Acura shows off 2008 lineup with Super Handling-AWD

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After revamping its crossover lineup for the 2007 model year, Acura will have a very incremental 2008 model year. There are no new or redesigned models, but more equipment is being added across its entire lineup. The main emphasis this year is what the automaker calls its Super Handling-All Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) system. The all-wheel-drive system is available on the RDX, MDX and RL this year, and will be added to other models in the coming years including Acura's upcoming "exotic" car, a.k.a. the NSX replacement.

The key feature of SH-AWD is its integration with the stability control inertial and driver input sensors. Most stability control systems rely on modulating the engine torque and selectively applying and releasing the individual wheel brakes to apply forces to the car and try and force it to follow the drivers intent. SH-AWD instead uses the clutch packs on either side of the rear differential to transfer drive torque to the appropriate wheel to stabilize the vehicle with much less brake intervention.

Continue reading after the jump and check out a video of some track laps in the RL.

The video meant to be presented here is no longer available. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Lapping Waterford Hills in the RL with Scott Burgess of the Detroit News

When the vehicle understeers, the SH-AWD system transfers extra drive torque to the outside rear wheel to help the car turn-in. The SH-AWD system is aided by the stability control (VSA in Acura parlance), which can apply some brake force as needed. Combining the systems means that the brakes don't get overworked as much in hard driving. Going forward, more future Acura models will inherit updated versions of the SH-AWD system. In particular, the new Acura exotic sports car will be so equipped with a future version of this sytem. Check out the track driving reports to find out just how well the system works. The press release below outlines the other changes for the new model year.


2008 Acura Model Year Highlights

The 2008 Acura lineup of luxury sedans and SUV's continues to build on 21 years of the Acura brand as validated by wonderful customer satisfaction and strong sales. Acura is one of the most innovative nameplates in the industry, capturing luxury consumers who are looking for the latest technologies to enhance the driving experience and their life. Key technologies such as HandsFreeLink® Bluetooth connectivity, Super Handling All-Wheel Drive™ and AcuraLink™ with real-time traffic make Acura a leader in putting useful technologies into the hands of customers. For 2008, Acura continues this technology leadership by putting an even finer point on its already sharp RL, TL, TSX performance luxury sedans along with its MDX and RDX luxury SUVs.

For 2008, all Acura models equipped with navigation are upgraded to include service in Hawaii. Additionally, AcuraLink™ with real-time traffic expands to include 76 metropolitan markets-an increase of 32 markets.

The RDX, with Acura's first-ever turbocharged engine, improves its market position with further expanded technology. For 2008, all RDX trim levels are now equipped with standard Bluetooth® HandsFreeLink® wireless telephone interface with steering wheel mounted controls, an 8-inch Multi –Information Display, an automatic dimming rear view mirror, and a dual-position memory for driver's seat and mirrors.

The MDX retains its Nürburgring-tuned sport suspension, Super Handling All-Wheel Drive™ and a powerful 3.7-liter VTEC® V-6 that delivers a stout 300 horsepower thus making it the most powerful naturally-aspirated 6-cylinder SUV available in America. For 2008, the MDX receives a new automatic function Day/Night rear view mirror. Externally, the MDX is available with a new body color (Sterling Gray Metallic) while inside the MDX receives special Taupe colored interior trim when ordered with Aspen White Pearl paint.

The popular TL performance luxury sedan is available for the 2008 model year with two new exterior colors-Polished Metal Metallic and Bold Beige Metallic. Additionally, the TL's security system is upgraded with a new immobilizer system.

The 2008 Acura RL continues to be one of the most technologically advanced vehicles on the road, garnering accolades from top media outlets. For 2008 the RL's three trim packages remain available:

RL: Luxury performance sedan with 290-hp 3.5-liter VTEC® V-6 engine, 5-speed automatic transmission with Sequential SportShift, Super Handling All-Wheel Drive™ (SH-AWD™), fully independent suspension, 17-inch aluminum wheels and a luxurious leather-trimmed interior.

RL with Technology Package: in addition to the standard features, the package adds Acura's satellite navigation system, AcuraLink™ with real-time traffic, rearview camera, Active Front Lighting, solar-sensing automatic climate control system and upgraded wood interior trim.

RL with Technology Package plus CMBS/PAX®: package adds the Collision Mitigation Braking System™ (CMBS™), Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) and PAX® run-flat tires fit to special 18x8-inch aluminum alloy wheels.

New technology for the 2008 RL is:

AcuraLink™ real-time traffic expands to 76 metropolitan areas – an increase of 32 markets

The 2008 Acura TL remains strong within the midsized luxury market with its 2007-revised exterior and interior styling, an improved navigation system with AcuraLink™ satellite communication system with real-time traffic and the optional Type-S performance model. Featuring 286 horsepower from a special 3.5-liter V-6 engine, the TL Type-S is a complete performance package that includes a track-tuned suspension along with unique exterior styling and interior trim that delivers the emotional thrill of a high performance luxury sedan without sacrificing comfort and convenience.

The TL receives the following changes for 2008:

Two new exterior colors: Polished Metal Metallic paint and Bold Beige Metallic
Parchment added to all TL interior trim of when paired with exterior color of White Diamond Pearl or Carbon Bronze Pearl
Acura Navigation System with Voice Recognition™ now available in Hawaii
AcuraLink™ real-time traffic expands to 76 metropolitan areas – an increase of 32 markets
Updated vehicle security immobilizer system

The TSX continues to be a hot seller for Acura, winning over customers who are looking for sporty performance, a stylish exterior and the latest in technology. The TSX has been named to Car & Driver's 10Best list on multiple occasions and it continues to score well in magazine comparison tests.

For 2008 the TSX receives the following technology upgrades:

Acura Navigation System with Voice Recognition™ now available in Hawaii

In its first year of production, Acura's RDX 5-passenger Entry Premium SUV generated excellent reviews and strong sales. Not only does the RDX combine the immediate response of Acura's first-ever turbocharged engine and the agile control of Super Handling All-Wheel Drive™ (SH-AWD™), but the RDX also puts state-of-the-art communications, navigation and audio entertainment at the driver's fingertips. Moreover, the RDX delivers its performance minded attributes all while keeping with Acura's long-established tradition of respect for crisp, contemporary styling and simple, intuitive operation that adds to the driving experience.

The RDX receives the following upgrades for 2008:

Bluetooth® HandsFreeLink® wireless telephone interface with steering wheel mounted controls (formerly only available with Tech Package) < this comment should stay
Personalized settings via 8-inch Multi –Information Display (MID)
Dual-position memory for driver's seat and mirrors
Automatic dimming rear view mirror
AcuraLink™ real-time traffic expands to 76 metropolitan areas – an increase of 32 markets
Acura Navigation System with Voice Recognition™ now works in Hawaii
New exterior color: Polished Metal Metallic

Benchmarked against some of the best performance SUVs in the world and tuned on the world famous Nürburgring racetrack in Germany, the MDX pushes to new heights performance and sophistication in the luxury SUV segment. The MDX is fit with the largest and most powerful V-6 engine in Acura history thus giving it class-leading power and excellent fuel economy while Super Handling All-Wheel Drive™ (SH-AWD™) ensures all-weather traction coupled with exceptional steering response and cornering prowess. An Active Damper System included in the available Sport Package helps give the MDX tight chassis control in performance driving while simultaneously retaining the comfortable, quiet ride that drivers of luxury vehicles demand. And, in traditional Acura fashion, the 7-passenger MDX has industry-leading standard and available electronics that make the luxurious driver-oriented interior a comfortably connected place to reside.

MDX includes the following new features for 2008:

Automatic dimming rear view mirror
Acura Navigation System with Voice Recognition™ now available in Hawaii
AcuraLink™ real-time traffic expands to 76 metropolitan areas – an increase of 32 markets
New exterior paint color: Sterling Gray Metallic
Taupe added to all MDX interior trim of when paired with exterior color of Aspen White Pearl

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