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Acura RL



  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    "I would like to encourage some discussion as to what market we think the RL is catering to and who is the prototypical owner who gravitates to an RL instead of comparably priced European or other Japanese cars. Is the RL trying to eventually compete with some of the top European cars?"

    When we talk about markets, I think we need to acknowledge the fact that the new RL doesn't really follow the path of the current RL. The cars have the same name, but I think Acura is trying (for real) to appeal to a different set of buyers with the newer version.

    My opinion on the current RL is that it's a tweener in the market. It's upscale, but not up high enough to be snobbish. And it's an affordable large car. Someone once described it as the perfect car for Real Estate Agents, and I think that fits. Buyers are likely to be looking for a quality car that provides a decent ride, decent passenger capacity, and doesn't break the bank.

    The new RL is a different animal. I think Acura will lose a lot of their current clientele with this paradigm shift. But I think they will also gain quite a few by stealing from other brands. The new RL seeks to add a dash of sport to the car. This car wants to be a sporty sedan, not a luxury cruiser. I doubt the interior will be all that large, and while it will feature many of the latest gismos and gadgets it give up some comfort in order to appeal to the driving enthusiasts.

    Meanwhile, this list of cars from that post...

    "BMW 7 Series, Mercedes-Benz S-Class, Jaguar XJ, Audi A8 L"

    ...doesn't really represent the competition for the new RL. It appears that Acura wants to take on the BMW 5 series, not the 7 series. They want to tackle the Audi A6, not the A8. They are not competing against the LS430, but the GS330.

    So, I don't think that the RL is really going after the "top European cars". Acura is aiming for the rung just below the top.
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    With the new RL, Acura is trying to go back in time and perhaps improving upon it. The Acura Legend was a success, but never meant to compete with more powerful V8, and offered a sensible alternative with a balance between sport and luxury. The orientation got lost with the 1996-2004 RL. It leaned away from the balance into the world of isolation.

    But, the RL wasn’t the only car affected by poor decision-making in the mid-90s. Integra wasn’t redesigned, TL got softer and blander too (compared to the Vigor that it replaced), CL wasn’t along the lines that the CL-X concept indicated and SLX was a bad excuse for a luxury SUV (dressed up Isuzu Trooper).

    1999 TL attempted to revitalize the Acura lineup, and succeeded. MDX followed it up. These two ended up being the Civic and Accord of the Acura lineup in terms of carrying almost 70% of the sales volume. CL redesign looked promising outside of its mediocre (and largish) body style. That drive train deserved a Legend Coupe (or CL-X concept) like styling.

    And then, the TSX arrives to compete with the likes of Audi A4, BMW 325 and Lexus IS300 (a forgotten car in the Lexus lineup). It seems to replace the void left by Vigor/2.5TL and improving upon it.

    Presence of TSX allowed Acura to move the TL upscale into the mid-30s price range. Even with a 15% higher base price, the TL continues to match or outpace sales of the 1999-2003 TL. And that’s good news for Acura.

    Now, it is RL time. It should make it a trio of sedans with a good balance of sport and comfort packaged with niceties that people expect from luxury nameplate. What would it compete with though?

    IMO, lack of V8 engine option wouldn’t matter outside of automotive journalists babbling about it. And if that were the only excuse they can come up with against this car, it would be wonderful. As the market reveals, cars with V8 as an option don’t sell as well as it is made out to be. Just because RL happens to be Acura’s flagship, doesn’t mean it is competing with Audi A8, BMW 7-series, Jaguar XJR, Lexus LS430 and Mercedes S-Class.

    For starters, Acura has oriented this car to be a midsize luxury sedan, and it isn’t going to be priced at $60K or above with all the goodies. That is (at least) a 25% premium we’re talking about. In fact, many of its competing cars with six cylinder engines will go into mid-50s and unlikely to offer any more power. So, while there may be a few who would like to plunk down $55K for a badge, there should be enough buyers to help Acura meet or exceed its (rumored) first year sales target of about 15K units for the RL.

    IMO, the direct competition: Audi A6/3.2Q, BMW 525/530, Cadillac STS, Infiniti M35, Jaguar S-Type, Lexus GS330 and Mercedes E320 (E350?).
  • legendmanlegendman Posts: 362
    >I doubt the (RL) interior will be all that large, and while it will feature many of the latest gismos and gadgets it give up some comfort in order to appeal to the driving enthusiasts.<

    Two points I would like to add:

    Number One: If this car is uncomfortable, if the driver seat is heavily bolstered and tight as one finds on other "sporty" cars, Acura has lost me as a customer. Period. I simply will not buy a car that requires me to use a shoehorn to get in it.

    Mercedes made that mistake with its new E class. They changed the driver seat and made it tight and narrow, and according to the dealers I have spoken with, a lot of people walked away because of that.

    Number Two:

    I am not looking for a "sporty" car, I am looking for luxury or (Road Luxury = RL) if you will -- luxury & performance. I would be pleased if the car had guts (hp + torque), handles well and is generally a road loving, crisp, responsive car. I would be quite happy with that.

    My idea of a good mixture of performance and luxury is a BMW 740iL with the performance package. Extremely comfortable and roomy car, with lots of horsepower and above average handling characteristics.
  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    Well, the Legend was never a truly sporty car. That car offered respectable performance, but body roll and the lack of a V8 stopped it from being the real deal.

    The Legend did well in the market because it was a decent compromise between land yacht and cramped sports car; it was bargain-priced compared with the others; and it was well styled. If you were to rank the car on a scale of 1-10 with 1 being luxurious and 10 being sporty, the Legend was probably an even five.

    Lux 1...2...3...4...*5*...6...7...8...9...10 Sport

    The RL was none of those things. I think Robertsmx is right about it. It lost its mission trying to isolate the driver in a cocoon of luxury. The RL tried to be a 1 on that same scale... and failed.

    The new RL seems to be an attempt to get back onto the sporty side of the scale. But based on what I see, they seem to be aiming at a higher sport ranking than even the original RL. Maybe a 7 or 8 on that scale.


    And I suspect that some buyers, perhaps Legendman, may be disappointed. Fans of the original Legend may like it. But fans of the current RL may not.
  • >>Right now, he's debating between Lexus (ES330) and Acura (TL). I'm trying to convince him to wait an extra month or 2 to check out the RL.

    Tell him to wait for the RL. Even though I really like the styling of the RL, it doesn't turn my head like the TL does. However, the AWD of the RL totally beats the TL. And for me, with my 3' long legs, the auto tilt steering wheel feature of the RL is a must. As I get older, I simply can't crank my legs under the low-slung steering wheel of the TL. When I test drove the TL, that was the one feature that stood out for me.
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    I&#146;ve been contemplating replacing my 98 Accord with TSX but arrival of redesigned TL has made the choice a little more difficult. And even the RL is getting my attention too! TSX appeal (over TL) is largely due to its sub-30K price tag, and it would be easier on my wallet to go out an purchase one (instead of lease an RL). It is going to be a tough choice for me. Purchase TSX (or TL), or go out and lease the RL. And then, there are these other intriguing options on the horizon as well.
  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    Gimme one of each...
  • cericceric Posts: 1,092
    click on M-Concept
    click on the "Exclusive"
    type in "imagine" as passwd.
  • legendmanlegendman Posts: 362

    Thanks for the link! I did watch the videos and I must say, as far as the exterior is concerned, I like it a lot more than the new RL. Not in love with the front grill on the M, but so many cars these days have weird looking logo-esque grills one has to accept that at some point. The side and tail look great to me.

    So, who knows about the new M class Infiniti's?

    1. How much will the M45 cost?
    2. When will it hit the showrooms for sale?
    3. How's the horsepower and handling?
    4. How is Infiniti's reliability - lately?
    5. Resale value -- still less than Acura?
    6. Any chance that they will tone down the "Jetson's" style dashboard control panel?
    7. Is this a worthy "adversary" of the RL, handling and performance wise, or is this car a plush ride in a svelte suit?

    Thanks in advance for any info you guys can knowledgeably share.
  • adamar1adamar1 Posts: 14
    I just want to thank those who gave some excellent responses to my posting. You expressed many of my personal sentiments which I did not express in my posting as I wanted to get the opinions of others and see how they coincided with mine. I didn't really expect answers vastly dissimilar to what you expressed as I think that we Acura fans seem to have a similar genetic structure when it comes to cars! Now that you have responded you might be interested in where I stand on the RL and what my car history has been.

    I owed all GM cars until I leased a 1996 RL quite by accident! My last GM car was a classic looking (in my opinion) 1991 Buick Park Avenue which I loved. Then they redesigned the Park Avenue in 1993 into the most ugly oversized piece of tin that I have ever seen. I vowed to never buy another Buick!

    My daughter graduated from college in 1996 and we decided to consider economical cars to lease, with the Honda Accord in mind as a great starter car. Much to my surprise the Accord lease was expensive and therefore we decided to check out the Acura Integra which had a special edition (fully equipped with leather interior) at a much lower lease cost (notwithstanding that the sticker price was higher than the Accord). My daughter was thrilled with the car (now she drives a 2004 Honda Accord and loves it). After leasing the Integra for her, I decided to try the TL and RL. The TL was too sporty for me and I didn't feel comfortable in it.

    The moment I drove the 1996 RL I was in heaven--it was like sitting in my easy chair at home, it was the right size car, it was whisper quiet, it had an ultra smooth ride and the car practically drove itself. I also liked the conservative design. I was hooked and leased it! The car was a flawless machine in the 50k miles that I drove it. I then leased a 2002 RL which has some refinements. I also love this car, but think that the 1996 RL had a slightly quieter and smoother transmission (albeit slightly less horsepower). My present 39-month lease is up with less than 35,000 miles on the car. Again, it has been a flawless car that I never had to have the dealer make any adjustments to from the first day I drove it. I always had problems after I bought my American cars!

    I plan to extend my lease and take a look at the 2005 RL before deciding whether or not to buy my 2002 RL. If I buy it, I am sure it will give me many years of happy driving without having to worry about too many mechanical problems if I maintain the car well. I have a great Acura dealer with great service--that alone is enough to want to stay in the Acura family forever.

    I am not yet happy with the sportier look of the 2005 RL--I am not looking for a sports car look. However, I have an open mind about the looks. How the car drives and performs is what will probably win me over. I am very enthused about the all wheel drive (I would never consider a rear wheel drive car), the stepped up horsepower (as long as it doesn't drag down the MPG performance which is already lower than I would like) and other safety features. I am happy that the 2005 RL will not be a V-8 as I am very MPG conscious. The V-6 engine is smooth enough for me.

    I did test drive the 2004 RL recently which I think is a beautifully designed car with much more pep, but the ride is harder than the RL. Supposedly it isn't bigger than the RL, but I felt lost in the font seat which seems huge compared to the RL. Also, it needs an automatic telescoping steering wheel like the RL. I can't get the manually adjustable wheel close enough to me with the seat back (I have long legs) which bugs me.

    I have never driven any of the higher profile/performance rear wheel drive cars (MB, BMW, etc.) so I have no comparison. I have no interest in those European cars because I have heard the horror stories about their quality control and the high cost of maintenance. Moreover, I don't want or need a high performance car with a sports car feel. I am a conservative person who doesn't feel the need to outwardly impress anyone by the car I drive. I just want an upscale, comfortable, conservative and low maintenance car that I am happy with; so far the RL has fit that bill perfectly.

    So that is my happy Acura story thus far!
  • prophet2prophet2 Posts: 372
    You have expressed my sentiments exactly. I have had at least one Acura in my garage ever since the line debuted in 1986.

    I have been asked many times by well-meaning friends and clients as to when I'll be "moving up" to an Benz, BMW, Porsche, etc. My replies have always been:

    1) I had a Porsche and BMW during my 20s and 30s, THEN I GREW UP;

    2) When I show up with a Benz, my clients may well think, "Damned that Karl! He's driving OUR money!"

    OTOH, I have heard compliments on my choices of fiscally-prudent well-built cars that allegedly demonstrate my "common sense."

    When the Legend coupe first hit the scene, one of the car mags ran a comparison of it with BMW, Mercedes, and Cadillac. The Mercedes managed to tie the Legend only because the editors invented a new category, CACHET, for the article. I don't recall ever seeing this "quality" used again in their comparison tests.

    BTW, my BMW crashed and was in the body shop for 5-1/2 months - lack of parts (fender, grill, hood, bumper, etc.). My letters to the US distributor headquarters in NJ were unanswered and unacknowledged.
  • jeff88jeff88 Posts: 94
    "Well, the Legend was never a truly sporty car. That car offered respectable performance, but body roll and the lack of a V8 stopped it from being the real deal."

    Think maybe Varmint wrote that one. Have to disagree a bit with that. Thing is, at the time of the Legend, there were darned few v8's out there at all. Guess I don't think back then it was for a lack of a v8. The LS debuted at the end of the Legend's run an it along with the S-class and 7 were the only foreign v8's I can think of. There were a ton of cars with 6's, some 5's and even 4's in the swede's cars. Most US cars were 6's too. As for the Legend's handling, back in it's day, it was pretty darn taut. have to say though, in '89 I ended up getting down to 2 cars and picked the Maxima SE with 5sp over the Legend based on the price/performance metrics of the time. (there was about a $5k delta favoring the SE and in it's day, that original SE suspension was mighty fine. The engine was no slouch and having all that plus a Bose for about 16K was not at all a bad deal.) both the SE and legend beat out all comers from volvo, audi, bmw and saab that I compared them to.

    Octane for the RL: kind of late to be chiming in on this one but my old '96 rl ran better in all respects with 93 over 87 including acceleration and mileage. (Never did try '89.) Also noticed was the smoothness of the shifting. Someone mentioned about the retardation of the spark plug when using lower octane. Agreed. Further, it's actually the retardation of the plug that allows for smother shifts between gears and if one messes with the timing of the retardation, it may have an affect on the shifter smoothness. That is what I noticed and surmised with my rl.

    My 2 cents for why we buy: Simply put, would say the rl buyer is probably a better listener than talker; less concerned with perception and more concerned with distinction; reflective rather than reflexive; and sits in the back of the room to observe rather than the front to be seen.
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    "The LS debuted at the end of the Legend's run"

    Actually, LS debuted sometime in the late 80s (1989?), and Q45 too. Legend continued thru 1995 before handing over the baton to 3.5RL.
  • See my comments over on the Audi TH 2005, bla bla bla. Still waiting for the Acura to make a subjective comparo.

    And, for those who have been, with good reason, dissing the Audi due to its reliability ratings, check out the latest stuff pertaining to Audi.

    Its all good.
  • legendmanlegendman Posts: 362
    >for those who have been, with good reason, dissing the Audi due to its reliability ratings, check out the latest stuff pertaining to Audi<

    Check it out where Mark? Did you (or others) post on this here on the RL board or the Audi board? Is there a web URL or a post number that you can share?

    Thanks in advance.

    Also: What can you tell us about the seat in the Audi? Is it tightly bolstered or can a 200 lb. man fit with reasonable comfort in it?
  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    Hi Jeff,

    Yep, that was me earlier. It's probably true that the V8s were a bit less common than they are now, but that's because there were fewer luxury cars at the time. Cadillac had a 4.5 and a 5.0. MB had a 4.2, a 5.0, and a 5.6 on the market. Lincoln fitted a 5.0 V8 into half their cars. BMW was pretty skimpy on the big engines. Most were fitted with a V6, but they did offer a V12 around 1990.

    Anyway, I don't think that the V6 in the Legend, while competent, was enough to lay claim to being sporty.

    As for handling, the Legend held it's own. It was undoubtedly better than the current RL. But I've read several reviews of early models, which remark on problems with body roll. I was too young to have first-hand experience with the early Legends, but my readings lead me to believe that the car looked sporty (especially the coupe), but did not stand out for its performance.
  • Sorry -- here are the quotes (I am not expecting anyone's mind to be changed by these, but as an "Audi Fan," myself, I found this, encouraging at least.) Also, this in no way dampens my enthusiasm to look at the new Acura RL:

    AUBURN HILLS &#150; In the latest J.D. Power and Associates 2004 Customer Service Index (CSI) StudySM, Audi ranked as the leading German luxury car manufacturer.

    Audi was tied for the largest index score improvement and was recognized for improved ratings for both maintenance and repair customers, particularly in the consideration of a customer&#146;s time, the amount of time waiting to speak to a service advisor and the time it took to get the vehicle after service.

    The study measures customer satisfaction among new-vehicle owners with the dealer service department during the first three years of vehicle ownership. This typically represents the majority of the vehicle warranty period. Overall satisfaction is based on six service categories: initiating service, service advisor, in-dealership experience, service delivery, service quality, and user-friendly service.

    The 2004 CSI Study is based on responses from more than 97,000 new-vehicle owners and lessees.

    AUBURN HILLS &#150; In its fourth annual ranking of the 100 most valuable global brands, Business Week and Interbrand named Audi to its prestigious list. This is Audi&#146;s first appearance on the list.

    "Clear and consistent branding have moved Audi to become a leading luxury auto brand, also in the increasingly important Chinese market. This completes their global footprint," commented Jan Lindemann, Global Managing Director of Brand Valuation for Interbrand.

    A dollar value is calculated for each brand using a mix of publicly available data, projected profits, and variables like market leadership. The article along with the Global Brand Scorecard appears in the August 2 issue of Business Week.
  • jrock65jrock65 Posts: 1,371
    1. How much will the M45 cost?

    No one knows for sure, but I expect a similarly equipped M35 AWD to MSRP for about the same as the RL. The M45 will probably be about $2000 more expensive, similarly equipped (without AWD).

    2. When will it hit the showrooms for sale?

    Expected March 2005.

    3. How's the horsepower and handling?

    340hp for the M45, 280+ for the M35 (probably more). Not many pre-production tests, but one review said that that the M is a much more solid handling car than the G35, and the G is no slouch.

    4. How is Infiniti's reliability - lately?

    Second only to Lexus, according to surveys.

    5. Resale value -- still less than Acura?

    The G and the FX have one of the best resale values in their class.

    6. Any chance that they will tone down the "Jetson's" style dashboard control panel?

    IMO, no.

    7. Is this a worthy "adversary" of the RL, handling and performance wise, or is this car a plush ride in a svelte suit?

    Remains to be seen, but IMO, it will give the RL a run for its money, especially if equipped with the active rear suspension (Sport models.)
  • legendmanlegendman Posts: 362
    Just spend a good half hour looking at the new Infiniti M35 (V6 AWD). Wow! The styling, the colors, the interior -- all are superlative. Ventilated seats - yay! The leather and the wood trim are elegant indeed.

    I have to say that I love the looks, I love the features, and can't wait to test drive it. Assuming it has seats in the non-sport version that a big guy can sit in, this could be goodbye to Acura and hello to Infiniti!
  • oman9oman9 Posts: 97
    Wow, coming from someone named Legendman that's big news! Glad to hear the new M car strikes you this positively. Looking forward to hearing your review once you've test driven the vehicle.

    I've had Infiniti/Nissan cars since '88 and have always enjoyed great reliability. I have a 98 I30t with 120K miles and it's been flawless...still drives/looks new so I'm not in the immediate market for a new car. I'm looking forward to stepping up the "fun" factor some while keeping the same high level of reliability and have my eyes on the new M car as well as the new RL from Acura.

    I have to say with all the years of great service from my Nissan cars I do slant towards staying with that family...funny how that happens and that's what the companies count on. The RL does appeal as do Lexus products. Guess I'm a fan of Japanese vs. German/Euro as reliability is more important to me than fun but seems like the fun is getting more and more into the Japanese cars....

    Will look for your road test review, thanks!
  • legendmanlegendman Posts: 362
    Oman (and others):

    What has been your experience as regards negotiating your actual purchase price with Infiniti cars? Did you find the dealer willing (or eager) to give discounts and if so, how much?

    Any sense of what we might expect to see (discount wise) in March 2005 when the new M hits the showroom, and, a bit later in April or May 2005?
  • oman9oman9 Posts: 97
    I can tell you about my one Infiniti purchase back when I purchased my 1998. I had no trade in, was coming in with cash. I got my black on black which was in inventory (I wasn't as picky with this purchase in terms of equipment as I will be with the next...besides I don't think there was a whole lot to choose from once I decided I wanted a touring model and they added the CD changer in the trunk and chrome wheel plating which they did after I made the purchase, some process that has held up well).

    Basically I stopped in one late afternoon and after a few minutes of the salesman trying to be a salesman (nice guy, just trying to do his job I guess) I asked for the sales manager. I walked into his office (this sales manager still works here as the manager 7 years later although the dealership is under new ownership) and within 3 minutes we agreed upon $800 over invoice since I was getting an appealing black on black combo.

    I was pleased with the speed and forthrightness of this manager. I talk to him every so often when I'm getting my car serviced.

    This dealership has undergone several changes including the ownership change and the G35. The G35 changed the dynamics of the dealership because their customer base doubled overnite and service slipped along with not being as customer friendly as the original ownership team.

    Long reply to a question you may not have been asking re: my experience...but I think your answer comes down to 1) How popular the M car will be and 2) How friendly/straight shooting the individuals you will find at your local Infiniti dealers. Also I would hope that if I went to my guy, same sales manager I used in '97, I have a relationship with him I could leverage.

    How much would I save over the guy coming in off the street? Probably in the hundreds, not too much but I guess it all counts. My guy knows I've taken my car to his dealership for every single maintenance, very regular schedules...don't miss a maintenance. This translates into good business for them over the long haul.

    If this M car is anything like some of the reports I've read here that it handles better than the G and looks as good as you say it does Legendman, then I expect dealing might be tough initially.

    Last point re: negotiating. See, for me I set a number based on dealer invoice. I understand they also make money on the reserve and can make more depending on volume #s per month etc. So they are actually making 2 to 3 points more than just the amount over their invoice. Once I know my number there won't be any dealing from my end, that's why my Infiniti purchase took about 3 minutes. I wasn't going to play games with the salesman. The manager knew I was about to leave unless he showed up, knew I was there to buy a car and not "just looking", knew I was fair, I knew he was fair and we figured it out quickly.
  • lsim88lsim88 Posts: 1
    In addition the steering tilt toggle not working, the steering wheel does not go to the memory position like it used to when I turned on the ignition. It now only stays at the "original" position when the iginition is off.

    Does that mean more than a tilt toggle problem?
  • l943973l943973 Posts: 197
    << How much will the M45 cost? >>

    If you dig deep enough on the Infiniti site, you'll see that a comparably equipped M45

    Base V6 AWD = $45,400.
    Journey Package = $2750
    Tech Package (requires Journey Pkg) = $4000

    (The M45 includes climate control front seats, Intelligent Cruise Control, Lane Departure Warning that the RL probably won't have).

    Total M45 price: $52,150
  • jrock65jrock65 Posts: 1,371
    That is the M35 AWD.

    Also, those prices are just "feelers" to gauge public reaction.

    Won't the RL have Intellicruise and Climate seats as well?
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    Not sure about Climate Control seats, but Intelligent Cruise control was part of the concept. Acura could offer more than they showcased in the production RL. I'm hoping for CMS/e-Pretensioner system, if not LKAS (Honda's version of Lane Keep Assist offered in Japanese Accord and Inspire).
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    I just read that all '05 MB S-Class models will come standard with 4-MATIC (AWD).

  • ksomanksoman Posts: 593
    Back at the NY Auto show, I actually liked the M far better in real life compared to the RL, looks to looks comparo... but in the video it looks kinda stupid to me. That video really turned me off completely on the M.... ugh. I hate myself now. I'm a bad nut...

  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,042
    We've got an M35/M45 discussion, so let's keep the conversation about that vehicle in the appropriate topic. Thanks!


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  • gold233790gold233790 Posts: 181
    Didn't see it here (granted, didn't read through 96 pages!), but is the new RL scheduled to have bluetooth capability?
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