• Oct 20th 2008 at 2:40PM
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While other manufacturers, notably Ford and General Motors, have been canceling programs to develop new V8 engines, Honda may be yet again be hearing the beat of a different drummer. Automotive News is reporting that Honda's Takeo Fukui has confirmed that the next-generation Acura RL will be powered by the company's first production V8 engine. Even in with high fuel prices, Acura and its dealers apparently feel that that a V8 is necessary to compete with other German and Japanese luxury brands. Acura sales are down over 15 percent in 2008 and the current RL with a 3.7L V6 has never been a strong seller despite having competitive performance. It is believed that the image a V8 projects is necessary to compete in this segment. In all likelihood, if Honda has produce a V8, they will do something different with it that will set it apart and provide better fuel efficiency. Perhaps Honda will do a small displacement V8 (3.0-3.5L) with its IMA hybrid system.
Nonetheless, General Motors canceled plans earlier this year to produce a new Ultra V8 for Cadillac to replace the current aging NorthStar. Cadillac general manager Jim Taylor explained the reason as falling demand for V8s with increased sales of six cylinder engines. It will be interesting to see if Honda has made a mistake here.

[Source: Automotive News - Sub. req'd]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 8 Months Ago
      Thing is that the key is a "right-sized" engine. I don't know if you've done your homework, but the current, over-burdened, over-tuned V6 in the RL gets the same gas mileage as the V8 in the Lexus LS460 with better, smoother power. Also, at least based on my unscientific comparison of a 4 vs. 6 cylinder engine in real-world driving (i.e. burdened by lots of stuff like electronics and AC), the V8 is likely to get better real-world mileage due to its ability to absorb this extra load without adversely affecting overall performance. This, by the way, is based on the comparison of my driving in my old Audi A3 vs. my new (well used--same model year) Lexus GS300. I get BETTER mileage now in the Lexus in city driving and equivalent mileage on the highway. I also EXCEED EPA by a good bit as opposed to coming in little bit below. Counterintuitive, but 100% true (and believe me I didn't expect this nor change my driving habits to achieve it).

      Certainly Acura might be better served by de-tuning the V6 it has (coupled with some weight savings) and trying not to equal the performance of a V8 with fewer cylinders, but engine SIZE alone is NOT going to make a real difference.

      I will also speak from experience that the V6 in the Acura IS in fact causing luxury buyers to jump to Lexus. I know at least two Lexus drives who decided that the Lexus was a far better car because of the bigger engine. My dad for one moved from an RL to an LS six years ago and hasn't ever regretted the decision. And I have to agree. Same (better real-world?) gas mileage + better, more effortless performance = winner. Now the RL is cheaper by a good bit (largely due to demand), but for most drivers they see it as a competitor to the Lexus GS, not the LS which is what Acura is aiming for. And even the GS has a V8 option.

      I'm not condoning the action since I'd much prefer all manufacturers focus on bettering mileage, but I certainly understand it.
      • 8 Months Ago
      I hope they use the V-8 from the IndyCars... :)
      • 8 Months Ago
      If you have having a problem saving for retirement, one of your problems might be that you care too much about what your car looks like and how fast it can accelerate.
      • 8 Months Ago
      Hard to believe with the price of gas, and the ever approaching day of doom, when the Methane Bomb goes off, anyone would be CRAZY enough to buy a V8.

      • 8 Months Ago
      And in other news, Honda has announced a new rear wheel drive body on frame platform, code named "Leopard". Honda hopes to capture the taxi cab and highway patrol fleet markets with new car.
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