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Discussion Starter #1


This was originally going to be a piece in which I congratulated Acura for inventing a 2006 Lexus IS350 with their grille on it, a vehicle they refer to as the TLX Concept. But I won't do that. There's no point in poking fun of Acura anymore.

'm tired of being critical of Acura. Now, as we go into 2014, I am more convinced than ever that doing so is a meaningless exercise. I have never seen any company, automotive or otherwise, more committed to doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Acura is slowly committing suicide, and the cause of death will be lack of innovation.
Let's first talk about the point of auto shows like the one in Detroit. Though they are increasingly becoming irrelevant in the digital age, auto shows exist to both preview feasible future products and to display new ideas. It's where automakers can show off new design languages, new technologies, new market segments they'd like to explore, and generally get people excited enough to care about their brand.



When was the last time you saw an Acura concept that wasn't a direct preview of one of their upcoming sedans or SUVs, and was instead something new, something invigorating, something that got people talking about the good things going on there?

It's literally been years since Acura has turned out anything even close to that. By my count, their last really interesting "out there" concept was the Advanced Sports Car Concept of 2007. That was seven years ago. Seven years. The last couple of years, it's mostly just been "prototypes" of the new MDX, RDX and now the TLX.

Meanwhile, the brands Acura thinks it competes with are, across the board, innovating and trying new and different things. The resurgent Cadillac dropped an attractive ATS Coupe, and a V version of that is surely in the pipeline.

Infiniti, that other often-beleaguered Japanese brand, is exploring new territory with the Q30 small crossover/hatch and may be cooking up a legit M fighter in the Q50 Eau Rouge, a car CEO Johan De Nysschen has ordered into production. You have to give Infiniti credit for being ambitious.

Volvo, after years of being in an apparent coma, is tapping their strengths by bringing back wagons like the V60, playing to their shooting brake heritage and displaying a sexy new design language. Lexus, historically the most staid of luxury brands, is getting a little "out there" with wild-looking cars like the RC-F coupe.

And yes, while we often criticize BMW for their oddball 5-Series GTs and 4-Series Gran Turismos, at least they aren't sitting still and are exploring niches to fill. There's also their i brand, which has produced two remarkably different and forward-thinking cars so far.

Even parent company Honda had some interesting cars on display at Detroit like the FCEV Concept that first showed up in Los Angeles last year. We all know hydrogen is probably bullshit, but good on Honda for producing such an interesting-looking concept.

What did we get from Acura this year? Another sedan. Just another sedan, probably based on some sort of Accord platform, with a V6 engine. Great job on your sedan, guys! I never would have expected this from you.

Keep in mind that the most not-boring car in their lineup the last few years has been the ZDX crossover, and they killed that off because no one bought it.

These days, innovation at Acura seems to be limited to adding an "X" to the names of existing cars and throwing on as many headlights as possible.

There's nothing that thrills and intrigues at Acura anymore. I'm convinced the only consumers buying them are the hardcore Honda and Acura loyalists or people so terrified by the thought of a car that might be "unreliable" that they're too scared to buy anything but these glorified Accords.

But as much as enthusiasts like you and me would like to see more fun cars, the problem goes deeper than that. Something Automotive News' Mark Rechtin wrote about the TLX really caught my eye:
The TL was once Acura's top-selling model. But as consumer tastes have shifted toward crossovers, the TL has fallen to a distant third, behind the MDX and RDX crossovers. Acura's front-wheel-drive sedans have also struggled to compete against rear-drive cars from Lexus, BMW and Mercedes-Benz.
Emphasis mine. Come on, how long have we been hearing this criticism now? Since the early 1990s, at least. That's 20 years now, people. At this point Acura's stubborn refusal to do anything different from what they've always done is getting pretty hard to understand.
The TLX doesn't sound like a bad car, it just sounds like a song we've heard over and over and over again, a song we're getting pretty sick of. It has a 2.4-liter four, probably the one derived from the once-great Civic Si, or that ubiquitous 3.5-liter V6. Neither engine is terribly impressive in terms of power. It's front-wheel drive with available all-wheel drive. The only thing it really has going for it is its dual-clutch transmissions, which will probably be excellent because they're from Honda.

But these recipes just aren't enough anymore. They haven't been enough for years. Don't believe me? Look at their sales figures, which consistently lag hard behind Lexus, BMW, and Mercedes. They do a little better than Audi, I'll give them that, but at least Audi has a vastly more interesting and diverse lineup of cars. I don't see a whole lot in the TLX that I can't get for at least $10,000 cheaper (more than that, probably) in the 2015 Chrysler 20. 12
True, Acura has seen a lot of sales growth recently, and they had their best SUV sales year ever in 2013. But I don't see anything coming from this company that shows it aims to be the best luxury brand out there; Acura don't seem to want to grow that much or try new things. And if you don't grow, you don't evolve, you die, right?





This is a brand that desperately needs something to create some buzz and shake up the status quo. Sure, there's the new NSX supposedly headed our way soon. You know, they one they've been teasing us with since 2011. By the time that gets out, it won't matter anymore because the year will be 2065 and no one will be driving anymore because all cars will be autonomous. (That was sarcasm.)
But besides the new NSX — which has a tremendous legacy to live up to, so it had better be **** near perfect — there isn't much to Acura these days. That's sad, because it's a brand built on innovation. Remember that Acura was the first Japanese luxury brand created to do battle with Mercedes and BMW; that was a ballsy idea in the 1980s, and their Legend and Integra actually lived up to that promise.
Acura's stagnation has never been more apparent. How do they fix it? By making some enticing, ridiculous, forward-thinking concept cars and then take some of those into production to show the world that they still have some energy left and aren't going out with a whimper of beigeness. 15
I just don't see any evidence that this is going to happen, and I don't see much value in making jokes about their beaks or their cars' names or their boring designs. It's not funny anymore; it's just sad.
 

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Wow, we see things really differently I guess. I honestly think that the debut of this TLX is a turning point for Acura. Its SUVs have done fine, but when the 4G TL debuted, it just killed their whole sedan competitiveness. I think the TLX will significantly improve Acura's sales (and its reputation), maybe not quite as much as when the 3rd Generation TL came out, but close to that.

Outside of the grill, I think the TLX is quite sharp and likely looks even better in person than it does in pictures.
 

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While I was not totally happy with the reveal of the new TLX (still do not like the mini-beak), I was overall pleased with the look of the new design. The rear end and the side profile may be similar to other cars, but it is sure better than the 4G TL.
I may be in the minority, but I buy Acura b/c they do not break down.... not for high performance and cutting edge style. I bought my first in 1988, and have only owned Acura since. My current 07 TL has 160k and has been great. Sure the steering is soft and the design is conservative, but I enjoy driving it...it looks good, and it is very comfortable. I have tried Lexus, BMW, Audi, but keep coming back to Acura. I would love to buy a BMW or Audi...love how they drive....but they are only good for 100k b/f the checkbook comes out and stays out.
Comes down to do you want reliable and slightly upscale, or do you want high performance and lots of repairs? Acura has not put out a BMW contender yet, so why do people keep expecting one? I would love to see a 350 hp, manual 6 speed that has the Acura reliability, but Acura seems to refuse to make that car.....just my 2 cents from a longtime Acura owner.
 

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While I was not totally happy with the reveal of the new TLX (still do not like the mini-beak), I was overall pleased with the look of the new design. The rear end and the side profile may be similar to other cars, but it is sure better than the 4G TL.
I may be in the minority, but I buy Acura b/c they do not break down.... not for high performance and cutting edge style. I bought my first in 1988, and have only owned Acura since. My current 07 TL has 160k and has been great. Sure the steering is soft and the design is conservative, but I enjoy driving it...it looks good, and it is very comfortable. I have tried Lexus, BMW, Audi, but keep coming back to Acura. I would love to buy a BMW or Audi...love how they drive....but they are only good for 100k b/f the checkbook comes out and stays out.
Comes down to do you want reliable and slightly upscale, or do you want high performance and lots of repairs? Acura has not put out a BMW contender yet, so why do people keep expecting one? I would love to see a 350 hp, manual 6 speed that has the Acura reliability, but Acura seems to refuse to make that car.....just my 2 cents from a longtime Acura owner.
Completely agree with what you said. The TLX catches Acura up in the looks department big time, and with the anticipated performance, reliability, fuel economy, and cheaper price, it will be a much better value than Lexus, BMW, and Mercedes.
 

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Acura is killing themselves.
With the NSX, they seem like they know whats good for them, but anything under it is not even close to impressive.

They just keep bettering their best but not bettering their rivals.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
It would have been easier to just place the link to the article you copied this from

Acura Is Slowly Committing Suicide
figured it would be easier if you read it and replied in the same page.

I'm not convinced with the TLX.

I might go BMW to be honest with you.

Maybe I'm just the wrong kind of buyer for Acura

The TLX is a nice upgrade over the current TL but I think many older Acura fans are a bit dissapointed.

To be honest I might just kind of hate the new design language. And if they kill the 6MT that just kind of seals the deal for me.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
While I was not totally happy with the reveal of the new TLX (still do not like the mini-beak), I was overall pleased with the look of the new design. The rear end and the side profile may be similar to other cars, but it is sure better than the 4G TL.
I may be in the minority, but I buy Acura b/c they do not break down.... not for high performance and cutting edge style. I bought my first in 1988, and have only owned Acura since. My current 07 TL has 160k and has been great. Sure the steering is soft and the design is conservative, but I enjoy driving it...it looks good, and it is very comfortable. I have tried Lexus, BMW, Audi, but keep coming back to Acura. I would love to buy a BMW or Audi...love how they drive....but they are only good for 100k b/f the checkbook comes out and stays out.
Comes down to do you want reliable and slightly upscale, or do you want high performance and lots of repairs? Acura has not put out a BMW contender yet, so why do people keep expecting one? I would love to see a 350 hp, manual 6 speed that has the Acura reliability, but Acura seems to refuse to make that car.....just my 2 cents from a longtime Acura owner.
Your TL steering is soft? really?

Of all the TLs ive driven the steering was very stiff.

Well if they just slapped a 6MT on this TLX and tuned the AWD to be more rear bias with a beefier rear diff it would be a nice BMW alternative.

That is what I think at least.
 

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Its difficult to tune an AWD system to be real bias when its a FWD based architecture. They are set up to route all the power through the front transaxles, its not that easy to all of a sudden make something rear bias AWD unless it was RWD to begin with.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Its difficult to tune an AWD system to be real bias when its a FWD based architecture. They are set up to route all the power through the front transaxles, its not that easy to all of a sudden make something rear bias AWD unless it was RWD to begin with.
I would assume its a matter of tuning the e diff.

Even the existing Acura AWD can send power to the rear more so than the front.
 

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I would assume its a matter of tuning the e diff.

Even the existing Acura AWD can send power to the rear more so than the front.
but only temporarily. All the power is routed primarily through the front transaxle because thats how the car was designed. The TC becomes an after thought when then offering AWD. Whereas a RWD car routes all power through the rear diff and then worries about adding AWD in later.

Its the difference between a longitudinally mounted Flat 6 in the 3##xi and the transverse mounted V6 in the TLX...
 

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Discussion Starter #15
but only temporarily. All the power is routed primarily through the front transaxle because thats how the car was designed. The TC becomes an after thought when then offering AWD. Whereas a RWD car routes all power through the rear diff and then worries about adding AWD in later.

Its the difference between a longitudinally mounted Flat 6 in the 3##xi and the transverse mounted V6 in the TLX...
I understand that but its not impossible to have the torque split between the front and rear active all the time.

They can send more power to the rear and leave it like that but the problems come in with the strength of the diff that goes to the rear axles as well as the rear axles.



I understand that it would be lots of money and likely too much re-engineering to mount their V6 longitudinally. They don't have to though. Even if they split the power 50/50 and had a locking option it would still be lots of fun.

Actually even if they just tuned it to be more aggressive and send the power to the back earlier than it already does now that would make it more fun to drive.

By monitoring driver input and driving conditions, the SH-AWD system determines the optimum front-rear and lateral (left-right) torque distribution. This information is then conveyed to the rear differential, where direct electromagnetic clutches continuously regulate and vary front-rear torque distribution between ratios of 30:70 and 70:30, and lateral torque distribution in the rear wheels between ratios of 100:0 and 0:100. Torque is used not only for propulsion, but for cornering as well, resulting in a significant enhancement in vehicle maneuverability. SH-AWD system monitors vehicle speed, wheel speed, gear position, steering angle, yaw rate, lateral G forces and other inputs, while automatically adding torque to the outside rear wheel in corners to make the car turn quicker

How front-to-rear torque is distributed:

Straight-line driving front-rear torque distribution is regulated for optimum performance in accordance with the amount of torque produced. During rapid acceleration the load on the front wheels is reduced; conversely, rear-wheel load is reduced during cruising. The result is stable driving at all times.

How left-to-right torque is distributed on the rear wheels:

During cornering, torque to the rear wheels is continuously varied to supply up to 100% to the outside wheel and 0% to the inside wheel. This creates an inward yaw moment, significantly improving vehicle handling. Yaw moment is turning torque relative to the vertical axis running through the vehicle’s center of gravity.
When decelerating during cornering (throttle closed), torque to the outside rear wheel is freely varied to change from an inward to an outward yaw moment, ensuring vehicle stability at all times.

How does acceleration device works:

The rear differential is also equipped with a built-in acceleration device. During cornering, the track of the outside rear wheel normally falls outside the average of the tracks of the front wheels. The outside rear wheel does not rotate fast enough to keep up with the front wheels, preventing efficient transmission of torque. To counteract this problem, the SH-AWD acceleration device alters the gearing to speed up the outside rear wheel’s rotation relative to the front wheels. This reduces torque transmission losses and significantly improves vehicle maneuverability. During straight-ahead driving, the twin-pinion planetary carrier spins in synchronization with the propeller shaft, causing the front and rear wheels to turn at the same speed. When the vehicle enters a curve, however, the� planetary carrier is locked to the case, releasing the device from synchronization with the propeller shaft and accelerating the rotation speed of the rear wheels. A hydraulic actuator which turns the clutches on and off, and a one-way clutch are included in this compact configuration.
if you read through it you will get it.

it is already a nice system that seems very performance oriented. They simply need to tune the system to send the power to the rear more often.

In the SH AWD it only sends power to the rear if you throttle hard or it detects understeer. They should design it so that it sends power to the rear BEFORE you detect understeer. Send power to the rear earlier during any sort of acceleration.

I am fine with the front wheels being the primary driver during cruising. Saves gas anyways.

But I would imagine the rear axles and diff need to be beefed up.

But who am I kidding here. Acura doesnt care what I think.
 

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Are there any aftermarket systems for controling SH-AWD yourself on older SH-AWD equipped Acura's? Would be cool to fine tune that
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Nope

I think its pretty much stuck the way Acura tunes it

I mean.. That doesnt mean its not impossible to tune it your own way

But the aftermarket is not big for the SH AWD so no tuners have stepped up to make something like this

Maybe in a few more years when there are more SH AWD models in the used markets will people start to heavily tune them for performance.
 

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to tune it your own way its going to take A LOT.
even the software and hacking into it would take a lot. likely to happen years down the road.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I'm not sure if its controlled by hydraulic of fluids or if its digital

If its digital it shouldn't be too hard to lock the percentage or change it around.
 

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Likely it's digital. Seems like it.
Im sure there's a seperate ECU that controls it, just need to find someone capable of tuning it.
 
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