So the buzz is out! Well, at least according to a nameless source from Edmunds.com, Honda will finally build a top of the line over the top luxury full size sedan featuring all of Honda’s latest technology and the first ever production V8. Under Honda’s own luxury brand, Acura, the car will carry on the RL moniker, which in turn was Honda Legend.
The new RL which will be available mid 2010 is rumored to use a 4.8L V8 producing an amazing 420 horsepower, featuring cylinder deactivation technology found on the i-VTEC V6. As it is the top of the line product from Honda, it features Super Handling All Wheel Drive (SH-AWD), an “active” 4 wheel drive system that rivals world’s best similar system. However, unique to this car is the fact that the SH-AWD system will be rear wheel based system, not front wheel based system like all current cars which uses SH-AWD. Currently, SH-AWD system mainly drives the front wheel part of the car (RL and MDX), sending power left to right, and distributing power front to back if there are slippage detected. The rear wheel based SH-AWD will work in reverse, driving the rear wheel and distributing power back to front, with the usual left to right wheels power distribution.
Here is an artist rendition taken from Edmunds.com courtesy of Holiday Auto.
So let’s get into the boring part… The analysis.
Now, the V8 engine will definitely be an option, probably for the Type-S line. However, one thing that is peculiar is the rear wheel SH-AWD drive train. SH-AWD to my knowledge is a system that plugs in to an existing drive train, and for cost reason, it can be used as an option. Therefore, a rear wheel SH-AWD without the actual SH-AWD will be a regular front engine rear wheel drive sedan. Now, like any other car that offers 4WD cars, there will be a version of 2WD of it. For example, all Audis without the Quattro system are FWD cars, and all BMWs without the xDRIVE are RWD cars. So… Note this, if this news is true then, in 2010 we will see the first ever Honda sedan with FR drive train!
However, there’s no official news regarding a development of V8 engine, only the V10 that is official. This could be a hoax or some Honda/Acura fan boy 2nd wettest wet dream (the first being Honda NSX successor), however, one might be surprised for what Honda has up its sleeve. The turbo powered RDX is quite a surprise, so does MDX with its active suspension.
I’d say… Bring it, and those critiques will surely qualm their yappers. Of course the car wouldn’t sell well, especially with the exponentially rising gas price. But it’s the nature of the product itself, being the “halo” product, one which people aspires to and dream of having. Just like Audi cars, only a handful of people opted for the burly 4WD V8 version of their products. Most only buys the small V6 powered front wheel based Audis. The current RL is just “too forced”, having a dimension similar to TL, and not a single option to be deemed worthy of Mercedes S-Class or even, *shudder* Lexus LS contender.
Ow… Almost forgot to mention, I said earlier that the car produces an amazing 420 horsepower from a 4.8L V8. This “amazing” statement is taken from comparing the rumored engine power with the available engine power of its soon to be contenders, which is Lexus LS 4.6L V8 (380 hp), Mercedes S-Class 5.5L V8 (382 hp), and Audi A8 4.2L V8 (350 hp). The closest comparable engine power output to the rumored Acura RL is only the Lexus LS, but I don’t see a bump of 0,2L will net 40 hp alone without additional or advanced retooling of the engine… Amazing? Amazing rumor at least.