By on March 8, 2019

Despite the growing importance of crossover vehicles, Acura is one of the few automakers that has not abandoned its commitment to sedans. It intends to prove that by bringing a production-ready vehicle, based heavily on the 2016 Precision Concept (seen above), to Pebble Beach this summer.

The car will also signal Acura’s entry into a new era of styling, underpinned by muscular shapes offset with inorganic angles — sort of like a sexy robot. If you want sense of what that looks like, and are made uncomfortable by the notion of having to Google the words “sexy robot,” contrast the 2018 RDX with the 2019 model to get a taste of Acura’s updated design language

However, the production concept that’s supposed to debut in California this August is believed to adhere more closely to the Precision we saw three years earlier in Detroit, and that’s probably for the best. As the supposed successor to the poor-selling RLX, the vehicle will need to dazzle if it plans to outperform the sedan it’s likely to replace.

Deliveries of Acura’s RLX haven’t surpassed 2,000 annual units in the United States since 2015. These days, its impressive whenever the company sells more than 150 in a given month. While the car still represents good value for money in its segment, it’s not competing. Shoppers are moving onto luxury crossovers and the RLX isn’t exciting enough to win over driving enthusiasts eyeballing other premium brands.

That’s likely to change after the 2019 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. According to Car and Driver, the car is definitely coming, though it may not carry over the RLX name. It will, however, receive better support than the model it’s destined to replace.

From Car and Driver:

What’s not up for debate is that Acura is becoming relevant again, particularly within its own company. Execs admit frustration over Acura’s second-class treatment by Honda, which lately has reserved the newest innovations (like the Accord’s 10-speed automatic transmission and infotainment, or the Civic Type R’s turbo four) when the luxury division, by all logic, should be leading. But its cars are starting to look really good again. For Acura, Pebble Beach can’t come soon enough.

While we doubt the production concept will incorporate the Precision’s suicide doors, panoramic center screen, or ludicrous girth, we sincerely hoping it retains the overall look of that automobile. We’d also be elated to learn that the model will be one of the vehicles the company has earmarked to receive its long absent Type S designation, possibly incorporating the new turbocharged V6 Acura has been buzzing about. (We may be getting miles ahead of ourselves on that one.)

Following Pebble Beach, Acura intends to debut the next-generation TLX sedan and MDX crossover — both of which should share design characteristics with the vehicle bound for California — later this year.

[Images: Acura]

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54 Comments on “Acura’s Comeback Car? New Flagship Sedan Due for Pebble Beach Unveiling...”


  • avatar
    wooootles

    I can pretty much say with confidence that a production version of this will have the dash-to-axle ratio of your typical FWD midsizer/fullsizer. Basically it would be like the current Nissan Maxima.

    • 0 avatar
      Lightspeed

      Yep, you can’t argue with the hard-point much. I’m sure it will be handsome yet unremarkable and sink like a stone in the sea of cross-overs. Sad, because I like handsome sedans, and I really like my 2003 Maxima.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    That is a VERY short front overhang. HMA better cash that check.

    Though to be honest, an Acurafied Accord would be more than good enough. Make the base car a V6 hybrid, and the top trim a V6TT with SH-AWD. Then combine the ILX/TLX into an Acurafied Civic with the Accord’s engines. So easy

    We’ll see what this is about. I’d honestly be disappointed if Honda waited until NOW to “fight the Germans”. The perfect time for that was with their ’91 Legend. The window closed on that opportunity about 15 years ago.

  • avatar
    Felix Hoenikker

    Re: styling comment. I remember acute, obtuse and right angles from geometry, but never came across an inorganic angle before. Sounds like a mashup between inorganic chemistry and geometry.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      Inorganic shapes, are shapes that don’t mirror organic (living) forms.

      The significance, aside from simply looking robotic, is that life is efficient at picking low hanging fruit, specifically at evolving forms that are tolerant of individual variations.

      The importance of the latter is; that this “tolerance tolerance,” can make extreme precision, and the ability to hold the tightest of tolerances in their production, less critical when dealing with “organic” shapes. If you’re off by a millimeter, or minute of angle, here and there, the shapes themselves help cover up, rather than highlight, your “mistake.”

      For normal production, this is a good thing. But, particularly in Japan, “luxury” cars, should be cars that highlight the fact that the workers, processes and companies capable of executing them, are at the very top of their game. Otherwise, the Chinese (or Koreans, or even Germans…) will just make good enough copies, that are hard to distinguish from the work of the “real masters.”

      So, while the Japanese manufacturing giants are the masters of tolerance tolerant engineering, as seen by how their mass market cars can be produced at wicked high quality anywhere in the world, with any population of workers, with very short rampup; “luxury” cars should be difficult to make almost for difficulty’s sake. As a showcase; both of the maker’s ultimate skills across all disciplines required for production; and also of the buyer’s ability to distinguish between that which is simply good enough, and that which takes real skill.

  • avatar

    How about calling it the Acura Legend.

  • avatar
    vvk

    Needs to be about 20 inches taller. The modern trend of lower sedan roof lines is killing sedans.

  • avatar
    jatz

    Please, please, please let this be built exactly as shown in the concept!

    It will have to drive on those roads out there! *evil laugh*

    Viral photos of them foundered on the apex of mall entrances.

  • avatar
    gass-man

    Love the shape. No chance the production model looks that sexy.

    Except the government-mandated, huge, pedestrian-safe profile of the vertical nose. Barf!

    • 0 avatar
      jatz

      “No chance the production model looks that sexy.”

      Production models must permit occupancy of a wider societal segment than only first-generation Hmong immigrants.

    • 0 avatar
      Deontologist

      There are no pedestrian safety standards in the US, which is Acura’s main market, LOL. This meme needs to die. Repeat after me: the US government says nothing about pedestrian (impact) safety. (There are, however, rules about having your vehicle make a certain minimum amount of noise, so pedestrians can hear you.)

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        But if they want to sell the model elsewhere, the pedestrian standards matter.

        It’s the California Effect, except at EU size — because designing an extra-unsafe model especially for the US market is both expensive and unethical, if you’re going to do it right anyway.

  • avatar
    Fred

    Reminds me of the Lexus LC or the Mazda RX-Vision.

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    Two observations:

    – It occurs to me, that the allure of many new vehicles is largely lost on the ‘core’ group of attendees to the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. (The way I hear it, some mainstream ‘prize’ vehicles are frequently passed on to teenagers, etc.) Do you concur?

    – The whole Cadillac “Art & Science” angular thing was based on the F-117. The sharp angles on the F-117 were directly tied to the limited computing power available in the late 70’s when it was designed; Lockheed could only calculate Pyotr Ufimtsev’s radar cross-section formulas for a given number of flat surfaces. The angularity flew directly in the face of aerodynamics. The B-2 team had access to more computing power by the time of its development, so the B-2 is curvy. Bottom line: Cadillac’s ‘futuristic’ styling direction was already obsolete in reality at the time of its introduction.

    • 0 avatar
      Tele Vision

      @ToolGuy

      I’ve never heard of – or read about – the attack aircraft connection to the CTS’ design. Any design similarities were likely of an ‘aesthetic stand-out’ and ‘ease of production’ reasoning, rather than a ‘relaxed-stability’ one – not to mention the Mazda prototype that never saw production. My purchase of a 2007 CTS-V ( in avatar ) in 2014 occurred after six months of research so there’s a chance that I would have read something about the ‘fact’ that you just made up. Bottom Line: You Like Airplanes That Bomb People In Countries That You’ve Never Heard Of.

      • 0 avatar
        ToolGuy

        “For his 1999 Evoq concept car (fig. 24), Cadillac designer Kip Wasenko took inspiration from the F-117 stealth aircraft. Taking off from the plane’s faceted shape, his design laid out the basic tendencies of a corporate design philosophy known as “art and science”. – from Glamour: Fashion, Industrial Design, Architecture – San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Phil Patton, Virginia Postrel, San Francisco Museum of Art, Valerie Steele – pg. 93

        • 0 avatar
          bts

          “Bottom line: Cadillac’s ‘futuristic’ styling direction was already obsolete in reality at the time of its introduction.”

          If the Cadillac was a stealth bomber, you’d be right. But we’re talking about a car and it’s styling that does nothing but change how it looks.

          By your logic, Apple’s most revolutionary products were obsolete on introduction because they might have be designed and styled in a similar manner to Braun’s.

          https://www.cultofmac.com/188753/the-braun-products-that-inspired-apples-iconic-designs-gallery/

          • 0 avatar
            ToolGuy

            Agreed that Styling is capricious and random and not based in any type of functionality. But unfortunately the ‘Form’ of Styling can affect the ‘Function’ of the vehicle in very meaningful and harmful ways over the life of the product.

            And I do find it ironic that the whimsical ‘target’ chosen (the angular first-gen stealth fighter) has a look which was directly dictated by technological limits, and will never be seen again (note that newer fighters/bombers have the sexy ‘organic’ curves back). So now we’ve locked in on an arbitrary angular styling theme which happens to alienate the majority of our existing customer base. Hmm…

            (Cadillac has been ‘bombing’ a lot lately, and their customers have certainly been ‘dropping off the radar’ – so maybe they *are* a stealth bomber…)

            Apple is *big* into Industrial Design (not Styling) and any comparison to the automotive ‘styling’ studios would likely be taken as an insult.

          • 0 avatar
            jatz

            “a look which was directly dictated by technological limits”

            Like still peddling the animation style of Dire Straits’ “Money for Nothing” video.

        • 0 avatar
          Tele Vision

          @ Toolguy

          Ah, I didn’t research the 1999 Evoq before buying a 2007 car in 2014.

  • avatar

    Is it a caricature? Cannot believe Acura is going to built this thing. And who cares really. Give me Kia Stinger, thank you.

  • avatar
    RHD

    That huge, goofy grin on the cartoon face can’t be an accident…

  • avatar
    JimZ

    “Acura’s Comeback Car?”

    Betteridge’s Law says any headline that ends with a question mark can safely be answered “no.”

    And given how ugly this piece of crap is- as well as being a sedan- I’d say Betteridge is correct.

  • avatar
    MoDo

    You’d think Acura would know by now that FWD V6 design doesn’t matter. Ask the Maxima, Accord, Sonata, 200, Malibu, Fusion and Camry how its working out for them.

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    While ‘manspreading’ is rude on public transportation, it should be allowed in the driver’s seat of one’s personal vehicle. The acres of wasted space on that center console aren’t doing anyone any favors… but my knees will be forever bumping against the driver’s door armrest on the one side and the irrationally-sculpted center console on the other. OEM’s: Please note that some tall people buy new vehicles. Also note that the armrest and the center console should be on the same transverse plane (ask a chiropractor if this reasoning is not clear).

    Bonus rant: When I see concept vehicles which have absolutely no chance of meeting roof crush standards (assuming the A-pillar won’t be composed of Vibranium or unobtainium), I wonder two things:
    a) how design staffs got sooooo far out of line with reality, and
    b) why I would give my money to a company which wastes resources on such things

    Now get off my street.

    • 0 avatar
      jatz

      Designers have thoughtfully specced pre-crushed roofs whose molecules can’t compress no more.

      • 0 avatar
        ToolGuy

        Hey jatz!

        Wouldn’t this approach eventually create a black hole?

        Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh……………. (light bulb clicks on)

        By the way, I love your ‘black Great Foam expanding mass of claustrophobia and blindness’ comment elsewhere on the site – I’m still laughing about that one. Made me think of SecureFoam in Demolition Man (except that was a lifesaver, not a killer):
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SD3g9iGlceU

  • avatar

    Make the logo bigger… more… more… a little more… keep going…

  • avatar
    rentonben

    Dear Acura, Buick and Cadillac,
    If you actually made cars that resembled your prototypes, I’d buy one.

    • 0 avatar

      Buick makes it. But only for China. You peasants do not deserve it.

      https://www.autoblog.com/2018/11/16/2020-buick-lacrosse-refresh-leaked-photos/#slide-7468985

      • 0 avatar
        ToolGuy

        ILO,

        I’m still upset that China gets long wheelbase models while my offspring** and I negotiate for first row/second row legroom on road trips.

        ** Offspring height may be supplemented by growth hormones delivered via ‘chicken fingers’ vector.

  • avatar
    EX35

    Is it RWD or RWD-biased? If not, no thanks.


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