There isn’t a heck of a lot known about the Acura Integra, a sport compact with a five-door design, which will be launched next year.
One of the things that is known is that unlike the other vehicles in the Acura lineup—the ILX, TLX, RDX, and MDX—the Integra has a name. Yes, it is a made-up name, but not sequence of three letters.
The name goes back to the model introduced in 1986 and had a run until it was renamed. . .RSX in 2001.
Remember: Alphanumeric designation, with or without one or the other, was long thought to denote luxury, and Acura has been working for decades now trying to make people understand it is a luxury brand.
(Arguably, of the Japan-based company brands, only Lexus has achieved that with Infiniti and Acura trying to make their way to that category.)
The current tagline of Acura is “Precision Crafted Performance.”
The last word in that—performance—has a lot to do, no doubt, with the fact that the Integra will be offered with a six-speed manual.
Let’s face it: people who bought sport sedans in 1986 liked to slam though the gears.
But today. . .?
Yes, there is performance cred still associated with manuals. At least for some people.
A 2022 Acura NSX Type S, driven by Ricky Taylor of Wayne Taylor Racing, who happens to drive an Acura in IMSA racing, set a record for a production car on the street course in Long Beach, California, which happens to be the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach circuit.
He lapped the two-mile course in 1:32:784, besting the 2019 record time set by Peter Cunningham of 1:35:663. Cunningham also drove an Acura.
The car that Taylor drove—realize that this is a car that you can get at your local Acura dealer—produces 600 hp and 492 lb-ft of torque.
And it is a hybrid. (Makes you rethink the econo-characteristics of hybrid powertrains, eh?)
It is worth noting that they’re going to produce a total of 350 Type S models this, the NSX’s final year, of which 300 will be available in the U.S.
So maybe you should head on down to your dealer at Ricky Taylor speed.
One more thing about the record-setting car: the color it is painted is Long Beach Blue Pearl.
A really wonderful supercar will come to an end. The reason? Probably because not many people are buying the car.
By Gary S. Vasilash
Yesterday the auto companies that announce sales figures on a monthly basis made their announcements.
American Honda was modestly happy, noting that for the month of July it delivered more than 135,000 vehicles, which includes 51,815 cars and 83,727 trucks for both the Acura and Honda brands.
One vehicle among the 135,542 units had sales of seven units. Seven.
From January to July there have been 67 sold in the U.S.
Yesterday American Honda also announced that the NSX—the vehicle that isn’t selling well by almost any metric—will end with model year 2022.
The second generation NSX, which was launched in 2016, will have a limited run during its final year of production at the Performance Manufacturing Center in Ohio.
There will be 350 NSX Type S vehicles built. Period. Three hundred will be available in the U.S.
Given the sales of the NSX so far, the folks at Acura are evidently optimistic that there will be more than a few collectors looking to get their hands on the final edition.
Jon Ikeda, vice president and Acura Brand Officer, stoically said, “Acura is a performance brand, a company of enthusiasts, and we will continue moving forward, actively investigating what the next generation of sports cars should be in an electrified era.”
How the flagship of the brand was made even better
The Acura MDX is certainly an important name plate in the company’s lineup. For one thing, the vehicle, which goes back to the turn of this century, has had cumulative sales of more than 1-million units. And there have been sales in excess of 50,000 for 14 of the last 21 years. And, according to Acura, it is the “best-selling three-row luxury SUV of all time.”
The first generation was from 2001 to 2006; second from 2007 to 2013; third from 2014 to 2020; and the all-new fourth generation, model year 2022, has just been launched.
Tom Nguyen, chief engineer and 2022 MDX Global Development Leader, Honda R&D Americas, said that when he was given the assignment to develop the new MDX, his mandate was easy to understand but not necessarily easy to execute: “Don’t screw it up.”
(Who hasn’t heard something like that from their boss at some point in time?)
So Nguyen and his team went at not merely improving what came before, but creating a vehicle that they hope will not only resonate with MDX loyalists, but bring in new buyers.
One of the advantages that Nguyen says he and his colleagues had during the development was that there was a concerted effort at Acura to create vehicles that are athletic and dynamic. This is evident in the RDX and the TLX.
The ‘22 MDX is based on an all-new platform, said to result in the most rigid SUV the company has had. The torsional rigidity of this MDX is 32% greater than that of its predecessor.
Why does this matter? It contributes to safety—a paramount consideration—but also to the ride and handling of the vehicle. And speaking of which, they developed both a double-wishbone front suspension and a multi-link rear suspension for the vehicle.
Nguyen talks about the development of the MDX on this edition of “Autoline After Hours” with “Autoline’s” John McElroy, freelance automotive journalist Nicole Wakelin, and me.
An interesting aspect of the new MDX is that while they were driving for sportiness, they also made the vehicle bigger than its predecessor—2.2 inches longer, 1 inch wider and with a 2.8-inch increase in wheelbase. While you’d think that bigger would mean something that is more wallowing, Nguyen says that through structural design as well as the use of things like structural adhesives—35 meters of adhesives—the vehicle keeps its wheels planted and the vehicle capable of moving where and as it should (with a belt-driven electric power steering system and available Super Handling All-Wheel Drive contributing to that).