way around. The Lexus HPX concept was very obviously inspired by the FX45.
  • shotgunshotgun Posts: 184
    Legendman - You mentioned "... But clearly it is nowhere near a Lexus LS430, which many moons ago, was Toyota's response to the first Acura..." In 1989 I bought a brand new Legend Coupe for $23,000. At the time I thought I was insane because my monthly payments were in the vicinity of $500.00. But, I had to have that car! It was agile, fast, and it looked good - I received a never-ending stream of compliments and my ego was, to put it mildly, untouchable. I vividly recall, when I made the purchase, that all of the Acura sales brochures compared the car to the BMW 5 Series and many auto media articles compared it to the Audi 5000, British Sterling, E-Class and a few others. The point being is that, from day one, Acura competed with the 5 and E series, cars that are solidly in the middle of the luxury class. Toyota, on the other hand, did NOT enter the luxury market to compete with Acura - With the introduction of their LS400 model, they entered the market with the INTENT of being a major luxury car player by competing with the likes of upscale S-Class and 7 Series iron. Only later did they enter the "middle class" with the introduction of the lesser ES, GS, and IS models. With the 05' RL, Acura is merely returning to it's roots, and I might add, returning...with a vengeance. Let's keep our fingers crossed - that they deliver the "goods"
  • legendmanlegendman Posts: 362
    Does anyone know if Acura is going to put a hybrid engine in the new '05 RL, or other gas saving technology?
  • saugataksaugatak Posts: 488
    Hey whats that noise? Its your argument, going out the window. The TL pulls Porsche Boxster numbers going through the cones, and the BMW does not. The TL also out brakes the smaller, lighter BMW.

    Like I need advice on handling from someone who is a Lexus guy.

    Why don't you try driving both cars yourself, as I have, and form your own judgment. FYI, I would never drive a the 6MT TL like that b/c when you gun it, there is noticeable torque steer, not horrible, but not the type of thing that inspires confidence.

    The TL is a good handling FWD car and it's a great value, but it ain't no BMW in the handling department. If you want to continue with that argument, be my guest.
  • cericceric Posts: 1,093
    Hi, Legendman,
    I have an order on the new RL. Heard from other site that an Acura salesman told a new TL owner that he would personally wait till early 05 for a hybrid version of RL. Not sure how reliable that is. My salesman denied the validity of the claim. In September/October I will make decision on whether to wait for it or take the delivery. I am sure we will hear more by then.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    LOL. Yes, because my name is Lexusguy, I therefore am a moron who knows nothing about cars or handling. Mark couldnt possibly know anything about NYC, because his name is Cincinnati, and so obviously he has never traveled out of Ohio. Thats iron-clad logic if I ever heard it. If my name was instead BMWguy, would my opinions be valid? Just for your info, I have driven both cars. I like the 3 series, its always been pretty much the best car in the BMW stable (with the possible exception of the Z8.) However, the blue and white propeller does not make it invincible. It has lost a few comparos to the G35. The 3 has stellar handling, but so does the TL (particularly with the A-spec package), and the Acura comes a lot cheaper, with so many more features as STANDARD equipment, that doesnt make the price balloon to $40,000+. Makes it the clear winner in my book.
  • legendmanlegendman Posts: 362
    > I have an order on the new RL. Heard from other site that an Acura salesman told a new TL owner that he would personally wait till early 05 for a hybrid version of RL<

    Ceric: very interesting, and helpful!

    Given the skyrocketing fuel costs,and the likelihood that fuel prices will remain high, for me it would be a mistake to buy what will soon become known as an "old technology" car ... more expensive to operate and harder to sell years from now.

    I was planning to wait until November or December '04 for Acura to get some of the bugs out of early production cars, and to wait to hear feedback from other buyers who have driven the car for a while. Now I will wait to hear about hybrid technology.

    Could you share with us the price of the car? Is there a 2005 RL brochure available at the dealership?

    Also, do you know if the heating and AC controls will only be displayed and operated on the navigation screen or will you still be able to control inputs to the HVAC system with traditional buttons or knobs?
  • legendmanlegendman Posts: 362
    From Autobytel:

    For a long time. the Acura RL has been the forgotten car in the luxury sedan market, and Acura aims to change that. To that end, they rolled out a new RL that combines Acura's sport-lux reputation with advanced driving dynamics that includes SH-AWD, the world's first all-wheel drive system to also deliver torque between the right and left wheels. That should make for a pretty unforgettable ride. The new RL, available later this year, will be priced under $50,000, and offers customers a luxurious interior and a sporty ride that is sure to please those looking to inject a little fun into the driving experience.

    "This is a different market than the existing RL," said Mike Spencer, executive vice president of sales for Acura. "We expect to sell around 12,000 new RLs in the first year." According to Dick Colliver, executive vice president, the new RL is the next step in the evolution of the Acura brand. "This new RL is where we are now, as we continue to rebuild the brand."

    Improvements to the RL are widespread, starting with the exterior styling. The new RL has a sharp edge to it, starting at the bonnet and sweeping back toward a slightly BMW-esqe tail.

    This is unmistakably Acura, and should have no trouble fitting in nicely with the rest of the Acura lineup. Other features of the new RL include a one-touch climate control system and adaptive headlights. Inside, the RL is swathed in leather and wood grain, and boasts perhaps one of the most useful new pieces of technology available: real time traffic alerts. Culled from highway patrol (among others) reports, the Acura traffic link will be available in 20 major US markets this fall, including Los Angeles, Miami, New York and Chicago.
  • saugataksaugatak Posts: 488
    OK. Let's let it rest. I've said on many occasions previously that as an overall package, I think the TL is a clear winner. The BMW only has handling going for it, and the difference is not so great that I'd prefer to shell out the extra $ for the propeller on my hood.

    So I think we agree more than we disagree.

    I'll take some C&D slalom test under consideration, but I'm not going to let it sway my opinion. So many things can affect the outcome of a test like that (driver skill, keeping the TL engine in low gears and letting vtec kick in for max. acceleration). For me, that slalom test doesn't indicate that the TL outhandles a BMW, only that the TL is a good enough handling FWD car that it can compete with the BMW. Perhaps if the cones or course were lined up differently the BMW would have come ahead, who knows?

    In the end, I'm going to form my own judgment, and I think I speak for most people when I say that the BMW outhandles the TL, slalom test notwithstanding.

    If you disagree that's fine, but making statements like Hey whats that noise? Its your argument, going out the window based on one test isn't convincing to me.

    Also, FYI, I've tested the brakes on both the TL and BMW b/c different magazines have come up with different braking numbers on the TL. After extensive driving of both, IMO, the TL's brakes work great when the engine is cool, but if you've driven them a while, brake performance suffers. I believe this is common on FWD cars as overworking front tires cause heating of brake lines and deteriorates performance.

    Consequently, although I have nothing against TL's brakes, I still prefer the brakes in the BMW b/c I prefer good consistent performance to spotty great performance.

    Again, the benefits of testing on the roads you drive on and with your driving style to reach your own conclusions.
  • ksomanksoman Posts: 590
    I meant NY Auto show in person, because the car does not look short in person. I agree it is squat. Like many other cars, it does not get justice in pictures. Personally to me, it does not say I arrived, but to call it uninteresting is an extreme... specially when you haven't seen it in person.
  • ksomanksoman Posts: 590
    As a acura fan who does own a bmw, i'll agree, a ew tests here and there mean nothing. I think the TL is great for many many many reasons, but it just doesn't "click" to my mind and body and soul like the 3 does... and this despite the fact that the 3 we have is a slightly more "loose body" convertible.
  • ksomanksoman Posts: 590
    just one minor thing... the british branded sterling "WAS" the acura legend remarketed differently.
  • shotgunshotgun Posts: 184
    Basically true! However, compared to the Acura coupe, the Sterling a 4 four door, had a smaller engine (2494cc vs 2671cc), had a higher final drive ratio (3.02:1 vs 2.95:1) was heavier (1675lbs vs 1401 lbs) had a longer wheelbase (108.6 in vs 108.2 in)...Jesus! Why am I typing this? They're the same cars, LOL.

    Thanks for reminding me ksoman!
  • ksomanksoman Posts: 590
    the vauxhall line up used to have something that was derived from the 95 Accord I remember... ok that's off topic.

    we all forget that 12-15 years ago, the 7's, the S class and the then newly introduced LS350 were the same size as today's 5's, and ES300's and probably the RL. Time's change, strategy changes. At an average of 10000 cars a year and about $4-5000 off each, honda stands to make a tidy sum on the RL if it pulls it on for about 4-5 years or more.

    Back in 1997 or 98, business week published an interview with somebody in honda touting how they had developed this flexible midsize platform that would let them reconfigure cars of sizes from the euro/japanese inspire all the way to the (then future) pilot. I don't think the cost of development of the platform itself is a major factor for honda anymore so i'd bet they have more resources to make fancier other technologies, whether mechanical or electronic.... but then again, platform is an old world term from the body on frame era... i've never really figured out what platform means in the new unibody era... but either ways, with CAD/CAM, the cost of development is magnitudes smaller just purely based on the amount of man-hours/days/years required to get a design from paper to prototype... I look forward to test driving the RL and maybe owning one in the next 12-15 months, even though the shape totally doesn't excite me... but the driving might... if not, i'll somehow convince the family to plunk the extra $$ on a seductively lovely E-class... but i hate its small cramped interior.

    i started the post in timbuktoo and successfully ended the post in zanzibar, so i'm going to stop

    ksso

    sometimes you are the windshield
    sometimes you are the bug
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,093
    The Acura TL seems to handle just fine if the attempt to make it corner is not accompanied with agressive acceleration. What?

    Well, my wife a four time graduate of the Audi driving school in Seefeld, Austria, takes cars on test drives with me in the passenger seat (and she nearly makes me ill). She generally goes to an empty parking lot and creates an imaginary course of cones -- then she gets the car to a certain speed, say 30+mph and then begins attempting to make the car perform figure 8's, sharp left to right to left 90 degree turns, while maintaining approximately the entry speed -- in other words she does NOT enter into a turn, lift off the accelerator, wait for the load shift, stab the brakes and then at the apex "floor" the car in one lower gear (remember my wife "I won't drive automatics" is her middle name).

    She enters the turn, lifts off the accelerator, waits for the load shift, negotiates the turn and then mildly accelerates to keep the ingress and egress speed ~ the same.

    In this example, the TL does about as well as an Audi A4 and a bit worse than a BMW 3 series (AWD on both of the Germans).

    When hard acceleration is involved, the torque steer of the TL is moderate to strong, and on wet pavement is darn near severe.

    The brakes on the TL seemed fine -- the Audis were better, however and the BMW was at least no worse.

    The Acura from a rolling stop, out accelerated the Germans (but not the S4 version of the Audi, of course).

    Overall the Acura suffered from the torque steer gremlin. I commented that with lower profile, wider, stiffer and summer only tires, I thought I MIGHT be able to learn to feather the throttle to almost mitigate the torque steer -- but, and I agree with my wife, "why compromise when you don't need to" -- hence the current champ, in the price range (under $40K) remains the Audi A4 1.8T ultra sport with a couple thousand dollars of "Premium" options.

    The Acura, despite its inviting interior, superior seats and sound system (and dynamite good looks) is a poor second. The BMW, since it was over $40K comparably equipped with the Audi, is relegated to third place -- at THIS time.

    The Acura RL's SH-AWD system is rumored to be making its way to the TL (my "guess" is for the 2006 MY) -- if BMW and Audi don't have a counter attack vehicle locked and loaded by that time, the Acura could darn near blow both the Germans away (assuming one does not have a pro German or anti Japanese car bias).

    And, although I live in Cincinnati, I have been to New York (actually just last month) but that hardly makes me an expert on "the Big Apple!"
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