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Auto blogThu, 07 Nov 2013 17:01:00 EST
There's a fun cliche for all-black cars based on an old Chevrolet Impala SS advertisement - "Lord Vader, your car is ready." It's been reproduced seemingly every time an automaker comes out with a menacing, black car. This Acura Street Performance ILX is for a different movie villain, though. Its advertisement should read, "Goldmember, your car is ready."
Yes, this is a matte gold car, and would probably be lusted after by that freaky deeky Dutch villain. And while it's easy to poke fun at the car's paint job, we're actually quite impressed with what Acura and MAD Industries have done with the car's mechanicals. The 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine has been boosted to 250 horsepower at the front wheels, thanks to a CT Engineering supercharger and an ECU reflash. A CT Engineering intake adds to the grunt, as does a new, prototype Greddy exhaust.
The car rides on 19-inch Nitto NT05 Max tires and TSW Max wheels, while Tein Super Street coilovers and a Stoptech big brake kit make the compact Acura a bit more controllable. Outside the car, an Acura Accessories body kit has been fitted, while the cabin sports a CT Engineering short shift kit, and a few other items from the Acura catalog.
Acura has announced that it will be showing the production version of the RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD at the 2013 Los Angeles Auto Show. You'll recall that the standard 3.5-liter V6-powered RLX has been on sale for some time, and that our review of Acura's flagship sedan was mixed. On paper, at least, the RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD should fare better.
Sporting a similar hybrid powertrain to the one expected to motivate the NSX supercar, the RLX uses a 3.5-liter V6 paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission and a trio of electric motors to generate 377 horsepower, net a combined fuel economy of 30 miles per gallon and offer the security and performance of torque-vectoring all-wheel drive.
The RLX will hit the LA stand on November 20. Scroll down for the full press release from Acura.
What Is, What Could Have Been, And What May Yet Be
History is largely unkind to losers. That's true in the world of politics and sports, and it follows on with a few caveats in the realm of automobiles.
In terms of cars, historic losers tend to be remembered in one of two broad ways. Every once in a while, unsuccessful or oddball models actually make reputational gains after some time away from the new-car marketplace. I consider the Saab 9-2X one of the recent poster children for this group; a car that moved like molasses on dealer lots in the mid-2000s but has morphed into a sort of hard-to-find, used gem in recent years. More often, though, that which was unloved when new remains unloved with tens or hundreds of thousands of miles on the odometer. Pontiac's seriously misunderstood Aztek has king status here (despite the wailings of oddball fan clubs across the nation), so much so that invoking "Aztek" as a pejorative stopped being pithy about a dozen years ago.
The Honda NSX Concept-GT is one sexy machine, and it looks to be a very effective tool on a race circuit. But Honda's latest web spot leads us to believe that it also can be used to make tea.
In the video, the racecar is hooked up to an apparatus that uses tubing to harness the energy from the car's 500-horsepower hybrid drive system, using it to boil water. The novel tea-making technique reminds us a bit of a couple other inventive Honda commercials, namely Hands and Cog.
Watch the NSX ad below, and be sure to turn the sound up to hear that glorious engine note.
Bloomberg has a fascinating look into a web series that continues to be a favorite around the Autoblog offices - Jerry Seinfeld's Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. The series, which is in its second season, sees the affable comedian picking up fellow comedians in a range of interesting cars, and having conversations with them over the drive and a cup of joe.
The piece by Bloomberg dives into the development of the series, as well as Seinfeld's tie-up with Acura, which saw the Honda-owned brand begin sponsorship this season. That relationship started not with his web series, though, but with a Super Bowl ad, alongside fellow funnyman and car enthusiast Jay Leno, that saw them competing over a new Acura NSX. Have a click over to Bloomberg for an entertaining piece that looks beyond the YouTube series. We've also wrangled Seinfeld's original Super Bowl ad for the Acura NSX, which you can see below.
Mariano Rivera, considered one of Major League Baseball's best relief and closing pitchers, bought an Acura when he debuted in the major leagues in 1995, and has owned nothing but Acuras since. So it was only natural for the New York Acura Dealers group to strike up a partnership. The fruits of the deal can be seen in the latest New York Acura commercial, called "Legends," which stars Rivera and Acuras new and old. It's narrated by actor Steve Schirripa, who played Bobby "Bacala" Baccalieri in HBO's The Sopranos.
"The spots are a nod to Acura's history and the years it overlapped with Mariano's career," says Scott Rodgers, chief creative officer at Tier10, the ad agency that developed the campaign's concept. With the "Legends" campaign, Rivera and the New York Acura Dealers continue a partnership that has provided $800,000 to the pitcher's charity, the Mariano Rivera Foundation.
The hardest part of the commercial was was finding the cars to star in it, according to Douglas Sonders, co-founder of 8112 Studios, the production company that shot the commercial. "Social media saved the day for us," he says. "After days of cold calls and e-mails to all of our contacts, we ended up sourcing everything we needed in 24 hours after asking our online contacts for assistance."
Honda is in hot water due to an airbag glitch that is causing it to recall 405,400 vehicles. According to the campaign, the supplemental restraints might fire for no apparent reason. 342,000 of the affected vehicles are 2003 and 2004 Odyssey minivans, which gels with a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration investigation we reported on in June.
Joining the Odyssey in the recall is the Acura MDX, with 63,400 units covered from the 2003 model year. Unlike the van, though, the MDX's recall covers Japan and Australia, in addition to the US and Canada. Both vehicles are suffering from an airbag control unit that is prone to malfunction when exposed to electrical noise, a condition that can cause the airbags to deploy without warning. Although no crashes have been reported in such scenarios, there have been some injuries typical of airbag deployment - abrasions and such.
Honda will be mailing recall notices to owners near the end of October, asking them to bring their vehicles into the dealership for installation of an electrical noise filter. The repair will take about an hour and be free of charge. Scroll down for the official announcement from Honda.
Automakers typically wait until their new car is actually released to roll out an online configurator interface, but Acura isn't waiting around. Instead it has launched a configurator for the upcoming NSX that's still in the concept phase.
Well, sorta. The online tool launched on Facebook in question isn't a full configurator in that it doesn't let you swap the wheels, install any options or even look into the cabin, let alone customize it. What it does let you do is view the NSX concept from one of three angles and select a color from either an array of presets or from anywhere in the RGB spectrum. We settled on the deep metallic green hue above - what color would you choose?
Like many smaller trucks, the Honda Ridgeline has been left to stagnate on the market for far too many years. With production of the current model reportedly winding down later next year before production of the next-gen model picks up in 2016, Honda is sending the 2014 Ridgeline out with some style courtesy of a new Special Edition trim level.
The new Ridgeline SE essentially adds cues from the Ridgeline Sport to the luxurious RTL trim level. The means features like black-trimmed 18-inch alloys and matching interior trim arrives as a no-cost option. This new model carries the same starting price as the RTL at $37,505 (*not including $830 for destination), and all other trim level pricing is carried over unchanged from the 2013 model year. The new SE model won't be available until November, and it is not pictured in the image galleries (all of which seem to be identical to previous model years).
Speaking of carryover products, Honda has also released pricing for the unchanged 2014 Pilot and 2014 Acura TL, which will continue to be priced from $29,670 and $36,030, respectively (Acura's destination charge is $890). Scroll down for press releases on the 2014 Ridgeline, Pilot and TL.
We're fresh from a balmy rooftop deck in downtown Detroit, where Honda held a meeting this week to discuss and demonstrate a few upcoming advanced safety features. A clear focus of the mini event was the company's new Vehicle-to-Pedestrian (V2P) technology, with a suite of Vehicle-to-Motorcycle (V2M) tech a significant second course.
With spirits still high from announcing the 2014 Odyssey as the first minivan to win the Top Safety Pick+ status from IIHS - and after seeing the application of new high-strength-steel sections of the Acura MDX body structure - Honda shared the fruits of some safety tech that is still in the research phase.