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Acura NSX Concept

Fast forward seven years. Acura invited a select group of journalists out to its dealer meeting in Las Vegas for a taste of things to come. Along with the new ILX sedan and RDX crossover, we laid eyes on the shapely NSX concept shown here -- and, better yet, received word that it previews an actual production car.
What A Long, Strange Trip It's Been
That immense lull between NSX models wasn't exactly intentional. Honda had been working on crafting a flagship sports car for quite a while, but what once seemed like a clear-cut plan quickly became tumultuous.
Let's recap: although the first-generation NSX ceased to be in 2005, Honda first started hinting at a successor back in 2003, when it began showing the HSC on the global auto show circuit. Two years later, while confirming demise of the original car, the company announced efforts to develop a successor "had intensified."
True to its word, a concept foreshadowing such a vehicle emerged in early 2007. The Advanced Sports Car Concept, which debuted at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, was said to hint at a new premium sports car, but many enthusiasts had trouble calling it the NSX. The reluctance was understandable, as the formula Honda was pursuing was a far cry from what we'd seen before. The ASCC eschewed a V-6 for a ten-cylinder engine, and also adopted a front engine layout and an all-wheel-drive system.
Spy photographers subsequently caught prototypes testing on public roads, but the project wouldn't last for long. In 2008, an unstable automotive market and questionable global economic stability led Honda to reconsider its priorities - not surprisingly, an expensive top-tier sports car wasn't exactly one of them. Although the development of a road car was canceled, the front-engine NSX project served as the basis of Honda's HSV-010 GT race car for the Japanese Super GT project.
Hope blossomed once again in early 2011, when Takanobu Ito, CEO of the Honda Motor Company and a former engineer on the original NSX project, confirmed his company was once again working on a new NSX.
Clean Slate
This latest approach shares virtually nothing with the company's last stab at an NSX successor. Previous ideas, notably those that called for a ten-cylinder engine to be placed ahead of the passenger compartment, have been discarded in favor of an approach officials believe is much more in line with Acura's brand identity.
As was the case with the original, the new NSX places its engine smack in the middle of its chassis. That engine will likely be a V-6, but that's where the similarities with the original car end. As was the case nearly two decades ago, Honda engineers view the car as a halo vehicle, one ideal for showcasing its engineering prowess and its latest and greatest technologies.
Subsequently, the NSX will utilize a form of the new hybrid Super Handling-AWD (SH-AWD) system. The V-6, likely a 3.5- or 3.7-liter, will drive the rear wheels by means of a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox. Unlike the current SH-AWD system, which would send power to the front wheels by way of a driveshaft and a mechanical differential, the NSX's front wheels will instead be powered by a pair of electric motors. As each motor is assigned to a wheel, the system has the ability to accelerate the outer wheel in a corner, creating a yaw moment that improves the car's ability to turn in and rotate. All told, the system could produce a net punch of about 400 hp.
Swoopy Styling
Of course, packaging that sort of technology in a plain wrapper wouldn't suffice for a halo car. Love it or hate it, the new NSX's sheetmetal will certainly turn heads. Despite borrowing the Audi R8's general proportions and stance -- i.e. wide track, cabin pushed close to the front axle, etc. -- the car has a visual identity all its own.
Acura's edgy design language takes center stage, but the beleaguered "beak" grille -- long a complaint of previous Acura designs -- is thankfully nowhere to be found. Thin LED headlamps give way to a panel that dominates the upper half of the grille. The car's side panels are relatively clean and unspoiled, interrupted only by a rather dramatic light kicker above the rocker panels and a character line that neatly folds into a pair of buttresses that wisp away from the roofline itself. A thin line of LEDs wraps itself into the rear fenders, runs the entire width of the rear fascia, and effectively serves as both brake lights and a center-mounted stop lamp. The display model we were shown lacked a full interior, but appeared to boast a waterfall instrument panel that evolved the twin cockpit theme used in the original NSX.
Although Acura's only showing the car in coupe form at this point, there are rumblings of a convertible variant, fueled in part by the appearance of a similar-looking roadster on the set of the forthcoming Avengers super hero movie. If approved for production, expect that car to differ only in terms of its decklid, rear fenders, and side character line.
Production Priorities
It's still unclear if the NSX will utilize its own architecture, or perhaps share its platform with another vehicle. It is, however, fairly certain to enter production. Officials tell us the development program is still in its infancy, but the car could enter series production as early as 2015.
Will a hybrid sports car scare off some purists? Perhaps. But it doesn't necessarily equate to a vehicle that's not enjoyable to drive. As was the case with the first NSX, engineers are striving for a balance between driving nirvana and daily tractability -- albeit this time with an ecological conscience thrown in for good measure.
"The NSX will make the driver one with the car to enhance dynamic driving abilities without getting in the way," says Honda CEO Ito. "Like the first NSX, we will again express high performance through engineering efficiency - but even as we focus on the fun to drive spirit of the NSX, I think a supercar must respond positively to environmental responsibilities."

2013 Acura ILX Concept

The Civic's New Clothes
As we've previously reported, the ILX shares its foundation with Honda's latest compact offering, the 2012 Civic. But, unlike the Canadian-market CSX, this is a bit more sophisticated than a Civic with an Acura grille insert and emblems.
As can be seen, the ILX shares no exterior sheetmetal with its Civic sibling. Instead, it blends a TSX-like nose with a taut body that's both chiseled yet smoothed at the same time. Character lines on the front door panels give way to a ZDX-like kink in the rear fenders. That kink, in combination with a sharp upward bend in the daylight opening, lends the car a bit of a coupe-like look. The combination appears a bit ungainly in photography, but looks surprisingly good when viewed in person.
The interior follows Acura convention not only in terms of look, but available technology. ILX models will be available with keyless entry and ignition, Pandora internet radio connectivity, and a SMS text message interface. We're told a Technology Package - which typically bundles navigation with an upgraded audio system and a few other goodies - is also in the cards, but officials have yet to precisely describe content levels. Three Forms
We do know Acura plans on offering the ILX in one body style, but in three different flavors. The "base" car will utilize a 2.0-liter I-4, which is mated to a five-speed automatic transmission. Want a sportier feel? The ILX can also be ordered with the 2.4-liter DOHC I-4 used in the Honda Civic Si family, which is only available with a six-speed manual transmission. Exact specifications have yet to be released, but expect an ILX so equipped to pack about 201 hp and 170 lb-ft of torque.
The ILX's third variant is a first for the Acura brand: a hybrid. The ILX Hybrid will crib the gas-electric driveline from its Civic sibling, meaning it will utilize a 1.5-liter I-4 paired with Honda's Integrated Motor Assist system. The Civic Hybrid earns a 44-mpg city/highway rating from the EPA, but Acura hints the ILX's driveline may be tuned to deliver a bit more performance instead of identical fuel economy figures. Something's Got To Give
The ILX is an attractive package, and the idea behind it - a car whose design is driven and controlled by the North American market it's being sold in - isn't a bad one. Nor is the idea of offering a premium small car under $30,000, considering Acura's current entry-level offering, the TSX, is priced from $31,000, just out of reach of the millennial generation Acura longs to attract.
But something - perhaps elsewhere in Acura's lineup - has to give. The ILX effectively undercuts the TSX, and officials concede it may eat into the TSX's volumes. Meanwhile, after a growth spurt designed to appease the European market, the second-generation TSX is large enough to begin encroaching upon the TL. We wouldn't be surprised if either one of those nameplates is revised or eliminated in the next several years, but Acura reps aren't disclosing future plans for either at this point in time.
Expect more information on the production-ready 2013 ILX to emerge soon - perhaps even the 2012 Chicago Auto Show in February - seeing as production will begin this spring at Honda's plant in Greensburg, Indiana.

Acura Future Product Plans

Las Vegas, Nevada – Security has traditionally been tight in Vegas casinos, but not this tight. We’re among a small group of journalists allowed past burly bodyguards into a conference room in the lower level of the Aria Resort’s conference center. This isn’t an attempt to reenact a scene from Ocean’s Eleven – instead, we’re here to see four new Acura products hours after they were secretly shown to North American dealers.
Because most of Acura’s recent launches have involved only mild updates, the promise of four new product introductions is somewhat unusual. It’s no secret that the momentum exhibited in Acura’s early days seemed to fall by the wayside in later years, a downfall many within Honda’s premium division attribute to chasing market trends rather than nurturing a full-fledged, well-balanced vehicle portfolio. These new introductions, which range from an affordable compact sedan to a hybrid all-wheel-drive sports car, promise to restore such balance and bring greater variety to Acura’s lineup.
It's also unusual to see these cars so far ahead of schedule. Honda -- and by extension, Acura -- doesn’t usually show vehicles this far in advance of an official debut. The opportunity to peek behind the scenes was granted under a double-secret probation of sorts: we can share the following information, but we have no official photography or renderings to publish -- only our artist's impression of the sports car we saw that day.
2013 ILX
What Is It? A small, Civic-based sedan. What it isn’t, however, is a badge-engineered clone of the Civic like the Canadian-market CSX. The new ILX shares only its mechanical underpinnings with its Honda sibling – a change, American Honda executive vice president John Mendel notes, from previous Acura small-car programs. Case in point? The TSX was essentially a European-market Accord, albeit with new badging and content packages adjusted for North American buyers.
The ILX shares not a single piece of sheetmetal with the Civic; instead, it blends a TSX-like nose with a taut, angular body. A ZDX-like kink in the rear fenders appears ungainly in photos but looks surprisingly good when viewed in person.
The ILX will be offered with three different powertrain options. Most cars will likely be built with the Civic’s 2.0-liter I-4, which is mated to a five-speed automatic transmission. Those seeking something sporty can order an ILX with a rev-happy 2.4-liter I-4 bolted to a close-ratio six-speed manual. Although that sounds like the driveline used in the Civic Si, officials wouldn't disclose if output for the ILX-spec engine will trump the 201 hp figure offered in the Civic. The ILX Hybrid incorporates the Civic Hybrid’s 1.5-liter I-4 and Honda’s Integrated Motor Assist system and gains the honor of being Acura’s first production hybrid-electric sedan.
Why Launch It? Pricing, more than anything. Acura cut its teeth with cars like the Integra – affable, affordable vehicles that provided a stepping-stone into the luxury brand. The idea still holds water today – especially as premium small cars continue to gain traction in North America – but Acura doesn’t exactly have a car that fills that void. The small TSX may, to a point, serve that role, but its starting price of just over $31,000 places it out of the reach of the value-obsessed “millennials” – a consumer demographic Michael Accavitti, American Honda’s vice president of marketing, insists is the future wave of luxury buyers. These buyers are extremely value conscious; as such, ILX pricing will start “well under $30,000” and incorporate features like Bluetooth connectivity, Pandora internet radio, and so on.
When Will We See It? In typical Honda fashion, a “concept” – or, in reality, a thinly disguised version of the production vehicle – will appear at the 2012 Detroit auto show in January. Honda’s factory in Greensburg, Indiana, will begin producing cars in the spring of 2012.
2013 RDX
What Is It? The second generation of Acura’s small crossover, but you wouldn’t necessarily surmise that by glancing at it. Apart from a more conservative grille opening and a little more rounded nose, the RDX looks like a slightly smaller version of Acura’s successful MDX midsize crossover.
That new styling is part of a push to make the RDX look and feel more mature. Vicki Poponi, Honda’s assistant vice president in charge of product planning, says customers were asking for a small premium crossover that was more sophisticated than the current RDX, which exhibits a bit of a “boy racer” feel.
Subsequently, the mechanical bits that set today’s RDX apart from the crowd of luxury CUVs on the market aren't part of the new model. The wild, turbocharged 2.3-liter I-4 will be replaced by a V-6, likely the 3.5-liter unit offered in the TSX. If so, expect this engine to provide about 40 more horsepower (280 hp) and, perhaps, be a little less fuel-thirsty.
Likewise, the SH-AWD system, which was capable of shifting torque between the rear wheels to improve cornering, will not be returning to the RDX line. Instead, the model will make do with a conventional all-wheel-drive system that’s allegedly lighter and more fuel-efficient than its predecessor. It’s likely that this driveline is identical to the one offered in the new 2012 Honda CR-V, which employs a new electronically controlled clutch pack to send power to the rear wheels.
When Will We See It? Like the ILX, the new RDX will be shown at the 2012 Detroit show and will enter production shortly afterward. Assembly will likely still occur at Honda’s factory in East Liberty, Ohio.
2013 Flagship (RL replacement)
What Is It? A successor to the RL, and it’s coming not a moment too soon. Although the current iteration of the RL debuted in 2009 and was updated last year, the majority of the car’s architecture dates back to 2005.
Age is only one part of the problem: as Acura’s midrange TL has grown larger and more sophisticated over the years, it has eliminated most – if not all – the edge that the supposedly premium RL once had. The TL and the RL use the same engine and SH-AWD driveline, and dimensionally they are within inches of one another.
That may finally be rectified with the new car, which has no official name at this point. The new flagship may not be much bigger than the RL in terms of footprint, but Poponi promises an expansive interior, with rear-seat passenger volume on par with that in a BMW 7-series.
Although rear-wheel drive and a V-8 option were once being considered for Acura’s top-of-the-line sedan, that’s no longer the case. The new car will, however, be the first to use Honda’s new hybrid SH-AWD system. A six-cylinder engine, coupled with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, is tasked with powering the front wheels; an electric motor integrated into the gearbox provides extra boost during hard acceleration. Two additional electric motors – one for each of the rear wheels – effectively render the car an all-wheel-drive vehicle. The system can provide more power to the outside wheel in a corner, producing the rotation-inducing yaw moment that previously required the use of a mechanical differential.
When Will We See It? Assuming it has a name by then, the car should appear at the 2012 New York auto show in April. Production should begin by the close of 2012.
2015 NSX
What Is It? The long-awaited successor to the fabled NSX is once again under development. While Honda’s last stab at a new supercar called for a front-engine, V-10-powered design, this new car reverts to a mid-engine configuration.
The new NSX may be sold around the globe, but it seems as if its development is being orchestrated with Acura in mind. Although Mendel wouldn’t reveal whether the NSX would be a means of introducing the Acura brand in other countries, he did say that the car, its styling, and its technologies are being developed for the Acura brand. Sure enough, the NSX incorporates a number of design cues found across the Acura portfolio.
Like the previous NSX, the new car will be a means for Honda to showcase its engineering prowess – in this case, the new hybrid SH-AWD system. In this application, the gasoline engine will drive the rear axle, while a pair of electric motors will propel the front wheels.
Why a Hybrid? Although we know plenty of purists who bemoan the idea of a hybrid sports car, the NSX nameplate has always been a showcase of Honda’s engineering prowess, and the hybrid SH-AWD system is the company’s latest and greatest driveline development. Although we recently drove an Accord fitted with an early prototype of the system, we’re told not to use it to judge the NSX’s performance. Honda says the system is scalable and could incorporate larger, more powerful motors (and perhaps a hotter engine) to increase the net output.
When Will We See It? If you’ve seen photos of the one-off prop car crafted for the forthcoming superhero film The Avengers, you already have a good idea of what the NSX will look like. The un-official rendering above gives some hints at what the NSX concept -- which will be a coupe, not a roadster -- will look like upon its official debut at the Detroit show in January.
Will it reach production? At this point, the project is a go. You’ll see the “concept” name applied to the car in Detroit, but this isn’t a designer's fantasy: there is a program alive and well to develop this car for production. If all goes according to schedule, the new NSX should be ready to enter series production in three years – roughly a decade after the original was discontinued.

2013 Acura RDX

Bye-Bye, Boy Racer
The original RDX faced few competitors when it first launched in 2006, but as the segment continued to grow and expand over the years, Acura's stab at a CUV stood out from the pack. While other luxury brands were packing stuffing six-cylinder engines into their small SUV offerings, Acura instead plopped a hairy 240-horsepower, turbocharged 2.3-liter I-4 underhood. Better yet, buyers could also opt for the brand's signature SH-AWD system, which used a mechanical differential to shift power between the rear wheels to aid cornering.
The result - a small luxury crossover with the attitude of a hot hatch - was perhaps endearing to enthusiasts, but a bit of an oddity in the market that's driven on refinement; on comfort; on sophistication. That's no longer the case. Though RDX's primary customers - both young, affluent professionals and older empty nesters - appreciated the power and comfort packed into the RDX's footprint, Vicki Poponi, Acura's assistant vice president of product planning, says they came back asking for something a bit more refined and a little less thirsty at the pump. Softer, Friendlier Exterior
From a styling standpoint, the new 2013 RDX seems to fit that requirement. Gone are the knife-sharp edges that dominated the exterior of the first-generation model. The new model still sports a pointed nose and headlamps inspired by the ZDX and MDX crossovers, but many surfaces are softer and far less cluttered than before - something aided in part by removing the lower cladding that marred the last model.
The sharp-edged, dark interiors of before are also eschewed in favor for a softer look. The cabin is dominated by softer, more curvaceous shapes, and accented with matte trim and premium leather in an attempt to move upscale. Engineers increased the amount of sound deadening used, while simultaneously employing an active noise cancellation to help insulate the cabin.
Although the MDX-esque styling makes the new RDX seem larger than before, its footprint hasn't grown all that much. At 183.5 inches long, the new RDX has grown only about an inch, although its wheelbase - which comes in at 112.8 inches - is about an inch-and-a-half greater than before. That said, the RDX is about five inches longer than the 2012 Honda CR-V, which shares the same platform. From Four To Six
Despite sharing roots with Honda's latest small SUV, the RDX again boasts a driveline of its own. For 2013, the turbocharged I-4 is no more, but the RDX isn't adopting the CR-V's 2.4-liter I-4. Instead, the 2013 RDX gains the 3.5-liter V-6 used in the TSX V-6 and base TL models. Acura says this engine cranks out 273 hp, about 33 more than the old turbo-four. A six-speed automatic is the only transmission offered, and a key part in improving fuel economy. Figures for the 2013 RDX are still being finalized, but front-wheel-drive models are expected to return 20 mpg in the city, and 28 in the highway - a mild improvement compared to the 19/24 mpg (city/highway) rating earned by its predecessor.
Another big change lies with the optional all-wheel-drive system. The SH-AWD driveline is no more; instead, it's replaced with a conventional all-wheel-drive driveline that's both lighter and less expensive than the SH-AWD system. We wouldn't be surprised if the drivetrain is similar - if not identical - to that on the CR-V, which uses a new electronically-controlled clutch pack to send power to the rear wheels. Focus On The Customer
Will enthusiasts and lead-foot journalists miss SH-AWD? Perhaps, especially when diving into corners like there's no tomorrow - but there's a good chance many RDX shoppers won't. Poponi says this is the perfect illustration of Acura's "smart luxury" mantra. "We need to understand what customers' needs are so we can deliver the right product with the right technologies at the right price point. We don't need to simply take an engineering feature and put it on everything we build."
Is the 2013 RDX still a CUV that thinks it's a hot hatch? No. Will it light enthusiasts' hearts on fire? Perhaps not. But it is clearly a much more sophisticated product born from mature decision making - and that may pay dividends in an increasingly mature market segment. Seeing as production begins in East Liberty, Ohio, this spring, we'll find out soon enough.
2013 Acura RDX
On Sale:
Late 2012
Engine: 3.5-liter DOHC V-6
Power: 273 hp
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
Drive: front-wheel; all-wheel
Length: 183.7 in
Wheelbase: 105.7 in
Width: 73.8 in
Height: 64.2 in

Mercedes Benz E350 - 2010

Size: 3.5-liter 24-valve aluminum V-6
Horsepower: 268 hp @ 6000 rpm
Torque: 258 lb-ft @ 2400-5000 rpm
7-speed driver adaptive automatic transmission
Leather Upholstery
Power tilt/sliding panorama sunroof with one touch open/close
COMAND system featuring 8-speaker sound system. In dash 6-disk CD player, in-dash memory card slot, auxiliary input jack and Bluetooth Interface
Central controller w/ 7" high-mounted display
Multifunction 3-spoke leather steering wheel & shift knob
4.5" instrument cluster display
14-way power adjustable front seats
Tilt/telescoping steering column & exterior mirrors
Dual-zone automatic climate control
Electronic cruise control
Remote central locking with smartkey
Power windows with express up and down
Auto-dimming driver and rearview mirror
Integrated garage door opener
Intermittent wipers with rain sensor
Hand polished burl walnut wood trim
Integrated NECK-PRO active front head restraints
Dual stage front airbags
Window curtain airbags
Front side airbags
Driver and front passenger pelvic airbags
Driver knee airbag
Adaptive 4-wheel disc brakes w/ antilock
Electronic stability control
PRE-SAFE system
Roll-over sensor
Anti-theft alarm with engine immobilizer

Nissan Quest SL 2011

 Size: 3.5L DOHC 24-valve V-6
Horsepower: 260 hp @ 6000 rpm
Torque: 240 lb-ft @ 4400 rpm
Drive: Front-wheel
Transmission: CVT

3.5-liter DOHC 24-valve V-6 engine
CVT transmission
18-inch alloy wheels
4-wheel disc brakes with ABS
Vehicle dynamic control
Traction control system
Tire pressure monitoring system
Second row sliding/reclining captains chairs
60/40 split fold-flat third row
Leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob
Tilt/telescoping steering column
6-speaker audio system with 4.3-inch color display
AM/FM/CD radio
USB/auxiliary audio input
Bluetooth connectivity
Rearview monitor
Tri-zone automatic climate control
Nissan intelligent key with push-button start
Auto-dimming rearview mirror
Fog lights
Heated outside mirrors
Power liftgateand one-touch sliding doors

2011 Hyundai Elantra



The current Elantra and Elantra Touring are decent-looking, no-frills vehicles. Things get a lot more interesting in early 2011, when swoopy lines and Sonata styling take over. But will there be a new Touring model?


The Elantra and Elantra Touring are uncomplicated, value-minded cars with easy-to-use cabins to match. Leather seats are now available on the Elantra Touring SE. Cruise control and a cooled glove box are options.

Performance & Handling

The current-generation Elantra sedan's 136-horsepower four will get the car to 60 mph in 10.2 seconds and its stops from 60 mph in 118 feet. Get the Elantra or the Elantra Touring with the five-speed manual, and you can have a bit of fun, but we'd advise waiting for the new Elantra's powertrain options, which are expected to be both more powerful and fuel efficient. We also expect a hybrid option at some point for the Elantra.


Elantra and Elantra Touring come with six standard airbags (dual front, front side, and side curtain), four-wheel disc brakes with ABS and electronic brake-force distribution, and tire-pressure monitoring. Traction control and stability control are optional.

EPA Fuel Economy

GLS Touring, SE Touring: 23 mpg city/30-31 mpg highway

2012 BMW 5-Series

Drive: Rear-wheel, 4-wheel
Trim levels: 528i, 535i, 535i Gran Turismo, 550i, 550i Gran Turismo
Body styles: Sedan, hatchback, 4- or 5-passenger
Engines: 2.0L turbo I-4, 240 hp, 258 lb-ft
3.0L turbo I-6, 300 hp, 300 lb-ft
4.4L twin-turbo V-8, 400 hp, 450 lb-ft
Transmissions: 6-speed manual, 8-speed automatic
Passenger volume: N/A
Cargo space: (sedan) 14.0 cu ft; (GT, rear seats up/down) 10.0-15.0/63.0 cu ft


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