Senior Vice President, Automobile Operations, American Honda
This is a great day for luxury automobiles at the Detroit auto show … and with this Acura press conference following Lexus, Infiniti and Cadillac this morning ... it makes us the clean-up hitter for luxury brands today.
I think that's quite appropriate ... because this morning we're going to talk about an all-new Acura prototype vehicle ... with truly exhilarating athletic performance.
But you'll have to excuse me if I'm feeling a bit of déjà vu today.
It was a year ago right here in Detroit, that we debuted another Acura prototype model.
And the production version of that vehicle … the 2014 Acura MDX … has delivered on everything we promised.
Month after month of record sales … a finalist for North American Truck of the Year.
And … unique among luxury SUVs … a Top Safety Pick-PLUS rating from IIHS.
No luxury brand has earned more TSP+ awards than Acura.
This commitment to advanced technology and innovative design has made the Acura MDX and RDX … bar none … the strongest one-two punch in the luxury SUV segment.
Today … we're taking the next major step in our plan to strengthen the Acura brand … by giving the Acura sedan lineup a shot of adrenaline … with an all-new modern-luxury sports machine … that's going to deliver the perfect blend of 5-passenger luxury comfort … advanced technology and incredible performance.
Developed under the concept of "Red Carpet Athlete" … the all-new 2015 Acura TLX Prototype heralds more than a new name for Acura's mid-size performance sedan.
It delivers the critical values desired by the modern luxury buyer … Elegant design … a quiet luxury cabin with intuitive technology … all with the red carpet looks and incredible performance of an elite athlete.
Now … when the production version of this TLX Prototype comes to market in the middle of this year … we accomplish something else for the Acura brand … a very clear hierarchy of luxury performance sedans … stretching from the ILX at the gateway … to our flagship model, now topped off by the RLX Sport Hybrid.
Today, we're thrilled to lift the curtain on a vehicle that will serve as the backbone of this Acura performance sedan lineup.
In the car category, performance is often interpreted as mindless, pedal-to-the-metal testosterone.
In reality, outstanding performance becomes possible when the world slows around you … when your senses are heightened … and technology enables you to experience the physical sensation of being in total control of exhilarating performance.
Introducing a vehicle that will provide an adrenaline rush like no other … Ladies and gentlemen, the instinctively responsive … 2015 Acura TLX Prototype.
(TLX Prototype reveal)
Delivering new levels of refined comfort ... technological innovation and incredible dynamic performance … the Acura TLX Prototype!
True to its "Red Carpet Athlete" character … the styling concept for this beautiful, racy TLX Prototype matches the performance makeup of the production model … that is to say, incredibly nimble … dynamic … and firmly planted.
Building from a solid, wheels-out performance-handling stance … the TLX Prototype has a taut, aero-tuned form … marked by precise lines that flow from a shortened rear overhang … and around the vehicle … where they culminate in the signature Acura Jewel Eye LED headlights.
Yet, even with this very low and wide profile, we leveraged our packaging expertise targeting the largest interior volume of any car in the segment … with great site lines … ample cargo capacity … and comfortable seating for five adults.
While we aren't showing the interior today … I can tell you that the experience we set out to achieve is "vault-like."
Our U.S. design and development team in Los Angeles and Ohio not only targeted reductions in wind and road noise … but attacked the area of body rigidity … chassis isolation … and body sealing … to take a major leap forward in low … mid … and high frequency noise reduction.
In just the first 50 feet down the road in a TLX … you'll experience a nimble and solid ride, with a sense of controlled isolation … a hushed cabin that provides extraordinary comfort for everyday driving.
As you would expect from an Acura … we're also offering innovative technologies that break down barriers between the driver and the car … for a more intuitive and personal luxury experience.
On top of the all-new powertrain technologies, this includes advanced connectivity via a capacitive touch panel … and the next gen AcuraLink telematics system … an available Electronic Gear Selector with easy-to-use features … and much more.
Of course, TLX will feature an advanced suite of Acura safety and driver assistive technologies that we expect … just like MDX and RLX … will earn the industry's highest safety ratings.
Acura is known for pioneering intelligent technology in the luxury set … but we've never put so much serious technology on one car before.
And in TLX … the purpose of this wonderfully quiet vehicle … and its advanced safety systems … is to free the driver to enjoy the rush of incredible performance.
And at the heart of this experience is a great powertrain.
Well … in the case of the new TLX … it means two of them.
At one end of the lineup is a direct-injected 2.4-liter VTEC engine … mated to an all-new, Acura-designed and developed 8-speed dual clutch transmission with a torque converter.
This new transmission takes full advantage of every ounce of the new engine's highly elastic power band … delivering incredibly smooth and quick gear changes …and putting the power down in an incredibly responsive and intuitive way.
Handling performance will be aided by the next generation of Acura's Precision All-Wheel Steer technology … which I have to tell you … is just an incredible match for the power-to-weight ratio offered by the 2.4 TLX.
At the other end of the new TLX lineup is Acura's celebrated
3.5-liter direct injected V-6 …mated to a new 9-speed automatic transmission.
Here again, we're talking incredibly elastic and refined power delivery … with a wider overall ratio range to optimize both performance and fuel economy.
The V6 TLX will be available in both two-wheel drive with P-AWS and with a new generation of Acura's highly-regarded Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive system.
This new system is 25% lighter and features new torque vectoring control that will offer even better turning performance and reduced drag.
TLX will offer an unbelievable dynamic experience … quick and nimble at low and mid-speed ranges … and very linear and stable at high-speeds.
And while we'll get into the numbers at a future date … with the new suite of Acura powertrains, significant weight reduction and great aerodynamic design … TLX is targeting top-class EPA fuel economy ratings for both the 2.4 and 3.5 models.
As I said … it's a perfect blend.
As every enthusiast knows, a great sports sedan is not just about power and brute force.
Done the Acura Way, it's about how all the pieces of the machine work together to deliver a deeper, more personal connection between the car and the driver.
This Red Carpet Athlete is going to be right at home challenging the world's most dynamic roads … while providing the comfort required to meet your daily driving needs.
But the bottom line is the TLX lineup will include three sports sedans … with three distinct sets of characteristics … that all share one incredibly important thing in common.
Each model will offer an instinctively responsive driving experience … and an adrenaline rush like no other.
That is TLX.
But it's not quite the end of our story today.
You see, we're serious about the performance potential of this new TLX platform and powertrain.
And lest you wonder whether this Red Carpet Athlete really has the chops to take on the world's best luxury sports sedans … let me share something we've been working on … that we think is pretty cool.
That's right, ladies and gentlemen … you're listening to the sound of Acura Motorsports.
And it's my pleasure to introduce the 2015 Acura TLX GT race car!
(TLX racer reveal)
The Racing Spirit is an undeniable part of our company culture. It's wound tight in our DNA.
Racing is a training ground for our engineers … and provides track-tested technology that we feed back into the products our customers drive.
But don't kid yourself …we race to win.
Our founder Soichiro Honda said it simply … and best.
"Second place is just the first loser."
So, today our message is clear.
We're going racing with this 2015 Acura TLX GT race car ... and we're going to win!
And this spanking new GT car is organically Acura … powered by a twin turbo version of the direct injection engine that will be in the production TLX sedan … with the racing powerplant developed by the Acura Motorsports Group at HPD.
As some of you know, Acura has a long and successful relationship with Real Time Racing … and team owner/driver Peter Cunningham, who is here with us today.
Real Time is moving up from GT-S to the GT class in the Pirelli World Challenge series.
In fact, they'll have this Acura TLX GT car on the track in just a few weeks … well before the new 2015 Acura TLX comes to market around the middle of the year.
I don't think Peter is going to need red carpet comfort or the intuitive advanced technology that we're baking into this all-new TLX for our customers.
But he damn sure will make use of its track-worthy athletic performance.
On the street and on the track ... this all-new TLX really is going to be one "Xtraordinary" new vehicle.
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