Grade A: Acura goes from luxury to performance with A-Spec.

Discussion in 'OT Driven' started by TriShield, Dec 17, 2003.

  1. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2001
    Messages:
    132,737
    Likes Received:
    1,604
    Location:
    PRESIDENTIAL TOWER, GREAT AGAIN, NY
    Acura A-Spec performance package

    [​IMG]

    By MARK VAUGHN
    (08:30 Dec. 15, 2003)

    IN WHAT IS SURELY A vast oversimplification, it used to be Hondas were sporty and Acuras were luxurious. Nowadays, if you were so inclined and had a suitable platform from which to foment discussion, say a website or one of those big handheld megaphones, you could argue Acura is now aiming in the fun-to-drive direction, too. And not just because of screamers like the TSX, RSX Type-S and the new TL. Those are all fine, fun products, but the best argument that Acura is going sporty may be the launch of the new A-Spec line.

    A-Spec was formerly called Acura Factory Performance, a name marketeers thought sounded too much like its sister division Honda Factory Performance. The A-Spec name was introduced at last year’s SEMA show on an RSX Type-S concept. The production version of that car, after months of tuning, went on sale Nov. 30 with A-Spec springs, shocks, wheels, tires, aerodynamic add-ons and other handling enhancements. We drove one recently and found it to be a big step up in performance from the stock RSX, even the RSX Type-S from which it is ascended. Body roll in particular felt like it was about cut in half, maybe more so, and the improved response was easily worth the small price in ride harshness.

    The bigger news, however, may be that this month Acura will introduce an A-Spec version of the new 2004 TL, formerly just a sedate near-luxury sedan. If Acura can make the TL fun, anything can happen. Right out of the box the stock 2004 TL is different. It’s fun to drive, centered around that whompin’-smooth 270-hp 3.2-liter V6 and six-speed manual. Step on the gas in that car and you don’t even mind that the engine is driving the front wheels.

    Now, to that fine TL sedan Acura adds an A-Spec suspension and body kit to match. And it matches nicely. The shocks match the springs, the wheels and tires match the shocks and the suspension in general is more responsive without being overly harsh. We drove the A-Spec TL over twisting mountain roads in the San Gabriel mountains of California and through the short, tight Streets of Willow road course and came away happy.

    [​IMG]

    On the track the TL still felt its 3500-pound curb weight, especially downshifting into corners. And the engine was so quiet that it was hard to whack the Sport Shift automatic into the right gear at precisely the right time if you were doing it by sound rather than looking down at the tach. But that mass was better controlled on the A-Spec TL than on the stock TL. Engineers chose compression and rebound rates for the shocks that were closer to the NSX than the stock TL. The compression stroke of the shocks was firmed up, while rebound was softened. On stock shocks it is the opposite, with lots more softness on compression for that luxury Acura ride.

    The stiffer springs also lower the car by almost an inch, and improve the look of the TL as well as the ride. Many aftermarket tuners concentrate on just lowering the car with shorter, stiffer springs and often leave the shocks stock.

    The aero parts do more than improve the car’s looks, too. How many aftermarket aero kits have ever seen the inside of a wind tunnel? This package actually lowers the coefficient of drag from 0.29 to 0.28 and reduces lift by 0.088, figures virtually unheard of among aftermarket body kits. Most bolt-on wings slow the car down like tiny, stylish parachutes. The A-Spec TL includes front, side, rear and underbody spoilers, as well as your choice of a decklid wing or spoiler on the trailing edge of the car.

    The 18x8.5-inch wheels are forged and made thinner than stock for lightness, while the 235/40VR Yokohama AVS ES100 tires come with a thinner layer of rubber for both lightness and improved handling. The drawback is a shorter tread life, but that is the tradeoff for more grip. Tire and road noise is a little more than what you get with the stock TL 17-inch tires, but not as harsh as those on the RSX.

    As on the stock TL, the automatic-transmission cars come with performance brake pads. The manual-transmission models come with Brembo rotors and four-piston calipers up front.

    The A-Spec TL is such a nicely cohesive package (including unique steering wheel and nifty A-Spec badging) that, as with any HFP or A-Spec package, you can’t buy it in bits and pieces, you have to buy everything that is offered. They won’t even let you put it on your TL yourself, the dealer has to do it. And it ain’t cheap. It is $5,200 plus dealer installation, which will run you about $500 or so. Throw in taxes and you are up close to six grand. The A-Spec RSX is $4,200 plus installation.

    Parts aficionados will quickly leap to their keyboards saying they could get similar parts upgrades for a TL at half the price right now on some website, so why spend twice as much for an A-Spec? Several reasons.

    It can all be financed with the same loan that pays for your new car. Website suppliers usually haven’t tested their parts for 155,000 miles on roads and tracks all over the world like Tochigi, the Nürburgring, the autobahn and the San Diego freeway (okay, most have tested on the San Diego freeway). Few if any offer a four-year, 50,000-mile warranty. And few have made such a concerted effort to find parts that complement one another and balance out performance such that everything feels like it belongs with everything else.

    Acura expects to sell 1000 TLs with the A-Spec package. Once Acura has reached that goal and recovered its tooling costs, it may offer the suspension upgrades separate from the aero kit. You can buy the aero kit separately now. The plan is to sell 500 A-Spec RSXs.

    Acura sells about 65,000 TLs a year, so 1000 A-Spec versions make up only about 1.5 percent of the total. Acura sells 25,000 RSXs, so 500 would be 2 percent. That is not a whole lot in volume. But it is not sales figures that make A-Spec important, the important thing is the direction Acura is now headed.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  2. bioyuki

    bioyuki Ich habe Angst

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2001
    Messages:
    54,454
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    A-spec = :greddy: and overpriced

    It should come standard on those cars :hs:
     
  3. Quick Silver

    Quick Silver Charging...

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2001
    Messages:
    6,867
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    CA
    A-spec = teh new type ARRR :eek3:
     
  4. jrmcm

    jrmcm Actriz Porno

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2001
    Messages:
    57,335
    Likes Received:
    316
    Location:
    Plano, TX
    I'm still not sold on the exterior styling of the new TL, but the interior, namely the technology it contains, is absolutely amazing for a car of that price.
     
  5. jinushaun

    jinushaun New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2002
    Messages:
    60,739
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Capitol Hill, Seattle, WA, USA
    So A-spec = suspension + exterior mods? What about engine?
     
  6. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2001
    Messages:
    132,737
    Likes Received:
    1,604
    Location:
    PRESIDENTIAL TOWER, GREAT AGAIN, NY
    :hs:
     
  7. kRySs

    kRySs OT Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2002
    Messages:
    34,082
    Likes Received:
    10
    Location:
    Anaheim, California
    if you think it's :greddy: it must be :hsd:
     
  8. hondaluva

    hondaluva likes free hugs...

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2001
    Messages:
    76,210
    Likes Received:
    1
    Not bad.
     
  9. dank

    dank fuck yeah

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2000
    Messages:
    25,459
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    omaha
    tl a-spec = smokin :cool:
     
  10. tekknikal

    tekknikal Nothing's ever been better than that

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2001
    Messages:
    7,436
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    On an Island
    so its $6k + the cost of a TL? Dont they run for like $32? That's $38k. Too much imo, when a G35Coupe could be had a thousands less, and a sedan for much less than that.
     
  11. tekknikal

    tekknikal Nothing's ever been better than that

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2001
    Messages:
    7,436
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    On an Island
    That's also 330i territory :eek3:
     
  12. Un-Kut

    Un-Kut Guest

    G35- $38k
     
  13. IspitHotFire

    IspitHotFire 3 Greatest rappers of all time ? Dylan, Dylan, and

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2002
    Messages:
    8,076
    Likes Received:
    0
    a g35 is not 38k you retard.
     
  14. T-T

    T-T Born Into Retirement

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2002
    Messages:
    10,090
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    London - Montreal
    HAHAHA. When the fuck was Acura luxury? :rofl::rofl:
     
  15. Chi_Town_GoD

    Chi_Town_GoD Guest

    holy crap, thats like a whole supercharger + coilovers for a G35 :eek3:
     
  16. hondaluva

    hondaluva likes free hugs...

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2001
    Messages:
    76,210
    Likes Received:
    1
    you add some options in there and you might get that amount. Unless you plan on buying a "stripper"
     
  17. bigboto

    bigboto Guest

    When is Honda going to learn that Acura = Buick = Mercury = Chrysler. They are far from luxury, above average at best. Acura is a middle of the road brand name that has absolutely no business trying to compete with Benz, Lexus, Infiniti, and BMW.

    Dear Honda execs,

    Stop. Just stop. You guys aren't fooling anyone.

    Sincerely,

    American Car Buying Public
     
  18. hondaluva

    hondaluva likes free hugs...

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2001
    Messages:
    76,210
    Likes Received:
    1
    Dear Bigboto

    on what grounds do you call them a middle of the road luxury maker? their entry RSX/TSX and TL make huge impacts in their respective markets, and albeit the RL dosen't go up against M-B or even lexus for that matter, they still have a solid current car that's going to be completely redesigned next year.
     
  19. They need to add a V8 to there engine lineup; or atleast break the 300HP mark with a 6 cylinder. From there they need to add RWD to there lineup; or atleast offer AWD (as in Audi and Jaguar).

    Then they need to fix the dealership network to create an equal level of service at all locations. Finally they should invest in engineering; it's nice to add features to your mid-priced cars that no one else has at the time (Navi, HID, and DVD-A) but if your just buying off the rack parts you can only follow and not lead.

    There's a whole set of rules to luxury car makers (the BBC had a docuementary on it even). From simple things to having a circular or oval logo (Mercedes, BMW, Infiniti, Lexus) as opposed to Acura's diamond. To having a curvature in you rear windows instead of a studden angle.

    As for the A-Spec: Canada had it on the old TL (2003); all it was a bodykit, special wheels, blue leather inserts, and a few other specialty items you couldn't buy off the shelf. Wasn't a bad deal considering realisticly it was only $1K CDN more than a standard TLS; but the blue leather was :ugh: .
     
  20. IspitHotFire

    IspitHotFire 3 Greatest rappers of all time ? Dylan, Dylan, and

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2002
    Messages:
    8,076
    Likes Received:
    0
    Our G35 was 32k out the door, with sunroof and bose. And that was MSRP, i'm sure by now you can get a very good deal with 04's coming out.
     
  21. jinushaun

    jinushaun New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2002
    Messages:
    60,739
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Capitol Hill, Seattle, WA, USA
    The minute car companies stop trying, is the minute they should go out of business. :slap:
     
  22. Shiva Chaos

    Shiva Chaos i see boobies!

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2002
    Messages:
    106,187
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Under your bed
    Japanese Car Companies have been using the term A-Spec for a while now.
     
  23. Sonic

    Sonic Live every day to the fullest, for yesterday is go

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2001
    Messages:
    48,083
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Westchester County,New York
    Blah.

    Oh, and unless they perform a miracle, they aren't getting any more power out of the J32, its already at like 11.5:1 CR.
     
  24. Mantis

    Mantis Guest

    acura's image isn't as prestigious as benz, bmw or even lexus. but they still make excellent cars, a lot of value which is always important. i like the new TL's and TSX's. they need to drop the rsx, or take the acura badge off and put a honda badge in place of it, call it the prelude's replacement and offer a real sports coupe, much like the CL but with RWD and styling to match the TL. and supposedly the next RL WON'T be FWD, but RWD or AWD with a V6 putting out 300hp+. no V8 but V8-like power.
     
  25. the A-Spec is a waste of money IMO... you spend 6 grand more on suspension and a body kit... i can get JIC coilovers for 1500 and a urethane kit for a grand and paint it.. and i'll still have 2500 dollars left over and you can spend that on some better looking rims tooo... like racing harts or volks..
     

Share This Page