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Detroit show: Acura TLX points to Accord Euro

Wheel deal: Acura's TLX sedan features a lighter version of Honda's Precision All-Wheel Steer (P-AWS) system that made its debut on the Acura RLX large sedan last year.

Acura's Detroit show car is believed to preview Honda's Accord Euro replacement


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15 Jan 2014

JAPANESE luxury brand Acura has ripped the covers off its TLX sedan at the Detroit motor show, previewing what is believed to be the third-generation Honda Accord Euro tipped to arrive in Australia this year.

The current-generation Accord Euro went on sale in mid 2008, meaning it will be at least a six-year-old model by the time the all-new version potentially arrives.

Honda president and chief executive Takanobu Ito confirmed at last year's Detroit motor show that a new Accord Euro would be produced, ending speculation that the Japanese car-maker was planning to ditch its strategy of selling a mid- and large-size sedan under the Accord name.

At the time Ito-San said the next-generation Euro sedan was in development, but could not confirm when he expected it to be revealed.

Calling the Detroit show car a protoype, Acura – Honda’s US-based luxury arm -- said the TLX showcases the final design of the production version that will go on sale in the US mid-year.

If the TLX does evolve into the Accord Euro, it it is likely to feature less US-centric styling and will lose some of the premium goodies expected in the TLX to keep local pricing in mid-size sedan territory.

With few, if any reports of other Honda-based sedans in development, a restyled version of the TLX is the most logical replacement for the popular Euro in the Australian market and, as its name suggests, Europe.

Developed around the theme 'Red Carpet Athlete', Acura said the TLX delivered “a compelling blend of luxury refinement and sports-sedan athleticism, with exhilarating performance” thanks to new powertrains and technologies.

The TLX was designed and developed by Acura engineers at the company's Los Angeles design studio and the Raymond, Ohio development centre and will be built in Marysville, Ohio.

Featuring a similar shape to the regular Accord sedan that went on sale in Australia in May last year, the TLX carries a deep V-shaped grille and the company's signature 'Jewel Eye' LED headlights, along with foglights housed within a lower air intake spanning the width of the bumper.

A low stance, chunky wheel arches, 20-inch alloy wheels and short front and rear overhangs push the sports-luxury theme further, while it includes prototype-only LED indicator lights in the base of the external mirrors, giving a 3D look.

The TLX measures in at 4831mm, which is 54mm shorter than the Australian-spec Honda Accord at 4885mm, and 91mm longer than the aging, 4740mm-long Accord Euro.

Acura is yet to reveal images of the cabin and details of standard equipment, but the luxury sedan will feature “advanced connectivity via a capacitive touch panel”.

Honda's Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive will be available on some variants in the US, as will a lighter-weight version of the Precision All-Wheel Steer (P-AWS) system.

The Japanese car-maker used an all-wheel steering system on a number of models in the 1980s and ‘90s, including third and fourth-generation versions of the popular Prelude sportscar.

Two engines will be available in the US, including a 2.4-litre four-cylinder unit matched with a new eight-speed dual-clutch transmission with a torque converter, and a 3.5-litre V6 linked with a nine-speed automatic transmission.

The company said is it was targeting fuel economy at the top of the US mid-size luxury segment.

Four driving modes – ECON (Economy), Normal, Sport, and a new Sport+ – are standard across the range, and the TLX is set to deliver what the company calls “vault-like quietness” thanks to extensive engineering work to lower noise, vibration and harshness.

In terms of safety, the TLX is expected to feature a forward collision warning, a collision mitigation braking system, lane departure warning, lane-keep assist, adaptive cruise control and a blind-spot indicator.

In the US, the TLX will replace both the current-generation TL and TSX sedan, a re-badged version of the vehicle sold in Australia as the Accord Euro.

The current-model Honda Accord Euro is available in Australia in two specifications with a 2.4-litre four-cylinder engine, priced from $30,340 before on-roads for the entry-level model with a manual gearbox. It tops out at $43,140 for the Luxury Nav with an automatic transmission.

Unlike its Japanese luxury counterparts including Toyota-owned Lexus and Nissan-backed Infiniti, Acura is only sold in the US, Canada, Mexico and mainland China and Hong Kong. A Japanese launch was put on hold in 2008 following the global financial crisis.

In the US, the reborn NSX supercar will carry an Acura badge, whereas it will wear a Honda badge when it eventually arrives in Australia in 2015.

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