A More Powerful RL
The Chicago Auto Show played host to Acura's latest RL unveiling where the revised big-buck sedan showed off its new looks, better and smarter interior, and more powerful V-6. The brand-new 3.7L is, in fact, Acura's most powerful V-6 ever offered in a sedan. It pumps out a healthy 300 hp and 271 lb-ft of torque thanks to VTEC on both cam lobes-a first for any SOHC Honda engine-a higher compression ratio and a dual-stage intake manifold for improved low-end grunt. But you wouldn't know any of this looking under the hood-the '09 RL's engine bay features what Honda calls the new "surround panel assembly" designed to reduce "visual distractions." The six is mated to a Sequential SportShift five-speed automatic-like we expected-and is once again paired with Acura's SH-AWD system, also like we expected. There's also a cool "smart" F1-style steering wheel with paddle shifters as well as a console-mounted gear selector that alone makes the RL worth a testdrive. For '09 the RL features higher rate coil springs, larger diameter stabilizer bars, stiffer subframe mount bushings and better steering rack components. To further help handling and looks, new 18-inch seven-spoke aluminum wheels are matched with more aggressive tires. Outside, the RL features an in-your-face front grille and blow-formed aluminum hood for reduced weight. The '09 RL will be offered in three trim levels, each featuring the 300hp V-6 and AWD architecture we care about.
Save The Date: 2008
Eibach Springs 5th Annual Honda Meet
The date is set and the cars are lined up. Don't miss out on the biggest Honda and Acura event around-Eibach's yearly Honda meet. The gates open May 18 at ll a.m. and will stay open until the event shuts down at 5 p.m. As always, parking, attendance, live DJs and cheap thrills are all free. See you at Eibach: 264 Mariah Circle, Corona, Calif., 92879.
Their Accord, Our TSX- Either Way It's New
The spy shots have been trickling in for some time, as have the powertrain rumors. Only recently has Honda of U.K. and Acura of America released bona fide teaser shots and info for both the European model Accord/Accord Tourer (TSX wagon to you) and U.S.-spec TSX, respectively. By the time you read this, an official Accord unveiling will have taken place at the Geneva Motor Show along with the TSX unwrap at the New York International Auto Show with sales to begin in early summer.
What we know: The Euro Accord is bigger and lower. So is the TSX. Accords will be offered with either diesel i-DTEC engines or conventional 2.0L and 2.4L four-cylinder powerplants, each paired with a standard six-speed gearbox. U.S.-bound TSXs will be offered with the a slightly revised 2.4 liter pumping out roughly 5 lb-ft more torque than the one we know, officially stamping out any and all turbo RDX powertrain or i-DTEC diesel rumors. No matter, whether it's the TSX or not, i-DTEC is coming. At least that's what Honda Motor Company president and CEO, Takeo Fukui, had to say about it at the North American International Auto Show. It's coming in 2009 whether you like it or not.
F1 Launch: Chassis RA108
Honda Racing's F1 Team has a new car. The all-new RA108, launched in Brackley, U.K., and shook down in Valencia, features a relatively unchanged engine program save for some different exhaust geometry, a new transmission and a slightly different airbox needed to accommodate the new aerodynamics and, per FIA regulations, the RA108's fuel mix will consist of 5.75 percent biofuel. Other significant changes include the electronics. Implementing the FIA standard electronic control unit means a bit of work's going to be needed to integrate all of this with the RA108's engine, gearbox and chassis.
Honda Access Corporation, Honda's genuine aftermarket parts and accessories subdivision, unveiled two special concept vehicles at this year's Tokyo Auto Salon. Honda's theme: "Realizing dreams together." The results: the Sports Modulo Type R, which is basically a four-door CTR only better, and the Touring Modulo Inspire. Modulo-badged Hondas benefit from functional aero modifications as well as top-of-the-line factory Honda navigation and audio gear.