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Acura RL



  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,343
    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: 593
    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: 5,343
    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: 5,343
    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.
  • pg48477pg48477 Posts: 309
    How you figure that FWD biased AWD is nose heavy and RWD biased AWD is not. One of the advantages in balancing RWD vehicle is placing front wheels as far front as possible to shift the weight of the engine and trany to rear wheels. in AWD set up it's not that easy if any possible. Lets take TL for example it weight about 3500 lb and has 60/40 balance, 2100lb/1400lb if you add 250lb for new SH-AWD and move battery back, you endup with 2050 lb/1700 lb 54/46 and thats without making car lighter or re configuring transmition placement(which would shift weight forward).
    Take any 50/50 balanced BMW and add AWD you will end up with nose heavy vehicle(without any other mods).
    So the point is there is no problem making FWD or RWD biased AWD vehicle 50/50 balanced.
  • boomsamaboomsama Posts: 362
    Does anyone know the weight distribution of the RL?
  • hunter001hunter001 Posts: 851
    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.

    The WRX STi AWD has absolutely no similarity to the AWD employed in the "regular" manual-transmissioned WRX.

    The regular WRX uses a cheap viscous coupling Center differential, an open front differential and a weak viscous coupling rear differential.

    The WRX STi on the other hand, uses a rally-derived dual-planetary gear center differential, a mechanical torque-sensing front differential and a mechanical torque-sensing rear differential. It also biases a majority of the power to the rear wheels and continuously varies power/torque front to rear and side to side to aid handling. In no way shape or form is this setup similar to the MUCH CHEAPER setup above.

    The RL's SH-AWD is intriguing too.

  • legendmanlegendman Posts: 362
    Back to the new RL for a moment. It seems that some of you guys follow the auto market pretty closely.

    Is there anything new about the RL that has not been mentioned in the last few weeks?

    Anyone know what exterior/interior colors will be offered?

    Estimated MPG?

    Will Acura offer any kind of gas saving feature? How long before a hybrid engine in an Acura?

    Separately, I will be selling my 1991 Legend LS this fall. Any suggestions on how to sell it, and where I could get the most money? I understand that the Legend has become quite popular and sought after; there are a number of websites just dedicated to Legend fans.

    Thanks in advance.
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,343
    . . .we're all getting to the point, where we want to see the RL sooner rather than later. We're excited and ready to move on to hands on.

    I don't know if Acura lurks on these boards, but you'd think they would at least throw us a bone of a fully realized brochure OR at least an updated web site.

    No wonder we wander off topic -- we have no board members who actually are owners or drivers.

    All the neat stuff about AWD vs other layouts is certainly entertaining and mostly relevant to the new RL -- but even an early test of the thing in the Car Magazine du jour seems to be lacking.

    I've been reading A6 pretests and tests and impressions for months now -- mum's the word on the RL.

    We're starved here for "input" need input, need input. . . .

    The TL, I'm guessing is nose heavy, probably something like 58 to 42 -- anyone? anyone?

    The RL will likely be so too -- but, is it safe to opine that the new RL will be better weight balanced than the current model?
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    You've got a bunch of options as to a sale. I would not suggest a dealer, thats pretty much always a rip off. You could try a private sale, but you may have to wait, it depends on how much you're willing to advertise the car. Another option is donating it to charity (tax deducatble). The current law for that is that if the car is worth less than $5000, you can use NADA retail value of the car (which is way more than you'd get selling the car anywhere else). If its worth more than $5,000, you have to have the car appraised. They are considering changing that, but nothing has passed yet. If a '91 Legend is worth less than 5 grand, I would suggest the charity route.
  • shotgunshotgun Posts: 184
    All the "good stuff" - weight, torque, engine SOHC vs DOHC, color combos, potential options (like A-Spec, tire sizes, radar cruise control, cylinder shut-off, hybrid configurations, etc. - if any) appear to be top secret. Acura will probably make that information available when dealers get their first look at the production model in August. Come to think of it, Honda/Acura have always been a very tight lipped crew...and it seems works to their advantage.
  • legendmanlegendman Posts: 362
    Cylinder shut-off. That's a concept I would be interested in. Would probably be great on a long cruise, but, at the same time it would make me nervous to think that if I needed power in a hurry that the sytem might lag or freeze in cylinder-shut off mode.

    Anyone who has ever driven a Turbo, specifically the Saab Turbo 9000, knows how frustrating (and dangerous) lag time can be. You womp on the gas pedal and nothing happens, then after few agonizingly slow seconds later the Turbo kicks in, the steering wheel and the car suddenly lurches in whatever direction your tires happened to be pointed in. It was nice on the highway, but in city traffic, you couldn't count on it.
  • cericceric Posts: 1,092
    VCM. It is going to show up in Hybrid Accord and new Odyssey both 2005. What I heard from Odyssey board was that the switch is very fast. The moment you floor it, it reacts. It would not be slower than the transmission kick-down. The difficult part actually is the noise since one bank of cylinders are shut down. Honda uses active noise cancellation to counter the noises. No, I doubt RL would use VCM technology since gas mileage is not the top concern in this segment.

    On another topic, I have my doubt that SH-AWD TL would actually happen very soon. The reason being the body shell needs to be redesigned to accommodate the AWD drive train. Honda have to wonder if the return justify the cost of development.

    No, I haven't heard anything new about RL, other than the fact that an IBM ads on local newspaper showing a black RL. It looks great!!!
  • saugataksaugatak Posts: 488
    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.

    I think you're right on this point. OTOH, FWD-based AWD should have better weight balance than pure FWD. Also, I'd guess that RWD based AWD system would be heavier than a FWD-based AWD system, which will affect performance as well.
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Well those are Saab FWD turbos. Those do suck. The 93 Viggen is almost impossible to drive. Audi uses two relatively small turbos in the A6 2.7T that spool up pretty quickly, so theres not much in the way of noticable lag. I havent not heard about that sort of problem in a VCM system though, Mercedes has been using them on their twelves for a bit, without issue.
  • legendmanlegendman Posts: 362
    >VCM. It is going to show up in Hybrid Accord and new Odyssey both 2005<

    >I havent not heard about that sort of problem in a VCM system though, Mercedes has been using them on their twelves for a bit, without issue.<

    Hey guys,

    I post regularly on a medical website. While we do use abbreviations, we also try to at least once per post or per page, to provide a definition along with that abbreviation. Example: (VCM) Variable Combustion Management.

    Of course, I have absolutely no idea what VCM means. Would you mind sharing its definition? That way, your words of wisdom will reach a larger audience, instead of just the few that know the esoteric vernacular in which you speak.
  • ksomanksoman Posts: 593
    you are here all the time, or is the RL all that magnetic?

  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    VCM is "Variable Cylinder Management".

    Here is a link to video from Honda on how it works. VCM has been available in Japanese market (Honda Inspire) for about a year. Honda Inspire is American Accord with some cosmetic changes and the 3.0/V6 is tuned to deliver 250 HP/218 lb.-ft. Of course, VCM is a part of it as well.

    VCM operation is apparently completely transparent (based on couple of road tests that I have read).
  • lexusguylexusguy Posts: 6,419
    Its a very interesting car. I work, just not that hard :)
  • cericceric Posts: 1,092
    I know I don't. The last paycheck I got wasn't from I won't be surprised some of us are PR (public relation) of some auto makers working on internet marketing. I work for an IC software company. I drive BMW 540iA for 6+ years, planning to replacing it with new RL. And, that is why I stick around here.
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,343
    Audi's turbos, for the past several years, reach "full boil" below 1900 RPM's -- unless you are in 6th gear at 30 MPH (which I guess is possible) the Audi bi-turbos are always at or near full boil and almost always at full boil.

    In practice, light bi turbo applications such as this are often said to have imperceptible lag. DBW or auto-trans lag (called tip-lag) generally is more of the issue that the time it takes for the positive effects of the turbo to kick in.

    Saabs are known for their turbo lag issues. I've been told that even in the Saab family each new generation reduces the lag over the prior ones.

    Turbo lag, in the Audi RS 6 4.2, if it is an issue is insignificant -- as is the lag in many other turbo cars.

    As they say "there's no replacement for displacement -- except for volumetric efficiency" -- well designed turbos provide efficiency aplenty. My only personal beef against turbos seems to be the cost if/when one of them goes "bump in the night!"

    My wife's 225HP TT is turbo charged as is my 2.7T -- both of them have been "flawless" in virtually every respect (except milage) -- lag is not an issue (we both have 6spd manual transmissions, and we both ALWAYS keep the engine above 1900 RPMs).

    If Acura WANTS to blow on the 3.5L RL engine a little bit -- I would say "hello 400HP, but mainly hello bags of torque" in a heartbeat!

    Personally, I'd rather they went that route than a V8 -- but that's just me. I know for bragging rights the V8 is probably ultimately needed -- but one could add, perhaps Turbo Diesel should be considered too!
  • legendmanlegendman Posts: 362
    >Turbo Diesel should be considered too!<

    A buddy of mine, a real estate agent, just sold his 1997 Mercedes S class for a 1997 Mercedes E class with diesel engine. He claims that the fuel mileage is signicantly greater than in a gasoline fueled E class counterpart. He reports that in Europe, diesels are all the rage, and given a few more years, that will happen here in the USA. I kind of doubt that, the thought of a diesel in an Acura RL doesn't quite cut it. He claims that in Europe, you have to special order a gasoline engine. (Trust me -- I'm not too sure of his "facts"!)

    With the cost of fuel headed North, its incumbent on the auto makers to design and sell more fuel efficient cars. The last ten years seem to have been at a standstill, as regards general fuel economy. It seems that horsepower and bragging rights -- including the V8 engines we've been talking about -- have been paramount to buyers of luxury cars and Navigator sized SUVs.

    Me thinks that with gas prices what they are, the downsized cars and gas sipping engines of the post 70's oil embargo may reemerge.

    As someone here said a while back, maybe Honda was right in staying with 6 cylinder engine manufacture, and not making a V8. I suppose that like neckties, if you wait long enough, they'll eventually come back in style.
  • ksomanksoman Posts: 593
    and nothing to test drive yet...
    tick tick tick.

  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,343
    The interesting thing with clean burn turbo diesel cars, is the performance is remarkable.

    I took a three day driving course in Austria -- our cars were 2.5TD Audi A4's -- 6 speed manuals. We also had a one year old S4 (turbo gas) -- the off the line grunt of these two cars was remarkably close.

    The thing we Americans love so much is torque, we hardly care about horsepower (except to brag).

    Diesels, esp TD's, are capable of low low low RPM torque, decent horsepower and fantastic economy (and if we get to clean fuel, which I keep reading is "coming soon" -- well, case closed).

    Your "next car" may be a TD -- and the Acura would be a stormer with such an engine -- it could still have 300HP but the torque and fuel economy would shoot up -- as would the performance, 0 - 60.

    The TD is the next HP and Green car all rolled into one -- couple it with SH AWD, a decent balance of weight over the F+R wheels and you would have the "car of the future." Bye bye gasoline powered cars -- especially at $3 a gallon (coming soon to a pump near you!)
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