We know how to make Acura relevant again.
In the past, we suggested that Acura should build a successor to the S2000 to help give the brand a little pizzaz. We also suggested that Acura bring back models with the Type S name. The TL and RSX Type S were among the best cars that the company has ever built and we don't understand why Acura doesn't want to build them again. The TL and RSX weren't particularly impractical cars, and power wasn't off the charts either. However, both cars helped give Acura a much needed dosage of excitement that's severely lacking from the current lineup.
Looking at the ILX, TLX, RLX, RDX, MDX, NSX and upcoming CDX, not one is available with a manual transmission or Type S variant. If Acura's only sporty car is the $156,000 NSX, then people are going to start to think that the brand is boring. We haven't done much to hide our feelings about Acura's flagship, the RLX, but our feelings are more out of disappointment than pure anger. We don't think that Acura can't build good cars, we just want to see them try again! The TLX has done well, as have the SUVs, but the RLX and ILX make up just a small portion of their segment sales. Looking at Acura's range of sedans, we just don't see too much reason to buy one anymore.
The TLX comes with either a 204 horsepower four-cylinder or 290-hp V6, neither of which really shines among competitors. Almost every competitor we can think of comes with more horsepower and more exciting exterior. Back in 2008, the TL was not the most exciting car, but the Type S gave it some attitude that made it cooler that it had any right to be. That car made 286 horsepower from its V6, so why can't a sportier TLX Type S grace Acura's lineup? Lexus has greatly increased its range of F-Sport models and even has two V8 F models in the range. If Acura really wanted to be taken seriously, it should consider following the strategy Lexus has taken.
The F-Sport models don't even have any more power than a normal model. However, the F-Sport lineup creates the illusion that buyers are getting a sportier product that's closer to something from BMW's M division than a boring rebranded Toyota or Honda. F-Sport may not be perfect, but the idea has created a new brand image for Lexus. We honestly don't know what Acura's brand image is anymore. Acura's cars are just sort of "there". By adding some Type S models, and maybe even some higher performance Type R models, Acura could stand out once again.