Like Rolex watches, fine art or mega yachts, people aspire to own luxury automobiles. If they were both offered to you for free, chances are you’d pick a shiny new BMW 5 Series over a battle-scarred 1996 Plymouth Breeze every single time.
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A sodium pentothal-loaded needle might be nice every now and again when auto executives lend predictions; that or a crystal ball, and here’s why.
With May sales numbers rolling out today, there are some interesting stories developing around several automakers.
Up until now, we’ve been mostly admiring the Acura ILX under the auto show lights but the Japanese automaker has released a huge photo gallery of their new compact sedan model.
The Acura ILX is marketed as a compact, premium model that shares the Honda Civic chassis and powertrains. But its styling looks 100-percent Acura, with very little hints that this vehicle is based on a Honda Civic. The ILX is also the first hybrid from Acura, but will also be offered with a 2.0L four-cylinder with 150-hp and 140 lb-ft of torque. The hybrid variant features a 1.5L four-cylinder with 111-hp and 127 lb-ft of torque, similar to what is found in the Honda Civic Hybrid. The Acura ILX Hybrid only offers 35/38-mpg, significantly less than the Civic 44/44-mpg rating.
Lastly, those seeking plenty of performance can opt for a 2.4L-equipped model with 201-hp and a six-speed manual transmission. Even though no official pricing has been announced, Acura has been sticking firm to the fact that it’ll start “well below” $30,000.
Watch a video of our first look at the 2013 Acura ILX at the 2012 Chicago Auto Show.
To discuss the Acura ILX, please visit our Acura ILX Forum.
GALLERY: 2013 Acura ILX
Acura‘s new ILX sedan, based on the Honda Civic sedan, officially features Acura’s first hybrid system and has made its debut at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show. The 2013 Acura ILX will become the automaker’s new anchor in a strategy to capture entry-level luxury buyers.
Acura’s target market with the ILX are intelligent, young professionals. The 2013 ILX Concept that debuted at the Detroit Auto Show today featured 19-inch wheels and was announced to have three different powertrains, including Acura’s first hybrid. Even though Acura isn’t positioning the ILX as a technology vehicle, there is still plenty of features for technophiles to love including Pandora Internet Radio, rear-view camera and text-to-speech messaging.
The three powerplants that will be offered for the ILX include a 2.0L four-cylinder with a five-speed automatic transmission, a 2.4L with a six-speed automatic and the 1.5L four-cylinder, 93-hp hybrid powertrain from the Honda Civic hybrid. Acura did specify that its hybrid system will be tuned for more performance and as a result, will have less fuel economy than Civic’s 44-mpg.
The production version of the ILX will debut this Spring and as a result, no pricing was announced. Acura did however state that they anticipate pricing to be “well below $30,000.”
GALLERY: Acura ILX Sedan Concept Official Photos
GALLERY: Acura ILX Sedan Detroit Auto Show Reveal
And watch a first look video of the Acura ILX below:
As the compact luxury car market continues its growth in the United States, Acura intends to join the ranks of the Lexus CT200h, Audi A3, BMW 1-series, and Mercedes A-Class.
Based on the Honda Civic, the Acura promises that the ILX will attract younger buyers that find brand name, efficiency, and styling to be most important. Acura have also found that this particular demographic have a preference to the three-box modern sedan styling, and will deliver the ILX as such, even though Acura briefly considered the possibilities of an entry two-box hatchback as well.
Starting under $30,000, Acura engineers also promised there will be enough hardware to differentiate the more upscale ILX from the plain Honda Civic, as we have seen from the Accord and TL or Pilot and MDX. Powertrains for the ILX include a 2.0-liter inline-4, producing from 150 to 160-hp and approximately 145 lb.-ft. of torque. A hybrid will be available with a 1.5-liter engine producing 90-hp and 97 lb.-ft. of torque and an electric motor delivering 23-hp and 78 lb.-ft. of torque. But best of all, a sportier 2.4-liter engine only offered with a six-speed manual gearbox is available for driving enthusiasts. Delivering 201-hp and 170 lb.-ft. of torque in Civic Si form, Acura has yet to answer whether the 2.4 liter will undergo any changes in ILX form.
The ILX will debut at the upcoming Detroit Auto Show and will be available in showrooms by early summer of 2012.
Their reassessment means a fully-refreshed line including new cars as soon as this spring. The first in line is their new ILX compact sedan which will be based on the global Civic platform. The move signals Honda’s recognition that their brand isn’t competing with other luxury labels.
“Our sedans haven’t been doing the job for the brand,” said Vicki Poponi, American Honda assistant vice president for product planning, at a Detroit briefing for dealers and the media.
Honda plans to correct their habit of releasing cars that seem too similar, saying that the ILX will bare no resemblance to the Civic though the body is still under wraps.
“All the suspension settings will be tuned to be Acura,” Poponi said. “Consider it as different as the TL is from the Accord or the MDX is from the Pilot.”
Even within the car itself, customers will have the chance for significant differentiation. A 2.0-liter direct injection 4-cylinder will be available mated with an automatic transmission. If you prefer a more performance oriented ride, Acura hits you with a hotter 2.4-liter four and a six-speed manual. If saving gas gets you going, there will also be a 1.5-liter hybrid version available.
The company hopes the first of their new generation will boost sales beyond current averages thanks to clear differences between models.
Acura will step back from competing at the top-level luxury segment to offer a more refined mid-level Honda experience. The ILX might have a good shot at breaking into that territory given it’s “well below $30,000″ price tag. Acura hopes it will sell 40,000 units annually compared to the 31,998 highpoint for the TSX in 2008.
The Acura ILX Concept will debut at the Detroit Auto Show this January.