More and more, it seems like Acura is wrestling with itself, trying to determine what kind of brand it is supposed to be. We hear rumors all over the place about redefining the brand and searching for a new direction. There were whispers a few weeks back about how Acura might put all its chips into all-wheel drive cars. The reveal of the updated ILX later this month could lend or rob those whispers of credence.
Now we’re hearing rumblings directly from a named source at Acura. Head designer Dave Marek is at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas this week, and he has apparently been gesticulating like a chained giant, struggling against the shackles of PR. His words are cryptic, but they let us speculate, which is our second favorite thing to do behind giving you concrete news. “A performance brand needs a flagship and it needs an accessible sport car. Not a sports car, but a sport car,” said Marek.
The flagship is returning soon as the all-new NSX, but what is this sport car he’s referring to? Car and Driver notes that the Acura of the 1990s, what most enthusiasts consider the brand’s best decade, had the NSX as well as the Integra. The Integra was a sporty entry level coupe beloved by tuners and perfect for introducing people to the brand. In its last generation, it was known as the RSX here before being discontinued. Marek thinks it was a mistake for Acura to focus solely on luxury customers while leaving enthusiasts out in the cold. “There are changes coming, and then there are more changes coming,” he said.
The prospect of a new entry level coupe is something that many of us welcome. We can’t help but wonder exactly what form it would take and even what it would be called. Perhaps the most sensible thing to do would be build it on the platform of the ILX. Reviving the RSX badge also seems like a sensible option as it seems like Acura is at least satisfied with its three-letter naming scheme.Photo: Car and Driver
Whatever the case, there’s something else to pull from that original quote: Marek thinks Acura should be a performance brand again. “There are lots of resources and activity going into make Acura back into what it was.” In that light, Acura is displaying a TLX modified by Galpin Auto Sports at the SEMA Show, which is rocking a new body kit, a lowered suspension, and an Andaro Blue paint job that will be available on production cars in the future. You can see more of that car on Car and Driver’s site.
We will continue to update you on the future of our brand, and remember that for all things Acura, you can visit us at Leith Acura in Cary.