A New Acura Integra? “Just Wait,” We’re Told
:shrugs: We'll see.
Are we finally going to get a replacement for the Acura Integra/RSX? You could see that Acura chief designer Dave Marek wanted to spill the beans here at the SEMA show about the plans for Honda’s long-floundering luxury brand, but he was prevented by the watchful presence of a company PR rep. All he was able to say was this: “A performance brand needs a flagship and it needs an accessible sport car. Not a sports car, but a sport car.”
As a hint, Acura used its SEMA stage to show a TLX sedan modified by Los Angeles–based Galpin Auto Sports with a body kit, lowered suspension, 19-inch wheels, and Wilwood six-piston-front/four-piston-rear brakes on 14-inch discs. The TLX is painted Andaro Blue, a vibrant hue that will be available on future production cars; the mid-size sedan, however, is not likely to set tuners on fire as did the Integra and the RSX.
Marek said the company knows that it has a lot of rebuilding to do to restore Honda’s luxury brand back to its 1990s heyday. Back then, the Integra was an attainable car for young enthusiasts and the core of its claim to performance credibility, while the NSX was an exotic aspirational flagship. Several Integras and NSXs were spotted at this year’s SEMA show, even though they’ve both been out of production for years. A new NSX comes in 2015, but Marek said it’ll be a few more flips of the calendar, at least not until 2017, before the plan results in a more affordable performance car for Acura showrooms.
He wouldn’t be any more specific, acknowledging only that Honda erred in the past trying to make the brand too upscale, leaving behind its rabid enthusiast audience. Then the financial crisis hit along with the Japanese earthquake, rocking Honda on its heels and distracting Acura from its turnaround plans.
“There are changes coming, and then there are more changes coming,” said Marek. The refreshed Acura ILX, which will debut at the L.A. auto show in mid-November, will hint at the sportier direction Acura wants to take its entry-level offerings. “It’s not what our direction is going to be, but it’s a step in that direction,” he said. Eventually Acura will expand its model portfolio from the current collection of sedans and crossovers. “There are lots of resources and activity going into making Acura back into what it was.”
:shrugs: We'll see.