2009 Acura RL debuts at Chicago

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2009 Acura RL debuts at Chicago

2009 Acura RL debuts at Chicago

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The Chicago Auto Show may not hold a lot in the way of exotic surprises, but it does have a good number of very solid real-world car debuts. Near the top of that list is the 2009 Acura RL - and with its new dose of technology and increased power, the RL is likely to earn some fans while on display.

Showcased by Acura as the 'very best we have to offer in terms of engineering, technology, performance, luxury and safety,' the RL is chock-full of features. Everything from XM Radio Notes, AcuraLink weather and traffic, Active Sound Control and Bluetooth to Super Handling All-Wheel Drive, electronic steering, SOHC VTEC valvetrain and Collision Mitigation Braking System can be found in the RL - and that's not even an exhaustive list. For luxury lovers with a gearhead bent, what's under the hood is a bit more interesting.

The first-ever SOHC implementation of VTEC, the 3.7L V6 that powers the RL makes a stout 300hp and 271lb-ft of torque, which should be plenty to give the sedan the power and verve you'd expect. Mounted to the steering wheel are 'F1 style' paddle shifters that allow the driver to control the Sequential SportShift five-speed automatic. Emissions meet California's ULEV-2 standards, and fuel economy is not listed, but is mentioned to be 'good.'

You can expect the usual complement of safety features, and the interior of the RL won't disappoint, with perforated leather seating and wood pattern panels. For the audiophiles, an Acura/Bose 10-speaker system with DVD-audio gives a great experience. On the outside, the RL gets a slightly more aggressive look, thanks to a new front grille and aluminum hood.

The 2009 Acura RL will hit dealerships in Q1 of this year, starting at $46,280.
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Comments (12)
  1. That "hey look at me grill" is trying to dazzle us into not looking under the hood where we STILL won't find a V8. It looks like a cross between an Audi sedan and a Saturn Aura. I guess the minor engine upgrade is not really surprising since this is a freshening only. But when is Acura going to get serious about competing on mechanicals, and not just technology? It reminds me of the days when Honda was adamant that they didn't need a V6.
    It also makes me even more curious about that the next TL holds. As long as it shares the Accord platform, it can't help but be an also-ran in this super competitive segment.
    Why not rear drive, Acura? Why no V8? And how about some "i" in the VTEC V6's for continuously variable action? Oh yeah, and today's 5-speed auto might as well be an 80's 3-speed box. Maybe they are afraid of repeating the debacle of the first generation 5-speed autobox...

  2. I highly doubt that refresh is going to increase sales but @ least it finally has ventilated seats.

  3. Acura is better off not having a flagship than having this hideous bucktooth thing prancing around

  4. Those wheels look like they're right off the new Honda Accord. The back also reminds me of the accord. The front is boring. Good luck increasing sales with this "thing" @ $50K or more.

  5. Although I agree with all the comments about the ugly styling, outdated transmission and confusion with the TL, I think Honda is about to be vindicated for not developing a V8. Why put all that money and time into developing an unnecessary engine that's about to be killed off by CAFE regulations? I've never yet met anyone who could justify wanting a V8 beyond the "VROOOOOOM!" noise factor, in which case all you really need is an inferior muffler (which reminds me of the days when Lexus used to remove some of the noise insulation from it's SC400 coupe for a sportier sound!). This car is designed to be the luxury bargain that Lexus used to be, but I agree that at first glance it falls short.

  6. Hopefully this looks better in person. I was none too impressed w/ the MDX or Accord online but in real life, they were not bad.

  7. >>Hopefully this looks better in person. I was none too impressed w/ the MDX or Accord online but in real life, they were not bad.

    Rodan is right about that. Both MDX and Accord are better in person BUT Acura/Honda seems to have lost its design vocabulary. They seem to beg, borrow, and steal from everyone else. Former hallmarks of clean, elegant design (IMHO the 1999 - 2003 TL) have given way to an amalgamation of the trendiest bits of others, often tacked on in a less than flattering ways. I guess what I'm trying to say is that the designs just don't form a cohesive whole. This especially comes out in pictures.

  8. Is that grey/black wood? I bet that would be sexy w/ black leather & the aluminum trim.

  9. This is a blinged out Accord which is not a bad thing. What's bad is that it can be seen a mile away that it's a blinged out Accord. Why would anyone pay nearly $50K for this when for $20K less they can have a loaded Accord?

    What's with the foot activated e-brake? Should I look at the rear wheels to see if they have drum brakes? If you don't want to have a proper hand brake on the transmission tunnel use that wonderful Japanese technology and make an electro-mechanical one like Audi. Or give me a piece of 4x4 wood to put under the wheel. But for crying out loud, a foot activated one that you have to release with another lever?!

    Do you know what I would do with everybody that had a hand in making this car come to the market? I would fire each and every one of them and start fresh. This is no G37, that's for sure.

  10. I'm very disappointed by this so called new design. The New Accords look much better. This sorta looks like a Saturn grill like someone mentioned earlier. The Accessories doesn't look too bad though.

  11. I was at an Acura dealership in Bellevue, WA considering the Acura RL 2008. Worried that Acura might soon introduce a redesigned RL for 2009 I asked my sales rep when the next RL might appear. Imagine my delight when he mentioned that a new RL would debut at the Chicago Auto Show that week. Since I would be in Chicago then I made it a priority to stop by at the Auto Show specifically to see the new RL. Hoping to leave the best for last I visited other manufacturers' stands before heading to the Acura stand.

    Well, what do we have here as the new RL? I was so disappointed I was nauseous. I mean – the so-called new or redesigned RL basically took the middle (the exterior of the passenger cabin) of the current RL and slapped a more elongated front-end and a rear end. The entire design looked (when seen live) incoherent. The exterior of the current RL looks so much better than this new design – even a colleague (a Mercedes Benz fan) visiting the auto show with me thinks so. This disappointing RL has a longer overhang that the one it is replacing.

    I am a great fan of Honda and Acura but I am feeling so disappointed and getting tired of Acura’s inability to excite me with its high-end brands. I am still enamored with Acura’s overall technology prowess but I am finding the packaging continuously boring. Acura better wake up! I am a disgusted fan at this point because this upgrade (that’s what it is) is totally unnecessary. It makes me think that Acura is really losing it – it feels like a slap in the face, as if Acura doesn’t care. Acura – are you listening???

  12. Acura is a joke and this continues to show it. They really should stop trying. Hyundai has a clue, Acura doesn't. Did they really think this would help them?

    No one is thinking about Acura, not even Honda fans.

    Acura cannot produce a car that makes the Accord seem like crap. We can argue that the Accord is just as good or an Acura is not worth the extra money.

    Until Acura can kill that argument, they will continue their fall from grace.

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