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Acura debuted its TLX GT racecar at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show earlier this year, and it looks like the racer is set to get its first competitive outing in Motown as well. The RealTime Racing team is competing with a single car driven by Peter Cunningham for the Pirelli World Challenge rounds during the Detroit Grand Prix from May 30 through June 1.
Honda Performance Development is developing the TLX GT with a direct-injected, twin-turbocharged V6 engine, based on the production, naturally aspirated version, and all-wheel drive helps maintain traction. A second car is being added to the effort later.
The turbocharged Acura sedan will face competition in the series from vehicles like the Audi R8 LMS, Cadillac CTS-V, Dodge Viper, Nissan GT-R, Porsche 911 and more. With the Detroit Grand Prix hosting the sixth and seventh races in the Pirelli World Challenge GT class schedule, it doesn't seem that Acura is expecting to win the series in its debut season, but it will surely gain valuable experience.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has revealed its annual list of Top Safety Picks, an award that highlights automobiles it says offer "superior crash protection." A new and still more significant award, the Top Safety Pick+ honor, is given to those vehicles that earn good ratings for occupant protection in four out of five areas of measure. And while some 117 vehicles were given the TSP seal of approval for 2013, just 13 passed muster for TSP+.
To be fair, IIHS only evaluated 29 vehicles with its new testing procedures for TSP+ (we'd expect that the number of qualified cars will rise substantially for 2014). Luxury and Near Luxury midsize cars were the first groups evaluated, followed by midsizers in the Moderately Priced Cars category - unsurprisingly, it's only midsize cars that you'll find among the class this year.
Only two luxury sedans made the list of 13 for 2013: the Acura TL and Volvo S60. The other 11 cars on the list included entries from domestic, Japanese and German car makers: Dodge Avenger, Chrysler 200, Ford Fusion, Honda Accord (sedan and coupe), Kia Optima (but not its close kin, the Hyundai Sonata, strangely), Nissan Altima, Subaru Legacy and Outback, Suzuki Kizashi and the Volkswagen Passat all made the grade.
Acura doesn't tend to do concept cars these days that don't foreshadow a specific upcoming production model. The ZDX prototype of 2010 previewed the production version, as did the ILX and RLX showcars of 2012 and the MDX of 2013. The NSX concept is on its way to production, as the SUV-X concept is likely to do as well in the coming years. So when Acura revealed the TLX prototype at the Detroit Auto Show a few months ago, we all but knew it would only be a matter of time before that, too, would be produced. And here it is.
Spied all but completely undisguised while undergoing testing, this pair of TLX prototypes (one in white, one in black) looks almost identical to the show car. You might spot a few minor tweaks here and there - the strip of LEDs in the lower front bumper have been replaced by round fog lamps and some of the chrome accents are missing - but by and large, we're looking at the same vehicle we saw in Detroit earlier this year.
The finished production version of the TLX is expected to debut at the New York Auto Show next month, after which it will replace both the TSX and the TL, slotting in between the smaller ILX and the larger RLX in Acura's sedan lineup.