Last post on Nov 05, 2013 at 12:08 PM
You are in the Acura RL
What is this discussion about?
Acura RL, Sedan
Apr 03, 2004 (8:21 am)
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.
Apr 03, 2004 (9:50 am)
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.
#1773 of 7386 lexusguy
Apr 03, 2004 (10:30 am)
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.
#1774 of 7386 Cornering prowess
Apr 03, 2004 (7:07 pm)
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.
#1775 of 7386 Great points, sphinx99
Apr 03, 2004 (9:46 pm)
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.
Apr 04, 2004 (8:20 am)
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.
#1777 of 7386 ceric, sphinx99
Apr 04, 2004 (4:46 pm)
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.
#1778 of 7386 and I hope
Apr 04, 2004 (5:38 pm)
the RL sells well, as it sounds like a great car.
Apr 04, 2004 (5:51 pm)
"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.
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.