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Acura NSX bodywork to be sheathed in zirconium e-coat, fewer paint layers

08/06/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Coupes, Tech, Videos, Supercars, Acura, Honda

Acura NSX prototype

Automakers make halo cars to drum up excitement and show off what they can do, but there's more to it than that. Advanced platforms allow a company's engineers to experiment with all sorts of technologies. And in the case of the upcoming new Acura NSX, that includes new paint processes.

Speaking with Autoline in this video interview, Honda's North American Senior VP Jon Minto talked about an innovative zirconium e-coat which it's applying to the new NSX. Unlike some experimental paints developed for Formula One, however, this coating is not designed to minimize drag or enhance cooling: it's designed to be more environmentally friendly.

It's one of a few measures which Honda is implementing on the NSX before expanding it to more accessible models, along with another process that uses fewer coats to reduce energy consumption by 40 percent. Watch the interview with Autoline host John McElroy right here.

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2015 Acura TLX

08/04/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Sedans/Saloons, Acura, Driving, Luxury

2015 Acura TLX

Immediately after landing at Washington's Dulles airport, an Acura representative handed me the keys to a 2014 TSX with fewer than 180 miles on its clock. The four-cylinder engine started and I pointed its signature beak towards a destination in Middleburg, VA. It was a curious move by the Japanese automaker, especially considering that I had flown no less than 2,300 miles to drive the discontinued vehicle's ostensible successor, the all-new 2015 Acura TLX.

Yet spending a solid 40 minutes with a sparkling-new version of the outgoing model that still smelled showroom fresh, allowed me an opportunity to scrutinize the dropped sedan and remind myself why it had never really blown me away - it was good at doing many things, but truly great at doing none.

Time with the TSX also started me thinking about the Acura TL, the second model that the TLX will effectively replace. I have better memories of the slightly larger sedan, especially the SH-AWD 6MT trim - it's a solid driver's car - but it, too, fell short in areas where competitors, including the Audi A4, BMW 3 Series, Cadillac ATS, Lexus IS and Mercedes-Benz C-Class, excelled.

As I pulled up to the hotel a short while later, it became clear that Acura had some work to do. Its task over the next 48 hours would be to persuade me that its clean-sheet TLX was not only a worthy replacement for the TL and TSX, but a competitive player in this fiercely contested segment.

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These are the top luxury cars bought by people entering the segment for the first time

07/26/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Car Buying, Acura, Audi, BMW, Cadillac, Infiniti, Land Rover, Lexus, Mercedes Benz, Volvo, Luxury

Volvo C70

Let's say you just got a big promotion at work or the kids are moving out of the house, and you finally have some extra money. You decide to blow it all at once and treat yourself by upgrading your ride. Naturally, you look to a luxury automaker. What do you choose?

Models like the Audi A3 and Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class may be tailor-made to introduce buyers to the premium segment, but a new study finds that they don't garner the highest rates of non-luxury customer conquests. It turns out that a Volvo leads among folks moving up to a premium brand, and it isn't even one that's made anymore, at that.

A recent study by Polk and IHS Automotive looked at what models had the highest rates of buyers upgrading from a non-luxury segment. The information comes from its new vehicle registration data through April 2014. All ten top models boasted conquest rates of over 50 percent, but the Volvo C70 led the field with 68.01 percent of its customers coming from non-premium brands.

It's an odd winner because the C70 isn't even available as a new model anymore, having been discontinued after the 2013 model year. It isn't the only car no longer offered that's on the list, either. The BMW 128i is in seventh place with 53.93 percent of conquest buyers despite leaving us in MY 2014. It seems likely that some of these vehicles are still on dealer lots, and buyers are getting good incentives to pick them up at lower prices.

According to Polk, the 10 models with the highest conquest rates from non-luxury segments are:

  • Volvo C70 - 68.01 percent
  • Infiniti JX35 (QX60) - 63.89 percent
  • Acura ILX - 59.66 percent
  • Audi A3 - 57.34 percent
  • Cadillac ATS - 56.88 percent
  • Acura RDX - 56.53 percent
  • BMW 128i - 53.93 percent
  • Lexus CT 200h - 53.17 percent
  • Land Rover LR2 - 52.47 percent
  • Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class - 51.83 percent
If you're curious about the other side of the table, the Mercedes S-Class is the least likely vehicle for new luxury buyers to choose at 10.35 percent. Although, that's not exactly a shock - with a starting price of nearly $100,000, it would be quite a leap up from a Camry or Accord.
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What you missed on 7.24.14

07/25/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Sports/GTs, Crossovers/CUVs, Acura, Audi, Luxury

Daily U-Turn

Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG Wagon40+ gas guzzlers that aren't

The Gas Guzzler Tax affects many high-performance vehicles, but there are plenty of cars that straddle the line simply because their fuel economy ratings are slightly above the cut-off. Here, Seyth Miersma explains the tax in detail, and lists over 40 gas-guzzlers that manage to avoid this charge.

Audi SQ5Review: 2014 Audi SQ5

Audi offers a delicious S4 Avant in other markets, for folks who want a fast, luxurious, people-and-cargo-hauler. But as associate editor Brandon Turkus explains, we Americans aren't totally left out in the cold with the absence of this S4 in our market. Audi's own SQ5 might be exactly what these customers are looking for.

Acura NSXAcura NSX burns at the 'Ring

Remember that Acura NSX prototype we saw running 'round the 'Ring the other day? Well, there's been a tragic turn of events. It appears the car we spotted earlier has gone up in flames, coming to a charred end while doing some further Nürburgring testing. Thankfully, nobody was hurt, and we've got a full gallery of the flame-broiled NSX, here.

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2015 Acura NSX burns to the ground at the 'Ring [w/video]

07/24/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Spy Photos, Coupes, Hybrids/Alternative, Sports/GTs, Acura, Honda

2015 Acura NSX fire

Assuming all goes to plan, automakers test their vehicles to the breaking point in the months and years leading up to that vehicle's actual release into the public. Which is good, because it's much better for a car to break in glorious fashion in the hands of the company that produces it than in the driveway of an owner who just spent their hard-earned cash to get it.

Such was the case with this production-guise Acura NSX prototype that we saw running around the Nürburgring just the other day. We can't be 100-percent certain, but the burned-out carcass is wearing the same number plate as the car that was spotted earlier, so it's likely the very same NSX. We have no idea what was the cause of the blaze that turned this Acura into the car-b-q you see pictured above, but our spy shooters on the ground in Germany say it was not involved in any collision, having caught on fire all on its own with engineers behind the wheel.

The good news is that nobody was hurt, though the car is quite clearly a complete loss. We're sure there's another ready to to test in the burned car's place... just as soon as the engineers at Honda figure out exactly what went wrong. Have a look at the smoldering aftermath up above, and feel free to scroll down below to see a video of the car in much better circumstances.

Continue reading 2015 Acura NSX burns to the ground at the 'Ring [w/video]

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The cars that won't live to see 2015 [w/video] [UPDATE]

07/24/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Acura, BMW, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Infiniti, Lamborghini, Lexus, Mazda, Mercedes Benz, Nissan, Scion, Toyota, Volkswagen, Volvo

Acura TL

Every year in the fast-paced automotive industry brings new models, but it also spells the end for some that have been less successful. This year will be no exception.

Japan's automakers make up the bulk of the list of discontinued models for the 2015 model year: Acura is replacing the TL and TSX with the new TLX sedan, Honda is bidding farewell to the Fit EV as the new Fit hatchback takes its place, and Nissan is saying goodbye to both the Cube and Murano CrossCabriolet. Both the Nissan Maxima and Mazda2 exit stage left before their upcoming replacements arrive, while Toyota is terminating the RAV4 EV and FJ Cruiser as well as the Scion xD, and Lexus IS C and IS F that are being effectively replaced by the new RC.

From our own domestic automakers, Cadillac discontinues the CTS-V sedan and wagon as the new CTS rolls in, Chevy is canceling the mild-hybrid Eco versions of the Malibu and Impala sedans, and Chrysler is killing off the 200 convertible as the new 200 sedan arrives.

German automakers are also well represented on the list, with BMW splitting the 1 Series coupe and convertible into the new 2 Series line, Mercedes reintegrates the CL-Class coupe into the S-Class family, and Volkswagen is finally killing off the Chrysler-made Routan. Elsewhere in Europe, the long-serving Gallardo is being replaced by the Huracán in the Lamborghini lineup, while Volvo ends production of the XC90 in advance of the new model's arrival.

It's a long list to wrap your head around, but our compatriots over at The Car Connection have summed it all up in the video below, and we've assembled the slideshow above with photos of each. The question is, which of these models will you miss the most? Share your thoughts in Comments.

UPDATE: An earlier version of this story stated that Infiniti is discontinuing the G37 that was already replaced by the Q50. While that's technically true, as we reported earlier this year, the G37 as we know it will continue to live on, and has been renamed Q40 for the 2015 model year.

Continue reading The cars that won't live to see 2015 [w/video] [UPDATE]

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The cars that won't live to see 2015 [w/video]

07/24/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Acura, BMW, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Infiniti, Lamborghini, Lexus, Mazda, Mercedes Benz, Nissan, Scion, Toyota, Volkswagen, Volvo

Acura TL

Every year in the fast-paced automotive industry brings new models, but it also spells the end for some that have been less successful. This year will be no exception.

Japan's automakers make up the bulk of the list of discontinued models for the 2015 model year: Acura is replacing the TL and TSX with the new TLX sedan, Honda is bidding farewell to the Fit EV as the new Fit hatchback takes its place, and Nissan is saying goodbye to both the Cube and Murano CrossCabriolet. Both the Nissan Maxima and Mazda2 exit stage left before their upcoming replacements arrive, while Toyota is terminating the RAV4 EV and FJ Cruiser as well as the Scion xD, and Lexus IS C and IS F that are being effectively replaced by the new RC. Meanwhile Infiniti is finally discontinuing the G37 that was already replaced by the newer Q50.

From our own domestic automakers, Cadillac discontinues the CTS-V sedan and wagon as the new CTS rolls in, Chevy is canceling the mild-hybrid Eco versions of the Malibu and Impala sedans, and Chrysler is killing off the 200 convertible as the new 200 sedan arrives.

German automakers are also well represented on the list, with BMW splitting the 1 Series coupe and convertible into the new 2 Series line, Mercedes reintegrates the CL-Class coupe into the S-Class family, and Volkswagen is finally killing off the Chrysler-made Routan. Elsewhere in Europe, the long-serving Gallardo is being replaced by the Huracán in the Lamborghini lineup, while Volvo ends production of the XC90 in advance of the new model's arrival.

It's a long list to wrap your head around, but our compatriots over at The Car Connection have summed it all up in the video below, and we've assembled the slideshow above with photos of each. The question is, which of these models will you miss the most? Share your thoughts in Comments.

Continue reading The cars that won't live to see 2015 [w/video]

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Production Acura NSX spied getting sharper on the 'Ring

07/22/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Spy Photos, Coupes, Hybrids/Alternative, Sports/GTs, Acura

Acura hasn't been shy about trotting out the concept version of its upcoming NSX hybrid supercar - we've seen it colorized on Facebook, wearing Super GT drag and running wrapped at Mid Ohio - but until now, we've missed seeing the production version at all. Thankfully, our boys in the field have been diligently camped out by the Nürburgring, just the place for Acura engineers to get the NSX shaken down and ready for the public.

The first thing you'll likely notice (and no doubt appreciate) is that Acura is staying very true to the concept car. The same wind-tunnel-carved wedge shape is in evidence in the car's silhouette, and details like aggressively scalloped engine vents behind the cabin have made it through unscathed.

We do notice that there are some vertical elements at the bottom of the front fascia/grille that appear to be revised, and the mirrors are considerably less slinky than those of the concept car. Still, by and large, we're seeing a direct translation from show stand to real life here.

There haven't been any revelations about the powertrain in recent weeks, so expect the NSX to come fitted with a 400-plus-horsepower V6 engine mounted amidships, along with a series of electric motors for added grunt. Two of the electric powerplants are expected to turn the front wheels, and effect the most impressive-yet version of Acura's Super Handling All Wheel Drive.

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2015 Acura TLX production gets underway in Ohio

07/16/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Sedans/Saloons, Plants/Manufacturing, Acura, Luxury

Acura TLX assembly line

It's been three months since Acura unveiled the supposedly production-ready TLX sedan at the New York Auto Show, but dealers have yet to receive any units to sell. That's because, as we reported back in April, production of the TLX was pushed back. We're glad to report now, however, that production has commenced at the Marysville Auto Plant in Ohio.

The Honda facility in Marysville, just south of Columbus, also produces the Accord sedan and coupe for local consumption and export. With over 30 years since its founding, the factory has previously handled production of the Acura TL and RDX as well as the company's Gold Wing motorcycles.

The Marysville Auto Plant is one of many facilities which Honda operates in Ohio. Among the others, you'll also find the East Liberty assembly plant that handles the Acura RDX as well as the Honda Crosstour and CR-V, an engine plant in Anna, a transmission factory in Russells Point, several R&D centers, component manufacturers and a new Performance Manufacturing Center being built to handle the coming NSX sports car in Marysville.

The TLX is a new model that replaces both the previous TSX and TL sedans, slotting in above the smaller ILX and below the flagship RLX in Acura's updated four-door sedan lineup. It's being offered with either a 2.4-liter four driving 206 horsepower to the front wheels or a 3.5-liter V6 with 290 hp and all-wheel drive. The addition of the TLX production line now means that over 90 percent of Acuras sold in America are built in America.

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Acura claims MDX is best-selling luxury 3-row ever

07/11/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Car Buying, SUVs, Etc., Acura, Luxury

2014 Acura MDX

Acura MDX InfographicBusiness for Acura has been in a weird place, recently, and the company's latest car launches have been especially rocky. For example, the ILX Hybrid was recently discontinued after just two model years with only about 2,660 sold in that time. The company also delayed the launch of its new TLX by a few months until later this summer. However, despite its issues with sedans, the automaker's utility-vehicle business in absolutely booming. In fact, it now claims that the MDX is the best-selling three-row, luxury SUV, ever.

The MDX is already leading its class this year with 30,664 units sold through June 2014, up 68.4 percent compared 2013. Also, in five of the last six months of reported sales, Acura has posted gains. It appears that the company's utility lineup is really pushing it along.

To take the bestseller ever crown, Acura claims that through its three generations, the MDX has sold a cumulative 692,710 units. The premium model has also been at the top of the annual sales rankings for three-row luxury crossovers every year since 2002. The company believes that its nearest competitor is the Lincoln Navigator with an estimated 420,000 lifetime sales, and even arguably more comparable vehicles like the BMW X5 and Mercedes-Benz M-Class only have 350,000 or fewer sales under their belts. Of course, it probably doesn't hurt that the MDX has one of the lower starting prices in its class.

The first-gen MDX was introduced in 2000 and grabbed accolades almost immediately, including the prestigious North American Truck of the Year. Acura added the third-gen model last summer, and we found it to be a good value in our review but not very engaging to drive. Buyers don't appear to care, though, because the MDX is a certified success. Scroll down to read the company's press release about its sales crown.

Continue reading Acura claims MDX is best-selling luxury 3-row ever

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