Acura's Comeback Car? New Flagship Sedan Due for Pebble Beach Unveiling
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.
A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.
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