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Auto blogSat, 06 Jul 2013 13:01:00 EST
The roofless Acura TL you see above is a product of Newport Convertible Engineering. No stranger to taking the lids off of Acuras - and a bunch of other cars, like this Jaguar XJ and this Toyota FJ Cruiser - NCE says it was the first US coachbuilder to produce an Acura NSX convertible.
NCE says the conversion takes about six weeks to complete, comes with a five-year warranty from the supplier and doesn't void the original warranty from Acura. On top of that, the interior fitments like sun visors, trunk space and rear seat belts all remain unaltered. Customers who are absolutely against the B-pillar can have it removed, but NCE says "The vehicle will be designed differently without the center bar."
To our eyes the TL looks pretty all right without a roof, and with stripes. NCE will shortly be preparing convertible versions of the 2013 Range Rover Supercharged Autobiography, Porsche Cayenne and Cadillac XTS. For Acura owners, there's a press release below with information on NCE if you have a TL and an urge to go way beyond the sunroof.
Good. But Good Enough?
Spoiler alert: The 2014 Acura RLX is a good car. But that shouldn't come as a surprise. Despite the fact that Acura is subject to a lot of criticism for things like its odd positioning in the automotive landscape, questionable styling choices in recent years, and the fact that, more or less, its products feel like lux'd-up Hondas rather than something truly unique, the cars have always been inherently good - decent to drive, nice to sit in and reliable to own. That's what happens when you ride that sort of "affordable luxury" line.
Because Acura's sedans don't really fit into any one definable segment, the brand hopes it can draw customers from a broader range who aren't necessarily dedicated to a certain marque. And while there's certainly rhyme to that reason on the more entry-level end of the spectrum, that proposition makes less sense as you move toward higher price points. (Have a gander at the Hyundai Equus, if you will.) On the other hand, Acura pulled data from a 2012 Strategic Vision survey that showed the number one purchase decision for luxury buyers last year was value for the money, with manufacturer reputation coming in at a close second.
The Acura NSX might be one of the most important Japanese cars ever created. The Land of the Rising Sun had already established that it could make very competent performance vehicles when the NSX debuted in 1989, but Honda's two-seater was the first one that looked to the world like a true contender against Ferrari and Porsche, thanks to its cutting-edge technology. The Acura had an all-aluminum monocoque chassis, a beautifully low-slung body and a quick-revving V6 with an 8,000-rpm redline. This quintessential Japanese sports coupe celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, and Autoweek recognizes it in a fantastic piece chronicling the model's US launch.
The story begins in February 1989 at the Chicago Motor Show where the car debuted. The day before the show opened, the concept still didn't have a name. The Japanese development team referred to it as New Sports, and the American Acura executives decided to add eXperimental to the end. The moniker NSX just stuck afterwards.
The article paints a fantastic portrait of the car and the company at the time. Honda had something to prove with the NSX. To succeed, the coupe had to be the best, and when the American press finally got a hold of it, they drowned it in accolades. Of course, Acura has a new American-built NSX on the way, and it has colossal legacy to live up to. This piece is definitely worth reading to understand why.