Acura continues to talk about being a tier-one luxury automaker, but while Honda's luxury arm keeps to talking the talk we're not seeing a lot of walking. Recently the folks at Car & Driver had a chat with a few Acura execs during the launch of the new ZDX model – a seemingly niche-market vehicle that Acura somehow believes helps elevate them to (or nearer to) tier-one status.
Those Acura suits seemed to understand that with the recent introduction of the all-wheel drive TL model, the flagship RL (already a poor seller) was now completely obsolete. In fact, the TL SH-AWD, not only costs less ($44,195 vs $47,640 for the RL), but it actually makes more horsepower (305 vs 300). And considering the size difference between the two models isn't all that significant either, there's really no conceivable reason to buy an RL.
Acura has promised that the next RL (which we still don't expect to see until 2011), will reassert its position as the flagship vehicle in the brand. Unfortunately, what that won't mean is a V8 engine – unlike absolutely every one of Acura's competitors. Acura continues to believe that the V8 is not the right direction as people continue to shift towards smaller fuel efficient engines. The company has, however, been touting this corporate philosophy since the launch of the current RL, which has been a dismal failure. We'll cross our fingers that Acura decides to go the forged induction route, offering a turbocharged V6 to at least deliver the power of a V8.
More: Report: Next Acura RL to Reassert Its Flagship Position