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Acura RL

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Comments

  • pearlpearl Posts: 336
    given the torrent of upgraded/new competition coming in the 05/06 model year. While we don't know yet exactly how each manufacturer might try to postion these models, consider that in the next year or so, we have new M35/45, GS300/430, RL, STS, A6, plus numerous others. All of these, in my opinion, look pretty good so far in spy pics, write ups, etc. The E class will also get upgrades, and the 5 series will get a new six cylinder engine within another model year (but its looks are killing it). The RL will have to find some way to position itself within all of the above so that it can attract attention and define its niche. One thing that Acura MUST do is advertise! NO ONE goes out shopping for an RL today. They may buy one in the showroom after looking at a TL and realizing that they can get an RL for almost the same price, but Acura/Honda needs a super high quality car with some nice features that can price itself below the 5/E/A6/STS folks, then duke it out with the other Japanese cars for sales.
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    You're being a little hard on Honda aren't you...lol? Honda is far from a bottom feeder don't you think? Seriously though I don't think they'll ever do a proper rwd V8 luxury car. Oh well huh. Actually the Pilot and Odyssey are based on the Accord platform, didn't cost them a thing to build those.

    M
  • cericceric Posts: 1,092
    Here is the press release in Japan.
    I cannot post the US website address here, but I am sure a little google would get you there.

    >>>
    Honda Develops World’s First Super Handling All-Wheel-Drive Available this fall in the Acura RL (North America) and the Legend (Japan)

    TOKYO - April 1, 2004 --- Honda Motor Co., Ltd. today announced the development of a new Super Handling All-Wheel-Drive system, called SH-AWD, that provides cornering performance that responds faithfully to driver input, and outstanding vehicle stability. A world’s first, the SH-AWD system combines front-rear torque distribution control with independently regulated torque distribution to the left and right rear wheels to freely distribute the optimum amount of torque to all four wheels in accordance with driving conditions. The new system will be available this fall in the Acura RL (North America) and the Legend (Japan).

    By monitoring driver input and driving conditions, the SH-AWD system determines the optimum front-rear and lateral (left-right) torque distribution. This information is then conveyed to the rear differential, where direct electromagnetic clutches continuously regulate and vary front-rear torque distribution between ratios of 30:70 and 70:30, and lateral torque distribution in the rear wheels between ratios of 100:0 and 0:100. Torque is used not only for propulsion, but for cornering as well, resulting in a significant enhancement in vehicle maneuverability.

    The SH-AWD system is composed of sensors to detect steering angle, lateral g, and other vehicle information; an ECU; and the rear differential. The direct electromagnetic clutches inside the rear differential, another world’s first, employ electromagnets to obtain precise control over the multi-plate clutches. Built-in search coils monitor the gaps between the electromagnets and the magnetic body to achieve precise, continuously variable torque regulation.

    The rear differential is also equipped with a built-in acceleration device, yet another world’s first. During cornering, the track of the outside rear wheel normally falls outside the average of the tracks of the front wheels. The outside rear wheel does not rotate fast enough to keep up with the front wheels, preventing efficient transmission of torque. To counteract this problem, the SH-AWD acceleration device alters the gearing to speed up the outside rear wheel’s rotation relative to the front wheels. This reduces torque transmission losses and significantly improves vehicle maneuverability.

    At Honda, driving pleasure is regarded as one of the most important factors in vehicle development. The new SH-AWD system features “feed-forward” control, which utilizes the degree of driver input to determine appropriate torque distribution. This results in a super-neutral steering feel that responds with optimal faithfulness to the driver’s handling of the steering wheel, realizing outstanding driving comfort and stability.
  • cericceric Posts: 1,092
    From official Honda Japan site...
    http://www.honda.co.jp/HDTV/news/2004-4040401a/

    This is the long-overdue Legend!
    Who needs V8?! This is coming from a guy who drives '98 BMW 540iA everyday. The new RL is rumored to have 3.5L i-VTEC rated at 300hp (torque around 280lb-ft) More info on April 7 when New York autoshow starts. Stay tuned.

    P.S. the test vehicle is NOT new RL. It is Inspire (Japanese version of US Accord. Their Accord is our Acura TSX.. I am sure you probably know that already)
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    Is this system similar to what the Prelude SH had on its front wheels?

    Uh-oh they're at it again...the little engine (company) that could!

    M
  • ksomanksoman Posts: 593
    just my thought, sounds like they decided to marry their current AWD with the prelude's SH system, and throw in some more gizmos...

    BTW, now even edmunds pre-NYC autoshow write up talks about a potential Acura RL preview...

    Can't wait for the auto show anyways
    ksso
  • tomjavatomjava Posts: 136
    Not bad at all.
  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    DrFill - Honda is making good profits here. But they also need to spend money bolstering their not-so-great endeavors in the UK and home market. Not to mention expanding into China.

    I expect they could use a few billion to create a new platform for the RL and sell 70K units here in the US. But I think they rather spend the same cash and sell an extra 200K units of the cars they've already developed, but in new markets.

    Merc1 - As far as the way it functions, yes, SH-AWD is similar to ATTS. It distributes power to the outside wheels in a corner. But it manages the shift in power differently.

    SH-AWD is very much like VTM-4 (from the Pilot and MDX), except that SH-AWD can vary torque between the left and right rear wheels. And it can also operate with power going to both the front and rear axles all of the time.
  • nebraskaguynebraskaguy Posts: 341
    The website for the New York City Auto Show just added the 2005 RL as a vehicle that will debut there!! I can hardly wait to see it!
  • rctennis3811rctennis3811 Posts: 1,031
    "P.S. the test vehicle is NOT new RL. It is Inspire (Japanese version of US Accord. Their Accord is our Acura TSX.. I am sure you probably know that already)"

    The Inspire has a different front end than our Accord, but those taillights do look different. Plus, the steering wheel was on the left. Could this mean that we might be getting a SH-AWD Accord with different taillights for 05???
  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    The car in that video clip was just a test mule. You didn't think Acura was going to parade the new RL around the test track and wait for the press to take pictures, did you?

    I do think the use of the Accord tells us quite a bit about the RL, though. The RL may be of a similar weight, wheelbase, and general dimensions. I expect it will be somewhat heavier, luxury equipment and 200 lbs of AWD will do that. But probably not more than 3,800 lbs.

    As for changes to the Accord, half of the taillights were covered with black masking, but otherwise unchanged. The test mule wore a decklid spoiler, which kinda made the back end look a little different, but it's a stock item. The only new item I noticed was a strip of chrome above the license plate. Someone else noted that the car had a sportshift transmission, but that might be part of what they were testing along with the rest of the drivetrain.
  • Honda as bottom-feeder meaning mining the $20-35k car buyer and blowing off anyone who wants a premium-tier car platform. I'll only take Acura seriously when they get serious!

       Living in the darkest ghettos of the Big Apple, I guess I'll see 1st hand how serious ACura will be with the better-very-late-than-never RL. Looks like the TL in the drawing. I hope this new "Performance sedan" comes with a "performing" tranny! Everything else Acura has does.

       I couldn't imagine a van and SUV that are EIGHT INCHES wider and several inches longer would come off the Accord platform, but it maybe possible.

       DrFill
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    I see. Well it is true, the SUV (Pilot) and van (od) are all based on the Accord platform. Most of their products are in one way or another.

    M
  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    The Ody, Pilot, and MDX are all based on a modified version of the mid-size global car platform. But platform sharing doesn't mean what it used to. Essentially, it means they can use the same kinds of machines, assembly techniques, and the same sort of design for the factory line. I can post pics of the frame rails used in the Pilot, but not the Accord.

    It's like houses. My house is a cape. So is my neighbor's. But he's got an extra 1,000 sq ft, another bath, and two more bedrooms.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    The M45, GS, RL, A6, E, 5, are all similar dimensioned cars, but the STS appears to be S class\7 series sized. No one goes out shopping for an RL because its almost 10 years old, and woefully outdated. Advertising wont fix that. Infiniti doesnt really advertise either. Its product that moves cars, not flashy TV ads.

    I would say that Infiniti will have a tougher time with the new M45 than Acura will have with the RL. No large Infiniti sedan has ever done well here, ever. The current M is a disaster, V8 and RWD or not. Also, if Nissan really wants the next M to be able to take on the GS and RL, they have got to improve their materials quality. I've driven the G35 Coupe, its a great car, but the interior is barely enough to qualify for a Nissan Sentra. Lexus shoppers will be much more likely to cross town shop with Acura than Infiniti, since Acura appears to be matching them on Interior details lately. I think Lexus\Acura shoppers will be less likely to consider the german brands, and BMW\M-B\Audi shoppers will be even less likely to consider a car from Japan. I dont think either will consider an STS. I dont know anyone that actually likes the look of that thing.
  • cericceric Posts: 1,092
    >>.. and BMW\M-B\Audi shoppers will be even less likely to consider a car from Japan....<<

    I think you focused too much on interior quality. Ask any BMW guys who buy BMW for the interior?! People buy BMW for the driving dynamics. The closest things from Japanese brands are from Honda(Acura) and Nissan(Infiniti) (maybe Lexus GS). There are only BMW and Honda (own Acura before) in my house. I drive '98 540iA now, and I am very interested in the new RL. BMWs are great cars, but reliability is far from Honda.
  • l943973l943973 Posts: 197
    I have a 99 RL my gas mileage improved over time. I'm averaging 21.2 MPG with 50% city and 50% highway. I usually can go around 330 miles before my light appears.
  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    I agree that advertising alone will not fix the current legacy issues with the RL. But a combination of good product and good press can make a car. Take the original Ody vs the 1999 redesign as one example. Or the last Altima vs the new one.

    Acura may never have the brand cache of the german competition. That's true enough. But, if this RL fixes the problems with the old one, I think they are sitting as pretty as can be expected.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Thats just it. Lexus buyers like myself wouldn't buy a BMW because the interior looks like an appliance. The inside of the new 5 is about as inviting as a hospital waiting room. The German shoppers are interested in driving dynamics, which is why its very unlikely that somebody 545i, A6 4.2 shopping would consider an Acura RL.

    Buyers like myself who are more interested in the Mark Levinson audio system, vast stretches of rosewood, etc, arent really all that concerned about lateral G forces, so I think its very likely that traditional Lexus ES\GS shoppers could consider an RL. Infiniti needs to figure out which side it wants to be on. The FX45 points in the German direction, but at least the current Q45 tries to be a copy of an LS430, and has failed. If Infiniti wants to challenge a GS\RL, they need to majorly improve their interiors. If they want to challenge BMW or Audi, they need to figure out how BMW works such magic with a lowly strut suspension, and copy it.
  • cericceric Posts: 1,092
    We should put an end to this Infiniti/Lexus/BMW/MB disucssion. We could go on all year on this. I disgree with your points, but I respect them.
  • sphinx99sphinx99 Posts: 776
    I have three Fearless Predictions.

    Fearless (and possibly foolish) Prediction #1: so long as the car has acceptable tires, the RL will outcorner / out-skidpad every sport sedan on the market, including the lofty E55, M5 and and their brethern. It won't be able to power out of curves like those muscle sedans, but it'll hang with them going in.

    That's my level of confidence if Honda's really applying the active differential from the Prelude SH to both axles. Remember, the FWD Prelude SH was capable of 0.9g on a skidpad. That may not sound like much until you realize that the Prelude SH shipped with 205-series Potenza RE92 tires, possibly the worst performance tires ever made. Prelude SH had phenomenal handling limits given its FWD layout. There aren't many bona fide RWD sports cars that could hang with it if you put, say, Potenza S02s on the Prelude. The RL would be substantially better.

    Here's the problem: the cornering forces such an active differential setup can enable won't be realized safely (by a driver) if you don't squash body roll. That's easily done with a sports car suspension, but you can't put a sports car suspension on an Acura RL. Therefore, I will fearlessly predict (#2) that there's a suspension story to this car that we don't yet know about. You don't put this kind of differential on a car that hasn't been tuned for 10/10ths driving. Either the RL features some truly interesting suspension setup (think Cadillac XLR here) or the new RL is biased far closer to, say, a 5-series with big rims and a sport suspension, than it is to, say, a GS300 or E320. I don't see a paradigm shift in suspension design philosophies at Honda, so I'm betting that the new RL targets the sport-suspension 5-series squarely and ignores the rest of the market. This car will not have a Lexus ride.

    Fearless Prediction #3: the most important statistic to be on the lookout for is the approximate weight penalty of the SH-AWD system. If it is palatable, this may provide a mechanical basis for AWD systems on Honda performance cars going forward (i.e. enhanced TL, next NSX, future 6-series / G35c / SC300 competitor), at least until hybrid drivetrains obviate the need.
  • cericceric Posts: 1,092
    IMHO, the biggest mistake Acura made was trying to imitate Lexus while loosing its own sports-oriented identity. Acura should come back to target those Japanese car buyers who have passion for driving, not just enjoying their fine leather seats, wood trim, and MK stereo. Legend was at the right position. They lost it and find it back with the new 2005 RL. For that reason, I would come back to Acura from BMW.
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    Acura tried too much to be like Lexus in the 90's. The RL wasn't sporty, neither was the 1996-1997 TL, which as we know, didn't last long.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Good points. The new RL doesnt necessarily have to have a punishing ride in order to corner well. Look at the new TL. Edmunds was able to pull 68mph through the cones. Even the venerable 330i cant match that, and the TL is just a FWD layout without the fancy differential, and a comfortable ride. If Acura can keep that formula plus add more power and AWD, the new RL could pull skid pad numbers like a 911 Turbo, which I would love to see. It could make the folks at Audi very worried indeed. It is true that the Vigor, and the old TLs were snooze cars, so its nice to see Acura get their performance roots back, and without cost gutting their interiors, (Nissan). The new TL has the best interior Acura has ever done, so I have high hopes for the RL.
  • jchan2jchan2 Posts: 4,956
    the RL sells well, as it sounds like a great car.
  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    "That's my level of confidence if Honda's really applying the active differential from the Prelude SH to both axles."

    As far as we can tell, Honda is not applying anything to the front axle. The front diff appears to be open. Only the rear will have active torque management.

    I doubt there will be anything special (technologically) with the RL's suspension. Good ole double wishbones with proper tuning should be enough to get the job done. Especially with the SH-AWD pushing the outside wheels around the corner.

    But I do agree with you on the ride. I expect it'll be firm with a bias toward sport. Acura should be going after the BMW 5 series and GS cars from Lexus.

    As for weight, the VTM-4 system weighs in at about 212 lbs. Depending on what SH-AWD is made of (magnesium housing?), I'm thinking it should be no more than 20 lbs heavier. The two systems are quite similar. For reference, Infiniti's G35 AWD sedan is about 300 lbs heavier than the same base model without AWD. Though the AWD version also has a full size spare, rather than a donut, so I can't tell exactly what the real weight should be.

    Anyway... it's very possible that the SH-AWD system could end up in something like a TL type S in 2007. I don't think the TSX's 2.4 engine can handle much more weight, so I doubt we'll see in small cars like that. Nor would I expect to see it in a rear-engined, RWD vehicle like the NSX.

    My predictions?

    The mags will record best in class numbers for handling, but still complain about it not having the right "feel". Then they'll complain about the lack of a V8. They'll conclude that the car is great, but ask, "what took so long?" It'll land second place to the 5 series in every comparo.
  • Great predictions. I agree also that it will be 2nd place and considered a great car, but that if it is priced right, like the TSX and TL are, and since the 5-Series and E-Class seem to have risen in price a bit, it may actually sell pretty well.
  • cericceric Posts: 1,092
    Those mag guys do not own the cars. They just play with them. You, on the other hand, have to own them and live with them for many years.

    Here is what I got from owning '98 BMW 540iA since new. Remind you that I know cars, and I took care of mine very well.

    Moonroof(twice), cat converter(twice), trunk actuator, fog light switch, wiper relay, missing dash pixels, broken dash LED backlight, radiator, coolant hose, coolant reservoir, fan belt, water pump, thermostat(twice).

    tear & wear: omitted here.

    I still love my 540iA, but mag guys don't tell you that and don't care when they rank cars.
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