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Where is Honda taking Acura?

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  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    "Are current/recent buyers of TL criticizing FWD setup? Does anybody know if significant amount of potential buyers were lost because of FWD?"

    Count me as #2.

    I don't regret having bought a 2004 TL 6-speed for $32k almost 3 years ago. But now, in order to get a manual transmission, I'd have to go to the $38k+ TL-S. And as you head towards and above $40k, the 2007 335i is a huge upgrade to the 330i that I considered in 2004.

    As for the TL's capabilities in snow, do you have any first hand experience? From mine, it is pretty bad. 17" low profile tires take away a lot of the FWD advantage. My former 1995 Nissan Maxima SE, with 15" wheels and tires, would run circles around the TL in the snow. Even my 911 feels more stable in a moderate to heavy rain at highway speeds than my TL.

    As for dry weather handling being "excellent", I'm not sure what your metric is. I'll give Acura engineers due credit for doing the best they can within the laws of physics. But a 60/40 front weight bias and torque steer are evident as soon as you attempt to drive the car like a sport sedan. The 3 series doesn't just "feel" better, it is vastly superior.

    Mind you, I did not buy our TL with any false pretensions that it is a serious sport sedan. I bought it as a well balanced, "sporty" sedan with desireable amenities and the ability to carry my family comfortably. But if anyone is consdering it as a serious sport sedan - which the TL-S seems to be falsely advertising itself as - the FWD setup is a very very serious impediment. The next time around, I will buy a 335i or 550i, unless Acura does soemthing to significantly improve the TL and/or RL from a performance perspective.

    P.S. Robertmax, I think the weight issue is even more dramatic than you realize. According to Edmunds:

    TL (automatic) - 3,623 lbs
    TL-S (manual) - 3,563 lbs.
    RL - 4,074 lbs
    530i (manual) - 3,472 lbs
    M5 (V10, 500 hp) - 4,012 lbs

    So the TL weighs 150 lbs more than a 530i, the RL weighs over a quarter ton more than a 530i and 60 lbs more than a 500 hp M5. This is precisely why Acura needs to get off their subborn horse and develop an RWD platform. Adding SH-AWD to the TL will produce nothing more than a grossly overweight mid size sedan. Or they can just hand that whole market to Lexus, Mercedes and BMW and just make gussied up Honda Accords. But I hope not.
  • ggesqggesq Posts: 701
    "Does anybody know if significant amount of potential buyers were lost because of FWD?"

    Just today I was reading someone's post in the TL v. G35 forum where the person was waivering between the two. If I remember correctly- the main hangup was the FWD platform.

    Who says the TL has to get bigger (if going RWD) to have the same interior volume as the current FWD? I say- Make the TL a true sport sedan not an "also ran."
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    Yep. Even if Acura sells 70K units of TL regardless of going RWD or sticking with FWD, the difference will be in perception of Acura as a contender in the luxury segment. FWD layout puts a limit while also creating a handicap for Accord at the lower end of the spectrum. It also limits TL's growth.

    Acura engineers have indeed pushed the limit to keep TL have competitive power and refinement but how long can it go? SH-AWD is far from being a good answer. If it were relatively inexpensive, and didn’t add anything but just a few pounds or introduce inefficiencies in the drive train, I won’t be averse for a status quo with the AWD system coming to rescue. It cannot be seen as a long term solution to carry sales of a car much less a brand. RL has already proven that.

    FR platform on TL will open a lot of possibilities for Acura. It could potentially contend even in mid-40s and close the gap with RL which can take things from there. And let TSX handle the entry level duties.
  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    "Does anybody know if significant amount of potential buyers were lost because of FWD?"

    Apparently, not many.

    The heart of the issue is something Habitat mentioned. He bought his TL as a sportEE car, not a real sports car. That is exactly what the VAST majority of the market is looking to purchase.

    There's more to building a successful car than track performance. Building the TL on the Accord assembly lines allows Acura to address all the other things that make the TL a best-seller.
  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    "too bad the RL was not named the TL."

    Actually, the design of the RL is rumored to one of the contenders for the TL in 2004. The US design team presented a design like what we got. The Japanese design team presented something like the RL. Apparently, they decided to go the US design for the TL.

    Later on, they revisited the Japanese concept for the TL and transformed it into the RL.

    Just a rumor, but one that comes from several reliable sources.
  • ggesqggesq Posts: 701
    "Apparently, not many."

    Can you imagine how many G owners might have been swayed to buy the TL if it was RWD? The reason I bought my TL is because it is an excellent balance between performance, luxury, technology and value. I don't expect it to perform superbly on a track and I had that understanding before I bought it.However, imagine if it had RWD? How would the G stand a chance? The driving dynamics of the current FWD TL are better than the IS350 and if it had RWD it would blow it out of the water.
    I don't think RWD would sway many 3er fans to buy the TL because of its price point and quite simply- it's snob appeal. Same goes for the IS350. The TL "could" at least have a fighting chance in dethroning the 3er as the benchmark in this class. If it did- I guarantee it would be the best-seller in the market based on marketing hype alone.
    Building the TL on the Accord assembly lines allows Honda to have a solid product in the Accord. It limits the potential of what the TL can and should be- a true entry level sport sedan offering from Acura.
    BTW- the 3er is the best seller in the ELLPS class.
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    IMO, TL also puts a limit on what Accord could be. While there are pros to platform sharing, let us not ignore the cons, Varmint. Accord must continue to play to be the bland cousin to TL. It must continue to be less refined and less of a performer or else, how exactly would Acura be able to justify a $6K premium? That’s a bad situation to put one self into and while it hasn’t hurt as much so far, future may end up being different especially with a downward slide on sales of the Accord.
  • xrunner2xrunner2 Posts: 3,062
    The driving dynamics of the current FWD TL are better than the IS350 and if it had RWD it would blow it out of the water.

    We can only speculate how a RWD TL would do. But, Honda has already proven what they can do with RWD with the S2000. Does that car not compare favorably with the BMW equivalent roadster, maybe even beating it?

    Would be great to see a RWD TL "just" to have it beat the BMW 3 series in all measures: actual handling/performance data, "feel", price, interior, style, etc. What would the BMW snobs then say? Tsk, tsk - TL was not designed by European engineers. Waiting for day that BMW 3 series is built in east European country to save costs.

    TL already beats 3 series on price, interior, style and reliability.
  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    "Can you imagine how many G owners might have been swayed to buy the TL if it was RWD?"

    I like the G35 very much. Especially the new one with the revised interior. But let's not make it out to be something it isn't. Look at the business case, not the magazine headlines.

    The G35 has been selling at a pace of about 35K units each year. The old FWD I30 sold at a pace of about 30K units each year. Acura's 4 cyl FWD TSX sells about 25K units and could sell more if they could assemble more of them. Acura's FWD TL sells roughly 74K each year.

    "BTW- the 3er is the best seller in the ELLPS class."

    I believe I wrote "a" best-seller, not "the" best-seller. Sorry for the confusion.

    Regardless, in 2004 and 2005, the TL was THE best-seller. Granted the TL was brand new and the 3 series was due for an FMC. But in a little while the TL will be new again and the 3 will be old. I suspect they will continue to swap the lead position.

    Looking at the market from a different perspective...

    How many cars are there in the $30-40K market with a focus on luxury above all else? One, the ES350. Maybe the Volvo S60 as a second.

    How many cars are there in the $30-40K market with a focus on sportiness above all else? At least four viable ones, plus a few who don't seem to compete well.

    How many cars take a balanced approach to market? One, the TL. Maybe two if you want to include the S60 in this class.

    If you're a company with a car that's earned a top selling position using a strategy with either zero or others directly challenging it, why start taking the approach where four other companies are already fighting with each other?
  • danilodanilo Posts: 69
    Interesting how you say "BMW snobs" Owned three and I'll say three TL's before becoming a BMW snob. BMW out performs Acura PERIOD Yes TL is cheaper... Uh yeah; And Style and interior are indeed subjective so we'll leave that alone. Funny how you have a "need" to compare the inferior TL to the Superior 3 series. BMW does not compare themselves to the TL. No comparison. Owned both and by owning both I can say the BMW kicks the TL's butt. Acura needs to just be Acura. They will never be BMW so why bother.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    "Owned both and by owning both I can say the BMW kicks the TL's butt. Acura needs to just be Acura. They will never be BMW so why bother."

    I am a big fan of BMW, but I have to say, the S2000 "kicked the butt" of the Z3/Z4. By a huge margin. And it did so by employing ground up world class, race car inspired engineering. So it's not inconcievable for me to think that Acura engineers, if they really put their minds to it, of coming up with something to give the 550i 6-speed a run for it's money. Or potentially designing a TL that would really compete with the 3 series. Hasn't happened yet, but it's not as inconcievable to me, given that I can still recommend a 7 year old S2000 design over the current Z4 as a "Superior" roadster. And my current ownership of a 911 doesn't deter me from giving it the same credit over the base Boxster. Although I would put the base Boxster well ahead of the Z4.

    If you think BMW is inherently superior and doesn't need to worry about competition from the likes of Acura, I can only say let's hope BMW engineers and management don't get so egotistical. They have done a great job of continuing to up the ante on the 3 series and deserve the reputation they have earned. But overconfidence and reliance upon snob appeal would be just as detrimental to them as it was for Mercedes vis a vis Lexus.
  • danilodanilo Posts: 69
    The S2000 is indeed a fine machine. To be totally honest here I do not think that BMW can just sit around and not worry but it seems every year they come up with a winner. Not to say Acura is not ever going to be in the running but Acura simply focusses on their goals and BMW on theirs.
  • xrunner2xrunner2 Posts: 3,062
    Owned both and by owning both I can say the BMW kicks the TL's butt.

    That's kid talk.

    Perhaps some "actual test data", not opinions, could be furnished to show the differences in performance between the TL and 3 series. Just where and by how much does the vaunted 3 series beat the TL?

    Don't know if there are any measured tests of these cars in snow, ice, rain, dirt or gravel, but I would guess that 3 series could not hold a candle to the TL on these real world surfaces. Oh, but wait. Maybe the 3 series owners are afraid to get snow/salt, dirt or gravel dust on their cars and don't drive on these surfaces anyway.

    I have no doubt that Honda/Acura could far surpass BMW in all attributes if they chose to build a RWD sedan. With Honda's excellent engine reliability in the IRL race series, perhaps more of features of these engines could be adapted to a street RWD performance sedan.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    "Don't know if there are any measured tests of these cars in snow, ice, rain, dirt or gravel, but I would guess that 3 series could not hold a candle to the TL on these real world surfaces."

    I hate to keep playing devils advocate, but with the 2-3 inches of freezing snow and muck we got in DC this past week, both my 911 and TL sat idle. I borrowed my wife's MDX. You can't claim the TL (at least not with low profile Z rated tires) has much if any advantage over a RWD with traction control. The tires are at least as important as the drive wheels in muck. But on dry pavement, RWD will always be an advantage over FWD.

    "perhaps more of features of these engines could be adapted to a street RWD performance sedan."

    And the sooner the better.
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    I like the G35 very much. Especially the new one with the revised interior. But let's not make it out to be something it isn't. Look at the business case, not the magazine headlines.

    The G35 has been selling at a pace of about 35K units each year. The old FWD I30 sold at a pace of about 30K units each year. Acura's 4 cyl FWD TSX sells about 25K units and could sell more if they could assemble more of them. Acura's FWD TL sells roughly 74K each year.


    A business case has to be more than just sales. Otherwise, Acura would be perfectly fine selling 65K units of Integra each year instead of 35K units of TSX. While TL may not benefit considerably in terms of sales by going RWD, it will benefit Acura as a brand. It will help RL at the upper end, not unlike Infiniti M benefiting from G. Let me ask you, what do you think makes Infiniti M a seller compared to RL?

    TL may have outsold G35 in the past, but progressive companies should never rest their laurels on the past. With continuous improvements as we’re seeing from Infiniti, I won’t be a bit surprised to see G35 outselling TL. Wait, it already has, two months in a row (and I am not counting the G35 Coupe). TL sales are down, G35 sales are drastically up. I am afraid, 35K units/year sales for G35 may be history. How is Infiniti doing it? Start with a platform that can define success in the market, and address minor issues.

    How many cars are there in the $30-40K market with a focus on luxury above all else? One, the ES350. Maybe the Volvo S60 as a second.

    Do we want TL to be one of them? Not a good idea. Acura has to have learnt that lesson from 1996 RL debacle. Acura needs to be Acura. When they emphasize “racing heritage” in their commercials, they better stick to it.

    How many cars are there in the $30-40K market with a focus on sportiness above all else?

    Therein lies the problem. If you think going RWD is all about “sportiness”, you’re starting on a wrong premise. Why isn’t Lexus LS460 a front driver? After all, sportiness is the last thing that one would associate with that car (and many others like it).

    TL doesn’t need to focus on all-out sport by default (although, a Type-S trim should). RWD platform would allow a far greater flexibility in orienting the car’s regular trims as well as offer sport version. It would also allow a better RL. It would open another opportunity for a luxury coupe. Sticking with global front drive platform and throwing in SH-AWD as a patchwork is simply not going to work.
  • xrunner2xrunner2 Posts: 3,062
    I hate to keep playing devils advocate, but with the 2-3 inches of freezing snow and muck we got in DC this past week, both my 911 and TL sat idle. I borrowed my wife's MDX. You can't claim the TL (at least not with low profile Z rated tires) has much if any advantage over a RWD with traction control.

    Have used snow tires at all 4 wheels on many of my cars (RWD and FWD) over the years. Have had RWDs with Posi type diff and while this is better than not having, RWD still does not have the traction nor control of a FWD. Remember, on a RWD and snowy pavement, the front tires tend to tobaggan and ride up on snow while FWD front tires can bite down and grip and steer. They have torque.

    Have 50 series Dunlop snows on 04 TL and 2-3 inches of snow/muck is no problem. Don't recall any RWD vehicle that can leave from traffic signal (in snow, ice, muck) easier/faster (mind you I don't race) than my TL or other front drivers that I have had. I just drive away from the traffic signal, no racing, and leave the rear drivers behind.

    But on dry pavement, RWD will always be an advantage over FWD.

    Think that a Mini Cooper S could give your old S2000 a good run in a slalom or in the twisties?
  • danilodanilo Posts: 69
    Well, by owning both and driving both and actually feeling the difference is an opinion. But it is also your opinion the "Honda/Acura" has the ability to surpass BMW in all attributes. Too bad they have not done so to date. The TL is horrible in snow and rain, Oh and I guess owning one and experiencing it first hand is an opinion. Also the BMW that I currently own "kicks theTL's butt" Kids talk I know. But also an experience oh and another first hand one. Remember you are comparing the TL to the 3 series which is BMW's entry model. A model which ranges from 32 to over 50 grand and that is the total range of the Acura line... Uh what about the 5 or 7 or the new Z9? No doubt? I guess ignorance is bliss...............
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    "Think that a Mini Cooper S could give your old S2000 a good run in a slalom or in the twisties?"

    Not a chance. The Mini Cooper, with it's tiny dimensions and good suspension is certainly a fun car to toss around in tight quarters, but make no mistake, it's not a serious sports car. Even if it was RWD, it wouldn't be. Just look at the dimensions: nearly 1 1/2 feet shorter than an S2000, over 2 feet shorter than a Boxster, but several inches narrower in track width than either and a nearly a half foot TALLER. Where do you think it's center of gravity is, compared to an S2000 or Boxster.

    No, the Mini may be good competition for a VW GTI, but try keeping up with an S2000 or Boxster in serious handling maneuvers and you will likely end up with its cute underbelly pointing skyward.
  • After I actually dropped my jaw (NO JOKE)at how close GM is to actually getting the CTS right (All I'm waiting for is the 1st drive & full test), I thought about Acuras future vs others competetive cars that acura can take on better with a few changes.

    For the honda-holics like myself out there, I hope acura makes a RWD sedan. They need it but the TL isn't the right one for RWD. Neither is the Tsx. The only sedan that is slow, slow selling, and slow to make a second glance at is the RL.

    Tsx can stay FWD as its a great handling car. Good for the Cadillac Bls, Is250, & 328i. It needs more power and i think the Turbo is the best way for it to go. IMO, T.s.x. stand for "Touring Sports Crossover" which fits the Tsx perfectly.

    The TL i still say FWD. A standard Limited Slip Differential, 3.5l v6 and a Button/Knob to switch between Sport and Comfort settings makes perfect es350 and s80 competor. I see Infiniti Bringing out the I35 again. I see TL as True Luxury or Touring Luxury.

    Rl Should be RWD and SH-AWD option. GS430(50 in future?), 535i/550i, & E-class. Would Acura be stepping on their own toes if I said it should be renamed SLX for "Sports Luxury Crossover". Using a 4.8l w8 (Two 2.4l I4 180hp + 180hp = 360hp), RWD or RWD biased Sh-awd option IMO fills the Void left by the two and only Acura Legend(s :confuse: ?).

    -Cj
  • xrunner2xrunner2 Posts: 3,062
    The TL is horrible in snow and rain,

    Maybe depends on driver. TL works fine for me in snow, ice, rain, slush.

    With equivalent tires on TL and a RWD (snows or all season), FWD will still be better than RWD. This is a no-brainer.

    Also the BMW that I currently own "kicks theTL's butt" Kids talk I know.

    Everybody knows that BMW RWD has excellent "feel" as reported by "professional" testers. But, in actual measured data that can be found on Edmunds or R&T, TL and BMW 3 are close. TL beats 3 in some test parts, 3 is better in others per Edmunds test of 2006 BWM 3 and test of 2004 TL. Edmunds tester Karl Brauer said about TL: "Technically, it may not be as 'fun' as a BMW 3 Series, but it obviously goes through the slalom just as rapidly."

    Opinions about "kicking" are subjective and colorful, but actual measured data trumps these.

    It will be interesting to see if new 2007 TL Type S is tested by Edmunds and how it fares to 2004 base model and BMW 3 sedan.

    If Honda does make a RWD sport/lux sedan in near future, there is no doubt that it will surpass BMW and G35 right out of the box on their first try. They would obviously be targetting the BMW. They know how to do it and have proven that a FWD primarily company can build an excellent RWD. They did so with S2000.
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    Why would you prefer TL to be FWD? It can, now, no longer compete in price, features and performance. Looks can only take a car so far and for so long (while also hurting the lesser siblings, like current TL is doing to Accord).

    A RWD "platform" makes sense only if it is shared, unless it were for an exotic or a sports car (even then, very few automakers choose the route for good reasons). TL would be the perfect mate to RL, while also benefitting from it. SH-AWD can remain an option on TL (with high performance V6) as well as RL (with high performance V8).

    It will be a bad idea for Acura to bring next TL with FWD and compete in $35K-$40K price class (it already is a $34K-$39K car).
  • danilodanilo Posts: 69
    If honda does make a RWD sport/lux sedan in the near future, there is no doubt that it will surpass BMW and G35 right out of the box on their first try.

    Keep dreaming.....

    Ignorance is bliss ....
  • If honda makes a rwd model, It should be for the RL, MDX, and Ridgeline. The TL is just fine with FWD. "It may not be as fun drive as the bmws but it goes through just as quickly".

    If The RL and TL share anything, the TL is automatically the better buy. Its making honda step on its own toes. The only thing separating the RL and TL now is price, awd, minor interior features, mpg, weight, and 4 hp(tl-type-s vs rl).

    The Rls interior is a pinch bigger than the TLs and the price is a punch higher. Nearly 10k.

    33k will get you into a 3.2lv6 TL (w/258hp & 233 lb ft of torque). 3k more gets you Nav/nav traffic. 2k more gives you a sport suspension and 3.5l v6 (286hp & 256lb ft of torque.).

    45k gets you an rl with sh-awd a 3.5l v6 (290hp & 256lb ft of torque). 4k more gives you the tecnology.

    Here is edmund's comparison

    A rwd tl is great but will cost more as honda needs $$$ to pay for it. A fwd tl is great and is a nice step up from the accord or tsx. The Rl is like a step down from tl.

    The Rl needs to be different from the tl to sell. People may see it like "Why pay 10k for awd and some minor interior things that i may never use" or "bmw, here i come!"

    A RWD TL and FWD RL is like cadillacs RWD cts & sts and FWD DTS. It just doesn't make sense to me. :confuse:

    -Cj
  • And to answer your question, I would prefer a FWD tl because even as it is now, The torque steer is vanishing every year, Its a great Mix of Sport and luxury, its 35k price point is great and the looks of it are to die for...

    "Good evening for channel 7 news, Charles has crashed into a light post today. What was his excuse?" [Rolls tape]

    "The Tl I saw driving past me was sooo beautiful! Its drivers must be in love! I just cant wait to have one of my own so other people stare at me in it other than glance at my accord..." :blush:

    -Cj :blush: ;) :shades:
  • ggesqggesq Posts: 701
    "I would prefer a FWD tl because even as it is now, The torque steer is vanishing every year,"

    cj, when did the laws of physics change? There's a current hp war going on in the ELLPS class and if Acura wants to remain competetive, they have to up the ante to at least 300hp. 300hp in a FWD sedan does not make sense. SH-AWD is only a temporary solution. It will add weight undoubtedly. AWD should be an option on the TL.

    I say - spend the money on R & D to make the TL RWD. The TL should not end up being a boulevard cruiser like the ES and the Volvo. Rather, it should be a solid sport sedan in the class.
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 9,834
    unofficial report from my kid is the tl and gti drivers at school were complaining about driving in the snow we just had.
    maybe acura needs to make some commercials like bmw demonstrating the ability of their vehicle to handle snow.
  • vibsrvibsr Posts: 47
    The BMW commercials are advertising their all-wheel-drive option. Rear-wheel-drive BMWs are horrible in the snow without the right tires and a very patient driver.

    Half-worn 50/55-series tires won't grip too well in the heavy cool whip. Twenty years ago, the majority of the FWD cars on the road had nothing wider than a 70-series tire. These days, wheel diameters have increased considerably, and tire profiles have decreased considerably. A wide low-profile tire doesn't have the bite that a narrower tire would have. If you couple that with a rev-happy engine in a FWD layout, driving can be rather difficult.
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 9,834
    the new bmw commericals tout their awd. other than that i agree with you. those old fwd cars had no torque, current ones have a lot of it.
  • If the Tl got 300hp and RWD, then it'd carry a starting price of $40k. I don't at all mind the TL and accord sharing parts to keep the price in the mid 30s. Then it would me no reason at all to get the slightly bigger, more expensive, somewhat slower RL.

    The Tl gets all the best things from the accord and then taken a bit further. The accords 244hp engine gets pumped to 258hp in the standard Tl whilst keeping the same great fuel efficiency.

    The Accord (and all hondas for that matter) all deliver great handling for Fwd. The Tl should remain unchanged as very little is wrong with it.

    The only changes I see taking place in the base TL is a standard LSD, and a bigger trunk. The TL IMO is the perfect car under $35k for a family as the tsx is for under $30k. Maybe a button to switch between comfort and sport settings. Heck if honda could make Sh-awd rear biased, that would be great!

    The TL does everything so well. Read about the Long-term TL! Hopefully we get to see a Long term Tl-S ;) .

    Wow this is my 700th post!!

    -Cj
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