By on November 27, 2012

Honda/Acura fansite Temple of VTEC has a series of spy photos of the Acura RLX taken in China, revealing the car’s interior details, and one lone exterior shot.

As you can see, the car is non-descript in that special Acura sort of way The faux-BMW Hoffmeister kink is there at the rear window, while the front is indistinguishable from the rest of the lineup. The interior looks well finished, but again, there’s little to distinguish it from the rest of the pack. Tomorrow, we’ll get a proper look at the RLX when it’s unveiled at the L.A. Auto Show.

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30 Comments on “Acura RLX Spy Shots Surface Sans Camo...”

  • avatar

    “you remember that beak nose that we put on our car a few years back that no one liked? Lets add 5 headlights on each side to make it look better” — said no one ever.

    • 0 avatar

      It’s the new “Family Truckster” design theme.

    • 0 avatar

      Either the “beak” looks better, or I’ve just gotten used to how ugly it is over the last several years. Also the headlights looked good until I realized that it was a bunch of little ones. I’m excited for this car because it will continue the tradition of having an Acura that everyone forgot existed…. Its a little sad, actually, how this brand went from being the first of the Japanese luxury movement to essentially the most irrelevant. If Honda wants a shot at this potentially deliciously profitable segment, they need to invest massive amounts of capital. If theyre bold, they can go all 1st gen LS on the market and knock the competition out of the water, or if theyre cheap, they can pull an Audi and make gorgeous cars with pretty interiors, cars that, despite appearances, share a lot of underpinnings. Either solution is better than what they have now — mediocre offerings that look like the blingy hondas that they are.

      • 0 avatar

        I’m confused:

        So, you want Acura to do what Audi does and “make gorgeous cars with pretty interiors, cars that, despite appearances, share a lot of underpinnings” yet you don’t want them to sell “offerings that look like the blingy hondas that they are.”

        How is this not exactly what Audi did for ages?!? For a long time, especially in the A4, even interior parts were shared amongst many VW/Audi cars, which is something Acura has long since stopped doing (although, so has Audi largely). Its not that I don’t agree, its that I think you’re suggesting Acura do something that its already done, and with moderate success.

      • 0 avatar

        The original Acuras (sans NSX) were always based on Honda underpinnings, Acura’s downfall started with the Legend, it was so popular and successful that people started to think of the Legend the car, not Acura the brand (kind of like 911 and porsche), so Acura killed the Legend and its been a downhill run since then, while Audi’s been climbing everest.

        Given the current Yen/$ situation (which is not going to change, the days of US administrations using a strong $ to represent a strong country during the cold war are over), structural cost issues in Japan that I doubt Honda has the heart to deal with and the fact that there is nothing special about Honda underpinnings or engines anymore (in comparison to Ford or GM for example) and Acura is Lincoln (basically a luxury brand that no one would notice was missing if it all of a sudden just disappeared).

        So Honda killed what made Acura Acura, the Legend (and NSX, for cost purposes I’m sure, but couldn’t ask for a nicer halo car) to build Acura name recognition, all the while using uglier and uglier design themes, with weaker and weaker underpinnnings, hoping no one would notice and remember that magic 1992 accord/prelude they had and just keep on buying. (Sounds like the TTAC GM deathwatch album 78′ being played on 45′)

      • 0 avatar

        @EChid what I’m saying is that I want some visual differentiation. You look at a VW and an Audi today and, yeah, while they will share a similar design philosophy, they are well enough differentiated that people driving Audis never think of themselves as driving fancy VWs, and neither would anyone else (except for some auto enthusiasts). I guess what I want to say is that it doesnt matter what the underpinnings are, so long as it feels differently enough for a consumer. This means that the underpinnings can be similar, so long as the design and interior are obviously differentiated. This is the difference between Ford/Lincoln and VW/Audi. Also Audi A4 and the Passat used to be closely related, but now they are quite differentiated and both sell better than ever. Coincidence??

    • 0 avatar

      The headlights are LEDs.

    • 0 avatar

      HAHA +1

  • avatar


    Man… to think that Acura used to be exciting and cutting edge. What does Honda see in this design strategy that CLEARLY nobody else does?

  • avatar


  • avatar

    Looks good, but will probably struggle to be relevant as identified. The technology behind it sounds interesting. Acura has always done best when their designs are conservative and, frankly, bland by many peoples standards. It’s when they went brash that they lost the most. Think of the previous gen TL, the TSX, the first-gen MDX, the Integra. All were good-looking, but not super aggressive. This fits the bill, as does the ILX (too bad about it being way overpriced for what you get).

    I’m assuming this won’t be low-priced enough, but could this compete in Equus playing fields? Not sure if big enough. But I know I’d rather have this over an Equus if they’re similar prices.

    • 0 avatar

      Agreed, Acura designs have always been conservative…but so were BMW designs for a long time. I actually miss my 90 Integra and 98 TL for that reason, great design with simple lines and some curves. Conservative last longer and ages more gracefully.

  • avatar

    I wasn’t a big fan of the chrome mascara when it was applied to the last-generation Saab 9-5, and I can’t say I like it any more here.

    It’s kind of a pity, because the first years of the current RL are quite attractive, if conservative, cars.

  • avatar

    Maybe this can push them to that coveted 100 sales-per-month goal.

    nahhh, probably not.

  • avatar

    I don’t get why these Japanese manufacturers refuse to admit that they messed up and they need to change the direction/styling of their brands. It’s like they think their way is the correct way, and it’s just up for their potential customers to realize that.

    It wasn’t even that long ago that the Acura name held respect, now no one even cares. Yet they still insist on doing this awful beak thing.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    The crease in the upper part of the front fender, which plunges down into a lower crease on the door is the kind of awkward design touch that we have come to expect from Acura in the past several years. They should replace their entire body design staff and start over.

    A more interesting question is raised by the close up of the shifter in the interior shots. It has only P,R,N, and D positions, with a “sport” button behind. Would it be a CVT of some sort, rather than a torque converter, planetary gear automatic? Perhaps a CVT that uses a clutch rather than a torque converter between the engine and the transmission, which would explain the “brake hold” feature?

    • 0 avatar

      Most likely the shifter options mean that the selection of specific gears can only be done via paddles, as on the 2013 Accord Sport.

      The “hold” feature is commonly offered on German luxury cars. It keeps the brakes applied even with your foot off the pedal, until you next hit the gas. This way you can take your foot off the brake at a red light.

      • 0 avatar

        Well, I think we might be talking about two different things — “brake hold” vs. “hill hold.” The German cars Mr. Karesh mentions generally have hill hold, as do Subarus. It’s not a red light thing per se.

        However, what the Acura appears to have is a way to use the electronic e-brake by using this brake hold button, no?

      • 0 avatar


        If the car has brake hold, it will have hill hold. Every German luxury car I’ve driven in the past few years has had it.

        OTOH, my non luxury German car (MINI) has hill hold but not brake hold. A lot of cars that have brake hold have an option to turn it off.

  • avatar

    Holy crap that interior looks poorly made and BLAND. The 2013 Accord LX interior photographs better.

    This looks to be a sure-fire flop in the US. How can brand planners be so blind?

    I suppose they might offer some differences in the US spec, but man.

  • avatar

    OK Acura, you just pulled off the longest April fools joke ever, we fell for it. You can get rid of the chrome beak now.

  • avatar

    Honda’s design philosophy is all about efficiency and reliablity. Most notably in the V6 engine of the original NSX. Honda engineers were thinking, if the NSX is 90% as fast as a Ferrari, 1000% more reliable, and at 50% cost, we will beat them with a V6. But no, that didn’t happen.

    Luxury cars are not about efficiency. It’s about excessiveness. The buyer won’t care if the V8 version is actually worse than the V6 on a track. His mistress will be more impressed if the count of cylinders is larger.

    If I were to make the decision, I will drop the RL and just go with the TL and rename it back to Legend. And aim to sell 100,000 of the super Accords per year.

  • avatar

    I don’t understand why Acura bothered.

    They sell, what, 50 RLs a month? If they’re trying to increase sales, offering a “more of the same” design isn’t the way to go about doing it. Since the RL isn’t a core product, they had an incredible amount of lattitude to design something completely out of the box and attention-grabbing, but instead they give us TL + (or, Accord ++).

    An RL can’t “out-status” a 5-series, E-Class, A6 or GS, and it can’t undercut the incentive-heavy Infiniti M, so aside from Acura die-hards and some upgrading TL owners, who’s going to bite?.

  • avatar

    It’s plain that whomever’s designing for Acura these days needs their little fingers smacked with a cork-backed steel ruler.

  • avatar

    Those headlights look like spiders eyes. They’re also about as attractive.

  • avatar

    Seems like Acura is still building RLs for that 50-something retired structural engineer who happens to be the only guy who appreciates Acura’s brand of pseudo-conservative styling and technology. Take the RLX out of the picture and he’d probably end up driving a Buick or, if he wanted to be adventurous, an Infiniti G sedan.

  • avatar

    It’s an Acura Taurus. Why Honda? Why?

  • avatar

    Gotta hand it to the Honda guys. They’re persistent. At times for what is seemingly Quixotic level. And this RLX is the perfect example. They just keep plugging at it, but continue to offer it just as they were, not addressing what makes them a failure in the first place. It’s just an Acura sedan, size XXL. It doesn’t seem to have anything compelling that would make people choose it over other car, or over smaller, lesser priced Acura sedans. How many people’s asking for something just like the TL, TS, or Honda Accord for that matter, but just a little bit bigger?

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