Saturday
Jan122008

2009 TSX Color and Trim Information

Edited 1/18/2008: We received our first allocation for 2009. This will be for March production with April delivery. We're ordering 18 cars for our first batch. While this might sound like a lot of cars, remember that with 8 exterior colors, 3 interior colors, two trim levers and two transmissions. There are about 64 possible combinations! I am relieved that there is going to be a 6-speed manual transmission. Frankly, I've had a few moments of doubt that we would continue to offer a stick!

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Jan052008

Waiting for the 2009 Acura TSX

The 2009 Acura TSX will be an all new design and is certain to create a big stir when it arrives.  Our first look at the new TSX will be in early April at the annual dealer meeting for Acura dealer principals.  The car will appear in our showrooms shortly thereafter.

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Sep262007

Acura Customer Appreciation Night  

On September 25th, 2007 Pflueger Acura held a Customer Appreciation evening. It turned out to be a beautiful night, and I had a great time visiting with some of my past (and future) customers.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Jun112007

Acura Places First in Class at Sebring

Monday, June 11. 2007
Acura Places First in Class at Sebring
In late 2006, Acura announced plans to contest the American Le Mans (ALMS) series starting with the 2007 season. Three established race teams signed on: Fernandez Racing will use an Acura powered Lola chassis, and Highcroft Racing and Andretti-Green Racing will use an Acura modified Courage LC75 chassis’ with Acura power.

Nobody expected immediate results, especially against the established Penske Porsche Spyders. However, in their first race, Acura finished 1st in Class and second overall in the grueling 12 Hours of Sebring. It was a stunning upset victory for the Andretti-Green Team with drivers Dario Franchitti, Tony Kannan and Bryan Herta sharing the driving chores.


Monday
Dec042006

First Driving Impressions of the 2007 Acura TL and TL Type-S

Monday, December 4. 2006
First Driving Impressions of the 2007 Acura TL and TL Type-S
 
Grab the wheel and hold on tight! Twist the new integrated key and remote. Blip the throttle. Cue the cool driving soundtrack. Feel the clutch start to engage. Stall the engine. Thus begins my first drive in the new TL Type-S 6-speed. To be fair, the new clutch and the increased torque of the 3.5 liter engine made this the only occurrence of this during my test drive.
This review has three parts, the 2007 TL, TL Type-S, and the TL Type-S with 6-speed manual transmission. Let's start with the standard TL.

When the new 3rd generation TL was introduced in the fall of 2003, it went to battle with the ES300s, G35s and 328s of the world. It was fully equipped and did a stellar job of meeting our customers demands for both luxury and performance. In 2007, just three short years, the automotive climate has changed. Lexus has the IS twins that (although very small) have upped the sport factor. This allowed the new ES to move more towards the luxury side of the spectrum. Infiniti has a new G35 and BMW has a new 3 series.
 
Acura developed improvements designed to keep the TL competitive in the face of this competition. Part of this two pronged approach was the introduction of the freshened TL. The double wishbone suspension continues and the car now has shocks that are about 8% softer for a more compliant ride. To compensate for this, the anti-roll bars have been beefed up and since they only affect the car when cornering, the net effect is a better ride with little loss in roll stiffness. Nice. The engine continues to be the 258 hp VTEC V-6 and the fuel economy rating remains unchanged at 20/29 city/hwy.

There are some cosmetic changes including a new grill with fog lights moved into the lower part of the bumper, and new daytime running lights. New split spoke 17" alloy wheels and LED turn signals integrated into the side view mirrors, help distinguish this car from previous TLs.
 
Inside there is a revised instrument panel with a higher resolution Multi Function Display and a new Air Conditioning display. The 6-disc ELS DVD-Audio system is updated to play discs encoded with WMA and MP3 music files, and features Dolby(R) Pro Logic(R) II and speed-sensitive volume compensation. A black (simulated) wood finish replaces the carbon fiber look from the 2004-06 cars.
 
Up next is the TL Type-S with a 6 speed manual transmission. The 3.5 liter VTEC V-6 (borrowed from the top of the line RL sedan) uses some of Acura’s most advanced engine technology all derived from our racing programs. The forged, balanced crankshaft and forged connecting rods insure the engine internals will be both strong and lightweight.
 
Oil jets are positioned under the pistons to help cool them and allow for an 11:1 compression ratio. There is a dual stage intake plenum that “splits” the V-6 into two banks of three cylinders for a resonance effect that enhances cylinder filling and improves torque. At higher RPMs, this butterfly valve opens to allow the engine to breath from one large intake plenum for maximum top end horsepower.
 
The close ratio 6-speed manual is similar to the one used from 2004-2006 but it has received a new bell housing to mate to the new 3.5 liter engine. While they were at it, the engineers specified high-strength steel gears with hollow input shafts. Brass multi-cone synchronizers are used on first through fourth gears to improve shift feel.
 
The new self adjusting clutch is designed to compensate for wear on the clutch disc by taking up the slack as the pressure plate is used up. The improved clutch mechanism incorporates a “clutch feel” compensation spring, which results in a more linear engagement throughout the pedal travel. As in the earlier 6-speed TLs, there are beautiful (and effective) Brembo front brakes and the manual transmission TL-S’ sport a helical limited slip differential to better manage power to the wheels.

The TL Type-S with an automatic transmission uses a modified version of the RL transmission. This has been enhanced to handle the power and anticipated “sportier” driver the Type-S will certainly attract. As a nice touch, automatic drivers will get the same Brembo brakes as the “shift it yourself” crowd! Automatic Type-S’ won’t have the limited slip differential but as you’ll read, this may not be that much of a problem.

The automatic TL-S has the same SportShift gear lever as we’ve used for the last few years. This has two gates that allow you to select regular “D” for drive or move to manual mode and control the gears yourself. As a nice bonus feature, there are now paddle shifters mounted on the steering wheel. The right paddle is for upshifts, and the left for downshifts.

Driving impressions TL:
 The revisions to the 2007 TL have made quite an improvement in ride quality. There is more compliance over broken pavement, and a smoother ride. Is this Camry/Buick/ES350 smooth? Get serious. It’s still an Acura! Turn in is sharp and precise and the larger anti-roll bars keep unwanted body motions at bay. I particularly love the new 3 spoke steering wheel (shared by all ‘07’s). This allows for perfect hand placement and I like the way the leather wrapped wheel feels in your hand.

As soon as I pulled out of the driveway I could feel the difference. Is it a good difference? I guess that depends on your point of view. As a “sports car guy” I’m not generally looking for cars with a softer ride, however, as a sales consultant I realize that not everyone is looking to be “punished” by every pebble in the road! Let’s just say that if you view driving as a means to an end, but want something with more style and exclusivity than your “run of the mill” Camry, you’ll love the ’07 TL.

Driving Impressions TL Type-S Manual:
 While the standard TL is now only available with the new 5-speed automatic transmission, the TL Type-S is offered with an available close-ratio 6-speed manual transmission with a limited slip differential. As someone who has NEVER owned an automatic, it seems natural that I’d be all over this car. However, I must temper my enthusiasm because although the new clutch mechanism is significantly better than the 04-06 TLs, they still seem to engage a bit abruptly for my tastes. I’m confident that if it were my daily driver, I would adapt but jumping from S2000 to TL might require a bit of extra adjustment.
 

Once you’re under way you’ll find that the 6 speed really allows you to keep the engine EXACTLY where you want it for maximum control. The limited slip differential makes its presence known when you’re coming off a first (or second) gear corner. There is a gentle tug on the wheel as the differential allocates torque across the front axle. The engine control electronics detect the onset of traction loss and begin to dial back the power to insure you don’t have more than the wheels can deliver to the pavement.
 
I turned off the Stability Control and hit my favorite section of twisty road that features a tight 1st gear corner followed by a series of gentle switchbacks. I’ve driven this road thousands of times in every car we sell over the last 11 years but this was the first time I can recall nearly running out of road. Make that OFF the road. Seriously, I kept it on the black stuff, but it was quite a shock how quickly the power came on and launched me up the hill. This is a seriously quick sedan. The revs build furiously, and before you know it you’re out of revs in first gear and need a quick shift to second. All this is accompanied with the sweetest exhaust note from an Acura since the NSX.

Driving Impressions TL Type-S Automatic:
I will admit to some ambivalence to this car. To me, it seems like a bit of a contradiction. A performance car with a “slush box” couldn’t be a good combination, right? Wrong! The reality is that there is such an abundance of power, that automatic really doesn’t sacrifice much. The new transmission snaps off quick, smooth shifts, and in sport mode it’s even faster!

The new shift logic is improved from the SportShift in the regular TL. The addition of shift paddles behind the steering wheel are a welcome improvement. You can still change gears from the shift lever on the console, but you still have the counter intuitive (to me at least) “upshift by pushing forward problem.” In all race cars with a sequential shifter, you pull backwards to shift up a gear and push forward to down change. Why Acura decided to set it up this way is beyond me but at least you can ignore this with the paddle shift levers on the steering wheel.

On the road, the faster shift speeds enhance the sporty feel of the TL-S. The transmission even “blips” the throttle when you call for a lower gear. It makes you feel like Aryton Senna (almost). Naturally, if you’re in a tight turn and the steering wheel is upside down, the paddles are on the “wrong” side but you can still call for a gear change from the shift lever. Happily, the TL no longer automatically upshifts from 1st to 2nd for you. It will allow a little bumping on the redline before it makes the change to protect the engine. It also allows you to force a shift into first gear on a roll. In the earlier cars you nearly had to come to a complete stop to get first gear. Very nice.

Summary:
2007 TL. So how do I feel about the changes for 2007? It has a better ride, no loss in handling, and some nice detail changes. Exactly what Acura does best; offer well engineered vehicles that are fully equipped and competitively priced. For the standard TL it’s
Two Thumbs Up.

2007 TL Type-S Manual This is a mixed bag. I applaud the move to the 3.5 liter engine. I love the changes to the manual transmission to improve the clutch feel and the subtle styling changes don’t hurt either. However, I’m cool to the tugging that the limited slip brings to the party. The effect feels like torque steer, and indeed there may be a bit of this creeping into the handling equation.
One Thumb Up

2007 TL Type-S Automatic Updated in May, 2007 all Hawaii navigation systems are fully functional and the backup camera is a handy feature.  The TL-S Automatic was (strangely) my favorite. The paddle shifters allow you to keep both hands on the wheel which is important if you’ve got uneven pavement. It benefits from all the styling and suspension improvements and makes the most of the engines torque.
Two Thumbs Up

Tuesday
Oct172006

First Driving Impressions of the 2007 MDX

We received our first three MDXs last week and they've been going through the service department but they're finally ready to drive and sell. I'd like to tell you my initial impressions of our new SUV, and give you firsthand, my thoughts from behind the wheel. I've got some new pictures up as well so please read on!

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Aug312006

The 2007 Acura MDX - The Track Tuned SUV

It does not matter if you're a fan (or not) of the new front facia on the MDX, you will be impressed with the dramatic changes Acura has in store for you. There is more power, more space, more technology and improved safety for everyone.

One look at the aggressive new sheetmetal will tell you that this new car is not trying to please everyone, but rather elicit an emotional response much like the 2004 TL did when it was unveiled in late 2003. I predict that some will never "get it" but those that do will love it!

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Jul182006

Acura RDX Ride and Drive

The quick video below is from the RDX Ride and Drive I just attended in San Francisco. I'm literally writing this on a few hours of sleep and will add to this with my thoughts and comments later. It's kinda funny, I can edit a "rough cut" video faster than I can write a full review! My running commentary while I was driving were my honest first impressions from behind the wheel and it wasn't exactly a "Sunday Drive". It may sound like I'm criticizing the car, but in reality, I wasn't driving a CAR.... I was driving a 4000 lbs. SUV! It was remarkably easy to forget this, and perhaps my comments were unfairly comparing it to my S2000......?



Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Jun072006

RDX Update: On Sale in August

There is some RDX information available that is both exciting and a bit disappointing. Let's get the bad new out of the way first and get to the tidbits later. The new official 'on sale date' will be August 10th not July 27th as planned.

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Apr292006

No RSX for 2007!

I'm quite shocked and surprised, but it was announced on April 24th that 2006 will be the last year for the RSX. I realize I've been predicting the car will continue till a replacement is ready, but it looks like I was guessing incorrectly!?

Update #2:
August 23, 2006: well it looks like the last update was off by a month. We did get one more order of RSXs and these have just arrived. This means our inventory is complete, there will not be any more cars arriving. As of today, we have 15 RSX Type-S' available. There are mulitple Black, Silver and White cars, but only one each of Red, Blue, Jade and Magnesium.

Update:
We now know that our next order due May 19th will be our last order of RSXs. Type-S models are production constrained at around 40% of our total order. This means that if we qualify for 20 RSXs total, Type-S models will be 8-9 cars for all colors. The cars ordered in this allocation will arrive in July.

In a message from Dick Colliver, he stated: "we have decided to eliminate the RSX from the 2007 line-up, thus streamlining our product offering.....We have also dedicated additional Research and Development resources to create future models ...."

I believe this marks the first time in Acura's history that we will enter a model year with NO 2-door coupes to sell! Amazing! This means if you're interested in getting one of these 2-time Car & Driver "10 Best" winners, new inventory will probably stop coming in around September. The last month to order one (if you want a color we don't have) will probably be July with these cars arriving 60-90 days later.

I don't think I need to tell you this, but don't wait till the last minute! It's logical that as we near the end of the line, the last cars on the lot will be the ones with the most miles and possible lot damage (sucks, I know, but it happens). Come in early and CHOOSE your car while we still have color choices.

I hate to end on a sad note, so let me share my thoughts on the possible RSX replacement. We already know that the next two cars to arrive will be the RDX and MDX. This means the earliest we'll see a new coupe is for 2008. Rumors are that the next car will be based on the larger chassis that will create the next TSX. This means that we'll see double wishbones up front, and hopefully the balanced handling we see in the TSX. This also means the car will be larger and more luxurious than the current model. Will it still be called the RSX? Only time will tell.

Page 1 ... 3 4 5 6 7 ... 10 Next 10 Entries »