Updated with real-life photos.
Good to see more angles of the Acura Precision Concept, a car whose design is really expressive and deep in real-life photos versus the initial renders. The beak is still rough, but there is promise here.
Acura is still having trouble rebuilding its sales since a brief peak in the early 2000s with the TL and MDX.
More recently, the sales velocity for the brand is in terminal decline.
A big part of the problem has been the dogged persistence with the 'shield' grille since at least 2007. This is a look that no one really likes, and many loathe. But with the first NSX concepts wearing this look ten years ago, it was part of the whole look of every Acura since then. This all assumed that the NSX would have arrived around 2010, of course, instead of mid to late 2016 as a 2017 model-year.Fixing the Acura Woodchuck Nose - TLX Renderings Article
So now Acura has a somewhat holistic appearance among its models, and the strongest-ever TLX and ILX sedans in its range. But how to actually sell cars in volume? And compete versus Audi instead of Buick and Lincoln?
Acura needs an over-arching design vision -- one that can inform the next-gen RLX, plus a sportier RLC variant with a low roof and four-door-coupe look. This should let the RLX become a truly LWB limousine without abandoning current clients. This Precision Concept teases the four-door, full-size coupe that should slide into the Acura range with pricing from $45k to $55k. That is currently a glaring omission between the top TLX and the RLX.
Truth time: the existing RLX is horrible.
It is objectively far inferior to the Honda Accord sedan on many metrics, including size, performance and even refinement measures -- where the Accord Hybrid is more isolated and silent than any Acura.
Yes, the RLX with its SH-AWD hybrid is an innovative and well-liked drivetrain. And finally, there is an NSX halo model to act as a tech showcase and transfer down into the more humble models.
Same for the Acura-exlcusive dual-clutch automatics in the ILX and TLX -- all signs are moving Acura toward being better sports sedans.
But an overarching design vision and philosophy?
So far, totally absent.
The Precision Concept wants to be that inspirational new face of the brand -- hopefully letting the next RLX look credibly premium and not a generic knock-off that lags FAR behind even the Hyundai Genesis in luxury-sedan sales.
Long pre-amble? Yes.
Mostly because the Precision Concept is just like all Acuras: hit & miss.
The profile, lower bodywork and glasshouse are all gorgeous. The proportions are 650i GranCoupe-tastic.
But the nose.
Acura: fire your head designers immediately.
The face of this Precision Concept makes one wince with pain at its hideousness. It ruins what is a solid effort at revamping the brand's appeal worldwide with the Precision Concept.
More than that, it shows a willful disregard for ACTUAL HUMAN TASTES. Show me data on focus groups
liking not hating the look of this car, and I will conduct an online survey proving the fugly facts.
If this car entered production today, it would bomb as hard -- or harder -- than ever thought possible before.
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, Acura.
Take the medicine:
get some glasses,
and demote those who approved this.
2016 Acura Precision Concept
The Acura Precision Concept model made its world debut at the 2016 North American International Auto Show today, pointing toward a bolder, more distinctive future for Acura vehicle design. The Acura Precision Concept was developed by the Acura Design Studio in California to express the Acura brand DNA of "Precision Crafted Performance."
"There is no more clear promise for the Acura brand than Precision Crafted Performance," said Jon Ikeda, vice president and general manager of Acura. "We're committed to infusing this core Acura promise into every facet of our products and every aspect of our relationship with the customer."
With an emphasis on high-contrast details and the intersection of modern, sheer surfaces and muscular, organic sculpting, the Acura Precision Concept communicates Acura's focus on performance and prestige through its ultra-low and wide stance, long dash-to-axle ratio, deeply sculpted surfaces and the debut of a new Diamond Pentagon grille.
"The Acura Precision Concept is more than simply a concept vehicle, it is a design study model that literally will shape the direction of all future Acura products around our Precision Crafted Performance DNA," said Dave Marek, Acura global creative director. "The Acura Precision Concept is the leading edge of a renewed commitment to delivering Precision Crafted Performance in every facet of the product experience and creating a powerful and very exciting direction for the next generation of Acura models."
The Acura Precision Concept's crouched and athletic stance is further emphasized by its deeply sculpted side surfaces pouring over swelling rear wheel arches covering 22-inch wheels and tires. The forward-looking concept also features signature lighting designs – in front with its Jewel Constellation LED headlights composed of organically arranged fractal elements, and in back with floating LED taillights.
A key design theme, dubbed "quantum continuum," is seen in the seamless transition of materials and structure from the exterior to the interior of the vehicle, which is further highlighted by the absence of a b-pillar. The large door rocker panel flows into the interior side sill, transitioning into a cantilever for the floating rear seats. The rear center high-mounted stoplight becomes an architecture element piercing the rear glass and then flowing down to help form the structure for the metal airfoil shape of the rear headrests.
The elegant and powerful exterior is matched by its dramatic interior design, where cantilevered surfaces meet with striking tones, expressive surfacing and modern detailing. Of particular note are the double-layered instrument panel, the high-contrast front seat surfaces, the ultra-thin "floating" rear seats, evoking the look of modern lounge furniture, and the hand-crafted audio speaker grilles made of exotic wood.
The driver's space is highlighted by a compact, race-inspired, sports steering wheel with paddle shifters and Integrated Dynamics System (IDS) controls, a floating center meter, a driver's head-up display, a cantilevered center stack and an ultra-wide, thin and curved center display screen.
New Acura HMI Concept
The Acura Precision Concept also explores a new approach for Acura's digital human-machine interface (HMI), enabling a more intuitive, advanced and seamless connection between man and machine. The ultra-wide and curved center screen is operated by a floating touch pad suspended on the cantilevered center stack. Upon entry, the system scans each occupant and selects personalized features and functions, including maps, audio and customized vehicle performance settings.
Acura Precision Concept dimensions:
|Wheel/Tire||- 5-spoke machined wheels|
- 22-inch Michelin Pilot Super Sport Summer Tire
About the Acura Precision Concept
The Acura Precision Concept was created to explore new and challenging ideas for future Acura design, particularly Acura sedans. The concept was created by Acura's California Design Studio under the direction of Acura global creative director, Dave Marek. The exterior design was led by Michelle Christensen, principal exterior designer, with the interior design created under the leadership of John Norman, principal interior designer. Both Christensen and Norman also played a key role in the creation of the next-generation Acura NSX supercar.
Acura offers a full line of precision crafted performance-luxury vehicles through a network of approximately 270 U.S. dealers. The Acura lineup features five distinctive models – the RLX luxury flagship sedan, the TLX performance luxury sedan, the ILX sport sedan, the 5-passenger RDX luxury crossover SUV, and the seven-passenger Acura MDX, America's all-time best-selling three-row luxury SUV. The next-generation Acura NSX mid-engine supercar will join the Acura lineup in the spring. Acura has been recognized by Edmunds.com for the fourth consecutive year as leading all luxury brands in retained value after five years of ownership.