Acura HistorySource: AcuraSince 1986, Acura has consistently raised the performance standards for luxury cars, from performance coupes and sedans to the MDX sport-utility vehicle and NSX exotic sports car. The performance luxury division of the American Honda Motor Company, Acura is renowned for its groundbreaking technologies, superior engineering and aggressive styling. And above all, the Acura brand is celebrated for its unsurpassed quality. Every vehicle is built upon the premise that integrity breeds excellence. And this ethos extends beyond its workings in the automobile industry. From its sponsorship of sporting events to its participation in community affairs, Acura is committed to fostering many modes of performance.
After a decade of research and development, Acura launched its first model, the Legend. Acura was the first Japanese luxury brand to appear in the U.S. market, and since its arrival it has offered the luxury car world a consistently appealing combination of precision, performance and comfort.
The Legend sedan, the first Acura, appeared in 1986. Since then, the Acura lineup has grown to serve a wide range of drivers who share a common interest in luxury and performance. A large part of the success of the Legend can be attributed to the fact that it set a new standard for luxury based on qualities that were rare in luxury cars of the day, such as precise handling, responsive powertrains and excellent road manners. In this respect, Acura has had a significant effect on the way people think about luxury cars. Shortly thereafter, the Acura Legend sedan was joined by the Acura Legend coupe and the Acura Integra sport coupes and sedans. The Integra featured attractive contours, high performance potential and outstanding engineering credentials at a competitive price. Its extensive technological innovations, crisp handling and everyday practicality made it the favorite of a generation of enthusiast drivers.
In late 1990, the exotic Acura NSX sport coupe arrived to great fanfare, bringing a host of new technologies to the automotive world. Motor Trend called it the 'best sports car ever built.' The aluminum bodied, mid-engine supercar redefined the exotic sports car. Here was a two-seater with the performance potential of traditional European exotics but could also be driven every day in complete comfort and with utter reliability.
In 1991, the Acura Legend coupe won Motor Trend's prestigious Import Car of the Year trophy. The same year, the Integra took the laurels as one of Car & Driver's Ten Best, and the Acura Vigor sport sedan was introduced, bridging the gap between the sporty Integra and the luxurious Legend.
The groundbreaking Acura MDX sport-utility vehicle made its debut in 2000. Conceived and developed at a Honda R&D facility in Ohio, the Acura MDX is built in North America. The 265-hp V-6 engine and a custom-developed 4-wheel drive system make the MDX uniquely qualified to travel both the freeways and the back roads with equal confidence. Shortly after its introduction, the MDX won the prestigious Motor Trend '2001 Sport/Utility of the Year' award.
In 2001, the streamlined Acura RSX sports coupe was introduced. It was the first Acura to employ the i-VTEC™ system, which delivers flexibility, efficiency and LEV-II (Low Emission Vehicle) rated emissions. The 160-hp RSX shared its debut with the even sportier RSX Type-S, which employs a more sophisticated i-VTEC system to help wrest 200 peak horsepower from the 2.0-liter LEV-II engine. The RSX Type-S arrived on the market with an exclusive short-throw 6-speed manual transmission.
Performance enthusiasts across the country were forced to reprioritize their fantasies with the April 2003 introduction of the 2004 Acura TSX sports sedan. The 200-hp TSX, available with Sequential SportShift™ 5-speed automatic or close-ratio 6-speed manual transmission, was quickly recognized as a 4-door antidote to the compromises of settling down.
In October of 2003, an even higher form of performance arrived with the debut of the all-new 2004 TL. From its class-leading 270-horsepower, 3.2-liter engine to the bold, sleek lines of its redesigned exterior, the new TL redefines modern luxury. Inside, plush leather seats and an impressive list of technologies fill the instrument panel, including HandsFreeLink™ with Bluetooth® wireless technology and the Acura/ELS® Premium 8-speaker Surround Sound System with DVD-Audio and DTS CD 6-disc Changer.
Now, the all-new 2005 RL is making history by redefining the luxury performance sedan. With a 300-horsepower, V-6, VTEC engine, it boasts the most powerful Acura engine to date. Its revolutionary Super Handling All-Wheel Drive™ (SH-AWD™) system is the world's most advanced all-wheel-drive platform, which makes maneuvering and cornering more stable and precise. And the all-new RL is North America's first and only automobile to feature a telematics system with real-time traffic that displays traffic updates 24 hours a day in select metropolitan areas.
Acura In America
Acura's penchant for building high performance, innovative and meticulously crafted vehicles began just under 20 years ago, in 1986. With nearly a decade of research and development to pull from, Acura introduced the Legend to the US. It was the first Japanese luxury car on the market, and its debut combined the best of the best-the handling virtues, performance and comfort features that grace upscale European and America luxury marques, and the reliability, quality and user-friendly design drivers expect from Japanese automobiles.
Innovation reached a historic peak when the NSX debuted in 1990. With it came Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control (VTEC™), the use of a hand-assembled all-aluminum body, a drive-by-wire throttle, and a 4-channel Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS).
Later that same year, the Acura Integra debuted. It was modestly priced, yet filled with technological innovations that would come to distinguish the Acura brand as an innovator. Its racecar style performance would also set the pace among enthusiasts, with its good-looks, crisp-handling yet reliable sports performance.
Excellence has enjoyed several incarnations since then. The RL was introduced in 1996 in honor of Acura's 10th anniversary. Hailed as their flagship, the RL was well received as a technologically advanced touring sedan.
From its debut in 2001, the MDX introduced the notion an SUV could have the road feel of a performance luxury car. And it worked. A couple years later, the TSX was born, and it immediately caught the eye of those wanting the space and safety of a sedan, but the power and performance of a sports car. The TSX gave them both.
2003 brought the redesign of the popular TL. Its new incarnation struck a chord with the tech-savvy consumer, featuring innovations like Bluetooth and DVD-Audio. And in 2004, the all-new 2005 RL made its much-anticipated arrival with the most powerful Acura engine to date, the revolutionary Super Handling All-Wheel Drive™ (SH-AWD™)-the world's most advanced all-wheel-drive system, and North America's first real-time traffic feature. The RL's myriad of technological innovations are, indeed, proof that the luxury performance sedan was truly reinvented.