• Mar 18, 2008
Though auto pundits and car enthusiasts alike have been calling on Acura to drop its ban on rear-wheel-drive and V8 engines, no one ever really expects the automaker to go through with it. It's the brand's identity, its thing, its shtick. Though an Acura may be down on torque and driven by the wrong set of wheels compared to its German competition, most buyers at least marvel at how much the engineers have done in terms of performance and handling when saddled with a V6 and front-wheel-drive or part-time all-wheel-drive.
We're hearing more rumors that Acura's long holdout may be coming to an end. In addition to the last report from Best Car, now Inside Line is also claiming that the next Acura RL flagship model will be powered by a V8 and be rear-wheel-drive, or at least have a revised SH-AWD system that engages the front wheels when the rears are slipping. IL's source claims that a 4.8L V8 producing 420 horsepower is being developed and will feature cylinder deactivation technology to keep fuel economy up.

Acura showed us its Advanced Sedan Concept at the 2007 LA Auto Show, which some thought foreshadowed the next-gen RL. Inside Line claims that after the concept's lukewarm reception, Acura stylists went back to the drawing board for a new design. Whether or not the new sheetmetal will be accompanied by a big break in tradition for Acura remains to be seen. We're still a bit skeptical, but anything's possible in this competitive climate.

[Source: Inside Line]


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  • 26 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      I don't understand the big hoo-haa about rear wheel drive for luxury cars. Most of the buyers of these cars don't know rear wheel drive from front wheel drive without someone explaining it to them. Cruising down the highway with a cell phone firmly clasped to their business ear does not leave much time to contemplate which end of the car is providing forward motion. It seems like a much over-rated marketing ploy over substance.
        • 6 Years Ago
        John, you are spoiling my fun. I am trying to be obnoxious and slightly insulting, and you come back with a response based upon logic and research. What is the fun of that?
        • 6 Years Ago
        I don't know who you mean by "most of the buyers of these cars". If you are talking about BMW buyers, I think most of them know which end of the car is driven.

        I don't have the numbers in front of me, but my recollection is that this car basically stinks in the market place. For whatever reason, buyers in this segment don't think it has the goods. I think V8 and RWD are a start, but I also think they are late to the party. It looks a bit silly when Lexus is sticking hybrid drives into everything (no matter that the mileage is scarcely better).

        The question is why would you think of starting a "luxury" brand in the first place without having this in the top car? "Honda doesn't do this". Well, Acura was supposedly supposed to be something _beyond_ Honda. The Acura brand just never got completely off the ground. The service experience is not special either. There are a couple nice cars, but the brand is struggling.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Being that Peter Lyons of Edmunds is also a contributer to BestCar magazine its not surprising that this rumor has crossed the pacific.
      • 6 Years Ago
      The first RL remains the best looking.

        • 6 Years Ago
        No, the first _Legend_ remains the best-looking.

        The RL has always been a disappointment.
      • 6 Years Ago
      That's more like it!! Just one more thing, please upgrade the interior design as well.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I will not get my hopes up with respect to Honda. Afterall, this is the company that, despite Gordon Murray's preference and incessant begging, refused to produce the engine for McLaren F1.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I'll probably regret my next word... but has to be said.

      NASCAR.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Honda, do it... do it all night long! And while you're at it. Take that V8 and pump it up and make another mid engined sports car.

      And also, make the next TSX AWD and give it a V6 please with at least 300 hp.
        • 6 Years Ago
        The next TSX will not get AWD. There's no way. It's an Accord... and there's no AWD Accord. That whole platform wasn't engineered with AWD in mind, and they're definitely not going to re-design it just for us because we want AWD when it's sold in markets all around the world who buy more of them than the US does.

        That being said, I'm a 2007 6MT TSX owner, and I'd like to see an AWD K23 turbo TSX... I might trade up for one if there were one. Sad fact is, it's not going to happen.
      • 6 Years Ago
      With all their participation in motorsports (the only manufacturer to do both LeMans Prototypes and F1 currently) among others they need something worthy of that sporting image. How about a sports car?
      • 6 Years Ago
      Same comments every time there's a post about an Acura product... FWD bad, needs a bigger engine, needs to move upscale. I understand the thinking from an enthusiast standpoint, but do any of these really make sense from a business standpoint. Right now Acura competes mainly with Saab and Volvo - based on market share I believe (sorry - not looking up the numbers) they are a leader in this class (value luxury?). If they were to take most of the suggestions coming from the comments they would compete with MB, BMW, Caddy, Audi, Lexus, and Infiniti (this last one might be the value wildcard here). Taking the competition into account, I imagine it'd be more difficult to do business at that level. Just another way to look at it.

      That said, I'd like to see them take a differentiating approach and bring out option combinations that others don't offer. A TSX with a diesel engine and AWD would be interesting... solves the torque problem, improves mpg, and useful for winter driving.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Well, AWD option is beginning to be the new black for entry luxury cars. With the exception of MB (I might be wrong here) the rest of those companies offer an AWD version of at least one of their sedans.

        The diesel approach is a good idea though - and since Honda has such a good AWD system I don't see why they can't offer it at least as an option across the entire Acura lineup.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Hyundai embarrassed them into doing it.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Perhaps the V8 is becoming a status symbol as gas prices continue to climb! Honda/Acura buyers have traditionally been intelligent enough to know that the number of cylinders is irrelevant- all that matters is what happens when you put your right foot down.

      I recently bought a CPO 2006 Infiniti M35. I also test drove a 2006 M45 priced at $5500 more than my M35. So, I saved the $5500, get 2-3mpg better fuel economy, and have about 150 pounds less weight over the front wheels....I have to fight the tempation to smirk when I see an M45 on the road now.

      Perhaps the issue with the Acura RL isn't the lack of a V8. Maybe it's the fact that for $15k less, the TL sitting next to it is almost as good in virtually every way.
      • 6 Years Ago
      A Honda V8... ridiculous.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Why do you say that? Honda makes V8s for IRL all day long. Their F1 and LMP2 cars also use V8s.
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