Acura is calling what you see here a "prototype," but that's only technically speaking. It is, in fact, the production 2013 RDX crossover, and it's just debuted at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show. This is a full redesign of Acura's plucky, performance-minded crossover, making it the vehicle's second generation model.

With a generational switch comes big changes, and the biggest for the new RDX is Acura's decision to buck the industry trend and drop its turbocharged four-cylinder engine in favor of Honda's venerable 3.5-liter V6. Horsepower will jump from 240 to 273, and despite the addition of two more cylinders to feed, fuel economy will also increase significantly. The best the current RDX can muster is an EPA-rated 19 miles per gallon in the city and 24 highway, while the V6-powered 2013 model is projected to achieve 20 city and 28 highway. Aiding that new-found efficiency is a six-speed automatic transmission (one more gear than before) with a lock-up torque converter.

The design of the RDX has also matured, and now appears more in line with the rest of the Acura lineup, particularly its big brother, the MDX. Its wheelbase is longer and track wider, which suggests a more relaxed, luxurious ride, and Acura will fit the new RDX with what it calls Amplitude Reactive Dampers to keep the handling appropriately tuned to its level of hustle at any given time.

Larger, more powerful and offering increased efficiency, the 2013 Acura RDX is clearly transitioning from a quirky high-performance compact crossover to a more mainstream product with enough luxury and technology to compete for more sales in the crowded entry-level luxury crossover market. It's likely that sales will increase with this strategy, but will it be at the competition's expense or that of Acura's other crossovers, the MDX and ZDX?
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Acura Debuts Three New Vehicles at the 2012 North American International Auto Show

- New ILX compact sports sedan to feature Acura's first hybrid powertrain;
- All-new RDX sport utility vehicle features new engine and all-wheel-drive system;
- NSX Concept to be developed and built in America with new performance hybrid system

DETROIT, Mich., Jan. 9, 2012 – Representing the leading edge of a wave of new products and technologies, Acura today unveiled three new vehicles at the North American International Auto Show, including a concept version of the all-new gateway to the Acura brand, the ILX luxury compact sedan; a prototype of the 2013 RDX crossover sport utility vehicle; and the NSX Concept, which presages the direction for Acura's next-generation supercar.

Acura also announced that the next-generation NSX will feature Acura's innovative new Sport Hybrid SH-AWD® technology and that the vehicle will be developed by Honda R&D Americas and manufactured in Ohio.

"Over the next 24 months the Acura brand will unleash a series of new models that will remake our product lineup and shake up the luxury market," said Jeff Conrad, vice president and general manager of Acura. "Acura will once again defy conventional wisdom to become one of the top luxury brands by creating luxury vehicles based on our own unique values."

Debuting three new models in Detroit heralds the beginning of Acura's second 25 years as a premium luxury-performance automobile brand.

Acura ILX Concept
The Acura ILX Concept is the precursor to an all-new Acura luxury compact sedan scheduled for launch in Spring 2012. To be positioned as the gateway to the Acura brand, the ILX will feature three different powertrains, including Acura's first-ever gas-electric hybrid.

"First time luxury buyers place the highest value on exterior styling, affordability and environmental issues and that's a virtual definition of what we have created with the new Acura ILX," said Jon Ikeda, head of the Acura Design Studio. "The strategy behind this new model is to position ILX as the first opportunity for many young buyers to enter the luxury market."

Sleek, sporty and aerodynamically efficient, the exterior of the all-new Acura ILX combines luxury, performance and efficiency. A beautifully styled luxury sedan, the ILX Concept has a compact, yet formal proportion, targeting a very professional image. The Acura ILX delivers both, with a low and wide stance and a long nose and a short tail that are aerodynamically efficient, the ILX is immediately recognizable as an Acura.

The lineup of ILX models will include an entry-level model powered by a 2.0-liter inline 4-cylinder engine; a high-performance model with a 2.4-liter inline 4-cylinder engine paired with a six-speed manual transmission; and a 1.5-liter gasoline-electric hybrid powertrain, Acura's first-ever hybrid offering.

The ILX will feature a high–quality, well-appointed interior that is smart, spacious and sporty. It will offer a number of new, high-value features, including a smart entry keyless access system and pushbutton start, along with Pandora internet radio interface and SMS text message function for smart connectivity with the world.

As with all Acura models, the ILX will have a longlist of standard features, different trim levels (that will include a Technology Package), multiple transmission choices, and excellent standard safety features- including Acura's acclaimed Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ body structure, front, side and side-curtain airbags, 4-channel anti-lock brakes and Vehicle Stability Assist™ (VSA™). Acura anticipates that the ILX will achieve top ratings in both NHTSA and IIHS crash safety testing.

The new ILX will be manufactured exclusively by Honda Manufacturing of Indiana, LLC, in its Greensburg, Ind. plant- one of only three plants in the world to receive J.D. Power and Associates' 2011 Platinum Award for outstanding quality.

Acura RDX
Shown as a prototype version of the 2013 RDX, the second generation of Acura's five-passenger crossover SUV will up the ante with a new approach to achieving both advanced performance and fuel efficiency via a new engine, transmission and all-wheel drive system.

The 2013 RDX, scheduled to launch in Spring 2012, will have as standard equipment a 3.5-liter V-6 engine that produces 273 horsepower- 33 more than the outgoing model. For even higher performance and improved fuel economy, the RDX makes use of a 6-speed automatic transmission with a new lock-up torque converter. The RDX also gets a new, lighter all-wheel-drive system that provides the required performance and safety with increased efficiency.

With anticipated EPA fuel economy ratings of 20 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway, front-wheel-drive models of the 2013 RDX are expected to offer the best fuel economy of any gasoline-powered luxury SUV in its class.

The RDX exterior incorporates a sleek, more aerodynamically efficient body, evolving RDX from a sporty, compact SUV to a more formal look with a longer, sculpted hood and styling that is more elegant and sophisticated to match the Acura philosophy of timeless, beautiful design. Chassis updates include a longer wheelbase and wider track, all-new Amplitude Reactive Dampers, and a new motion adaptive electronic power steering system.

Inside the 2013 RDX, new sweeping shapes, matte surface trim, and generous use of leather combine to give the RDX interior an upscale look and luxury feel that Acura customers have come to expect. Abundant use of sound deadening materials and Active Sound Control team to provide an exceptionally quiet cabin. Additional interior features, such as larger door openings, more passenger room, increased cargo volume and a power rear tailgate make the RDX interior even more accommodating and flexible.

As with the ILX, the 2013 RDX will receive a host of new technologies including Pandora internet radio interface, SMS text message feature, a smart entry keyless access system, pushbutton start, and a three view rear camera. An available Technology Package will provide a full complement of relevant technologies, including AcuraLink® Satellite Communication System, Acura Navigation System with Voice Recognition™, AcuraLink Real-Time Traffic with Traffic Rerouting™, and AcuraLink Real-Time Weather™ with radar image maps. New for 2013, the even more advanced navigation system utilizes a hard disk drive (HDD) with 60 gigabytes of storage capacity – including 15 gigabytes that can be allocated for music storage.

Acura anticipates that the RDX will achieve top ratings in both NHTSA and IIHS crash safety testing.

Production of the new RDX will move to the East Liberty, Ohio plant of Honda of America Mfg., Inc.- home to one of the four top assembly lines in North America in the J.D. Power and Associates' 2011 Initial Quality Study (IQS). The first generation RDX has been built at the Marysville, Ohio auto plant, an IQS award winner for both of its assembly lines.

Acura NSX Concept
The dynamically-styled NSX Concept gives an indication of the next great performance vehicle from the Acura brand. Making use of lightweight materials and a mid-mounted V-6 engine, the NSX Concept employs several new technologies for Acura, including application of Acura's innovative new Sport Hybrid SH-AWD® (Super Handling All Wheel Drive™) hybrid system.

Utilizing a unique 2 Electric Motor Drive Unit with a Bilateral Torque Adjustable Control System, the all-new hybrid all-wheel-drive system can instantly generate negative or positive torque to the front wheels during cornering. Acura anticipates the new Sport Hybrid SH-AWD® will deliver handling performance unmatched by previous AWD systems. In addition to the handling benefits of the Sport Hybrid SH-AWD® system, a powerful next-generation VTEC® V-6 engine with direct-injection works in concert with a dual clutch transmission with built-in electric motor to create supercar acceleration while offering outstanding efficiency.

"This Sport Hybrid SH-AWD system will make NSX the ultimate expression of Acura's idea to create synergy between man and machine," said Takanobu Ito, president and CEO of Honda Motor Co., Ltd. "The NSX will make the driver one with the car to enhance dynamic driving abilities without getting in the way."

While most supercars opt for brute force delivered from a large engine, the NSX Concept champions the true racing philosophy of an extremely favorable power-to-weight ratio.
"Like the first NSX, we will again express high performance through engineering efficiency," added Ito, who led the development of Acura's first NSX supercar. "In this new era, even as we focus on the fun to drive spirit of the NSX, I think a supercar must respond positively to environmental responsibilities."

The new Acura supercar, expected to debut in the next three years, will be developed by an engineering team led by Honda R&D Americas, Inc., and manufactured in Ohio, at a yet to be named facility.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 3 Years Ago
      Much better than the old model.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Autoblog needs a better photographer...sorry, but these shots are terrible.
      • 3 Years Ago
      • 3 Years Ago
      Me likey. It looks tons better than the current RDX and performs better too. It's actually has a nice overall shape and great looking interior. As for the beak, you've got to accept that Acura isn't going to kill off the corporate nose design overnight. It is what, it is: an Acura. At least it's no longer downright ugly.
      Guy Inkägnētō
      • 3 Years Ago
      The exterior is much improved over the current version, which looks like something from Star Trek (I say that with negative connotations). However, I don't like the fact that they are dropping SH-AWD for this model in favor of Honda's reactive VTM-4 system. I'm also not liking the sight of all that silver plastic in the interior (I wish Acura would go back to using real aluminum like in the last TL, or real wood like in the pre-facelift RL).
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Guy Inkägnētō
      • 3 Years Ago
      this is prob a good move, the RDX is known to be a very thirsty turbo 4.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Why such sleepy and ugly design from Japan? How long will Honda/Acura continue to allow ULTRAMAN to design their grilles? I'm buying the Ford Fusion in 2013, because these narcolepsy inducing J-cars are loosing their edge.
        • 3 Years Ago
        • 3 Years Ago
      • 3 Years Ago
      Acura is such an also-ran with their Zzzzzz-based styling. That silver blade/beak/shnoz on the front has got to go!
      • 3 Years Ago
      So its a mini-MDX. The styling isn't groundbreaking but it is handsome. The J35 is a proven engine, and it is one of the smoothest V6s I've ever encountered so that isn't a bad thing. Let's hope that they kept the weight down, because if they did this thing will be a rocket. The 240HP RDX ran 0-60 in the very low 6's.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Everyone else is moving to smaller/fewer cylinders & forced induction. It's as if Honda was two years behind. Why not rework the turbo 4 to be more efficient?
        • 3 Years Ago
        the RDX has not gotten very good mileage, the turbo was more of a hook to get you in the door. EPA numbers for turbo 4s might be great, but the reality is a turbo engine is typically less efficient during non-boost times, and under boost is less fuel efficient due to many factors, including enrichening the fuel air mix to as low as 10:1 or more. a higher compression, smaller disploacement v6 with a nice long stroke would do the job just fine. Lets not forget honda has also done a lot of work on cylinder deactivation (Odyssey)
          • 3 Years Ago
          If turbo engines are so inefficient, then why as an industry, are there more turbo 4's than ever before?
      • 3 Years Ago
      Well, at least Lincoln recognizes the need for redesigns and upgrades. Acura hasn't figured that out yet, by the look of things
      • 3 Years Ago
      sigh.. i give up on honda. their redesigns are just the worst (well tied w/ M-B for the worst). i'm more excited about the dodge dart than any upcoming honda...
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