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Acura's RL has never fared well in a marketplace rife with V8s and rear-wheel-drive, but according to dealers, the next iteration of the brand's flagship sedan might finally bring it up to the level of its competitors. However, a story in Automotive News doesn't shed much light on what's in store.

Dealers believe that a major makeover is coming, but when AN talked to Dan Bonawitz, the veep of corporate planning and logistics over at Honda, he said the that RL was due for a mid-term change, which would imply that it might simply benefit from some new sheetmetal. An Acura dealer in Pittsburgh confirmed as much, saying that the new model will get a redesigned body, but little else was divulged.

In order for Acura to compete with the Bimmers and Benzs of the world, they'll have to ditch the AWD and V6, and instead equip the new model with V8 power being sent to the rear wheels. When that will come and whether Acura will develop an all new platform remains to be seen.

[Source: Automotive News – Sub. Req.]


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  • 28 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago
      It's no bigger than the TL on the inside, either. Between that and the styling, it's got bigger problems than just the drivetrain.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Acura's afraid of losing to those cars so they'll just play in the Minor League.
      • 7 Years Ago
      The biggest problem this car has is the TL. That car basically offers everything this car does, sans AWD, for a lot less.

      Also, the interior is way too Accord-like. Acura is the last of the upscale Japanese makes who can't figure out how to make an interior completely distinct from their "lesser" brand. The build quality is there, just not the design.
      • 7 Years Ago
      How about adding variable valve timing to this V6 (and all of honda's V6s, come on-the new Aveo has variable intake & exhaust valve timing)

      6 speed automatic too
      • 7 Years Ago
      I have only seen ONE RL on the road.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Might wanna try leaving your parents' basement every now and again.
      • 7 Years Ago
      The reason this car fails is simple IMO: design. It looks like it belongs in the $30k segment, like a glorified Accord. Nobody would want to drop premium dollars on this thing. Sure SH-AWD is awesome, but with premium cars, prestige is important.

      My dad was thinking of getting one because he loved the handling, but decided not to because of its blandness. Needs a serious makeover, plus a longer wheelbase. It's a dud as it is now, however mechanically great it is.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Imagine if Acura were to do a proper flagship again?

      Who can ever forget how amazing the Acura Legend was when it first came out? If Honda actually comes out with a V8 and RWD, I think it would be amazing. Plus, they need to get the styling right, and that has been a real problem for them, too.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Remember that, when the Legend came out, cars were much smaller. If you see a BMW 5-Series from the same era, you'll understand.

        I like the current RL, but it's not a standout car in any way. Personally, that's why I like it, but it does need a halo version in order to attract customers (hybrid? turbo? both?), even if, in a pure cost:benefit sense, it's a better buy than a BMW 528i.

        That being said, the biggest favour Acura could do for the RL would be to shrink the TL.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I make fun of my RL owning brother daily. "They Still make those?" "People bought those?" "Nice G6"
      • 7 Years Ago
      Acura has carved out a niche in the upper market as offering more "value" per car than its, admittedly, more "lux" competitors ala Lexus. And, while not having the greatest image for luxury and performance ala BMW and Mercedes, it's reputation for quality and longevity are superior befitting a product from Honda.

      Adding a RWD V-8 sedan at the top end would, undoubtedly, make Acura more directly competitive with their aforementioned competitors but at what cost? Would the incremental sales gains outweigh the cost of engineering and building a separate RWD architecture and would they, automatically, sell more units more profitably? And, in the age of $4 to $5 a gallon gasoline might not some savvy upper income customers desire a V-6 with superior MPG to accompany the luxury they seek?

      Finally, Honda has always been a bit of a contrarian company, introducing models (e.g. the Element) which seem, at first, to be odd ducks, but which stand the test of time and stand apart from competition. An AWD V-6 luxury sedan puts them in the sweet spot of "affordable" luxury while every other brand is attempting to create and price product for hedge fund managers.

      If I were in Honda's shoes I would concentrate my efforts at the performance market by building a knock out super car, like the NSX, and pricing it in the range of $75K.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I just rememberd something. Why hasnt it dawned on Acura to release this with 330hp or more. The RL A-Spec wasnt as bad looking. This might help sales.

      http://www.conceptcarz.com/view/photo/70214,8640,0,0/photo.aspx
      http://www.conceptcarz.com/view/photo/70217,8640,0,0/photo.aspx
      • 7 Years Ago
      ..
      the RL seems like a good car, but it's hugely overpriced
      ...
        • 7 Years Ago
        you must live in Mongolia then, or you can't tell your RL from your TL....RL is rare, but not that rare.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Totally agree with you. For that price, I would get a BMW.
        • 7 Years Ago
        I think it's funny when people say "I would rather get a BMW, Lexus, Audi, Mercedes" when it's apparent they've never tried shopping in this segment. Most comparably equipped cars are over $5k more expensive.

        Some people say it's too close to the TL, and in terms of size, it is very true, but the leather is MUCH higher quality and it contains many features (the biggest one being SH-AWD) that the TL does not have.

        I think that other factors contribute more largely to this car's failure but I also think that it was done to help transition it to a more luxurious level. They need to do it soon because as soon as the new TL comes out, this relatively small gap will close almost immediately.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Ditch the AWD? Their killer AWD system? That's one of the things which makes the RL interesting and not a copycat. Also, the V6 isn't a bad motor, simply offering a V8 to people who want that would be a fine move. I really like the current RL and the only addition which I would be after is a manual six.
        • 7 Years Ago
        I damn agree....no one could touch acura super handling all weel drive.
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