Apart from Lexus, Japanese luxury brands still pale in comparison to their German rivals in terms of the number of models they produce and the prices they can command. Overall image in the marketplace and status on the street have likewise proven difficult to develop. That's why Acura is making a hard push specifically to boost its image and achieve 'tier 1' luxury automaker status, but in its own unique way.

While many automakers use big powerful models as attention grabbers, Acura sees fuel economy as a way to differentiate itself in what is becoming a very competitive market.

"Hitting the 2016 CAFE requirements is going to be hard," said John Watts, senior manager of Acura product planning. "We are betting more in the fuel economy direction.”

For years automakers have been embroiled in an outright horsepower war, the culmination of which is easily Bugatti’s 1,001 horsepower Veyron supercar. However, lately, a balance of power and economy appears to be what is drawing the crowds and as we approach a future of higher fuel prices this trend is only set to continue.

Part of this move was also forced upon Acura due to the decision by parent company Honda to axe development of a new generation V-8 engine and rear-wheel-drive platform. Instead, we are likely to see Acura adopt hybrid technology, an option Watts said the company is studying.

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