Behold, the 2009 Acura RL, the most expensive minor model change (MMC) Honda luxury division, Acura ever done to a single vehicle. New for this MMC is… Well, it’s just too many actually, but let’s take a look one by one as we peel the outer shell of the new Acura RL into its inner core.
From the outside, Acura brings about massive changes to the front and rear end styling of the car. Beginning from the front, the headlamp, the grill, and the bumper has been totally revised. New for the MMC RL is a streamlined design of hood, grill and bumper. As you can see, there’s a crease running from the base of the engine hood (the nearest point to the front window) straight down to the lower line of the bumper, before, this crease stops at the lower bumper area where it met with a large air duct. For 2009 model, the air duct is replaced with a uniformed bulge and crease from the hood, streamlining the whole front fascia. The headlight also changed, from the usual tear drop shape to now… Well, I should say that the designer pay a homage to BMW 5 series headlight.
The rear end also got a massive treatment, for this MMC, Acura designers only left one thing, it still retains dual exhaust, and that’s it, everything else is changed. The original 3rd generation Acura RL has a large rearlights housing the turning signal, brake lights and the reverse lights. For the MMC Acura RL, the reverse lights are now separated and is put on the chrome panel on top of the name plate holder. The “flower” shaped brake lights and turn signal are now replaced with a full LED lights for both. The rear lights housing also moved slightly towards the front and a bit more curved, giving it an edgier look. The lower bumper is revised and given a crease, the muffler tips are fatter, giving it again an edgier look. The overall design is not just for show, it is claimed that at high speed, the new rear design actually reduces lift… No need for that huge ricey wings for this baby to carve the road.
On the inside, according to Temple Of VTEC reports, is that the rear seating area is enlarged. There are no definitive data or claim how much it is bigger, but probably would not be much. One poster mentioned about the rear roofline is moved further back, indicating larger seating area though. The overall design also changed, there are a lot of minute changes, you can see it at Acura website later when the car’s website is fully launched. Suffice to say, the most important things are: Larger rear seating area, better sound insulation, lots of visual changes.
And now we come into the most interesting part… The drivetrain, the engine, gear, SH-AWD system and some more. For this MMC, Acura gone the whole nine yard by offering the same engine found on the successful Acura MDX in the refreshed RL. A nice round 300 HP and 271 lb-ft of torque from a 3.7L VTEC engine will propel the car with ease. However, don’t let the MDX engine pedigree fool you, this is a revised engine with some important changes. This 3.7L V6 VTEC engine is equipped with VTEC valvetrain system for both the intake and the exhaust valve, it used to be only on the intake side. The intake manifold is a dual stage design, as can be operated in single or dual plenum manifold depending on the engine load.
As always, the car features Acura own advanced all wheel drive system, dubbed the Super Handling All Wheel Drive system or simply SH-AWD; Unique because it vectors torque to the outside rear wheels during aggressive cornering to maintain balance of the car. For the refreshed Acura RL, the computer management system seems to be updated to allow quicker respond on high twist areas.
Now for the witty commentary…
On Temple Of VTEC news post about the car, there are lots of users who complaints about the car looks. To me they are talking nonsense and more gibberish than fact. The car is basically the same car as it is 3 years ago, a refreshed model this scale is more than enough for Acura to rewrite its Acura RL saga. Before, the RL was deemed as too boring and plain looking as a true “flagship” product. I even personally called the RL as a super Accord, because dimension wise it looks like Honda Accord, it underpins the same platform, but it uses large V6 engine and snazzy all wheel drive system… Which was tested on a modified 7th generation Honda Accord.
Before the 2008 MDX was launched, Acura basically doesn’t have any flagship product to be proud of. The new MDX is the crème de la crème, it won many accolades as the best luxury SUV in America, but the RL… Well, it’s just an old man car (a reliable, boring car). With this refreshed RL model, I believe Acura can turn for the best, as it is now more daring and kind of show that the car is actually expensive. Before, well, suffice to say that the RL is looking rather… affordable. I’ll be talking about Acura history and why it’s not up there with the big dogs at separate entry.
For the haters out there, really… Don’t buy the refreshed Acura RL. Sometimes, we need to slap our loved ones to bring them out of nightmare. So please do boycott Acura RL if you (whomever you are who claims wanted to buy Acura RL but didn’t because it is ugly) doesn’t like the car, spread rumors, spread hate words and convince them to buy Infiniti or Lexus. That way, Honda/Acura would listen and make the next generation Acura RL a real killer.
P.S. Almost forgot to add some info, Acura RL = Honda Legend in Japan and Europe. So expect to see the same visual changes fo Honda Legend soon.