Henio Arcangeli Jr., Senior Vice President, Automobile Division of American Honda Motor Co., Inc.
Good afternoon and thank you for joining us today.
As the first in a new generation of Acura products, today's world premiere of the 2019 Acura RDX signals the start of a new era for the Acura brand.
Over the past three years, we have worked to re-focus Acura around our original brand promise, Precision Crafted Performance. With the NSX as the pinnacle expression of that DNA, we expressed our future design and technology direction in two Acura Concept models.
Then, step by step, we reflected elements of that new design language across the product lineup, in the refreshed MDX, TLX, and RLX.
In Detroit earlier this year, we asserted our commitment to performance by announcing the expansion of our A-Spec lineup, and the coming return of Acura Type-S, the name used for high performance Acura models for much of our history. We also revealed plans for an all-new, Acura-exclusive V6 turbo engine.
Of course, we topped it all off by unveiling the Acura RDX Prototype, a vehicle that fully embraces our vision for Acura. In just a couple of minutes, we'll take the wraps off our new RDX in full production dress.
But first, I want to share more news about the expansion of our A-Spec lineup.
Based on the success of the V6 TLX A-Spec in attracting a younger and more affluent customer to the Acura brand, I'm pleased to announce that we're adding a 2.4-liter TLX A-Spec to the lineup, set to arrive at Acura dealers next week.
But that's not all.
In Detroit, we announced plans to add an A-Spec variant to every core Acura model. And it isn't taking us long to pay off that promise, with the launch this summer of a new MDX A-Spec. We thought it would be fun to give all of you with us today a surprise first look.
Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the 2019 Acura MDX A-Spec!
This MDX A-Spec adds a new dimension of sporty, aggressive and youthful appeal to the best-selling three-row luxury SUV of all time. With cumulative sales topping 900,000 units and six consecutive years over 50,000 units, this MDX A-Spec will help further expand the MDX customer base.
A-Spec upgrades include dark chrome and gloss-black trim work, wider wheels and tires, larger exhaust finishers, A-Spec red leather accents, a sports steering wheel, and more.
And that's the perfect segue to our main attraction today, the all-new 2019 RDX.
The compact SUV segment is one of the largest and most competitive in luxury. And there are simply no weak players. The outgoing RDX has been a top seller, but the all-new RDX is better in every way.
As you will see, we're delivering virtually everything that we showcased in Detroit with the RDX Prototype, and then some.
This is our most extensive redesign in more than a decade, a truly ground up reimagining of the RDX around our Precision Crafted Performance brand direction.
So, let's take a look at this first in a new generation of Acura products, the 2019 Acura RDX.
As you can see, this new RDX and RDX A-Spec deliver on the dramatic new design we showcased with the prototype.
Built in America on an all-new, Acura-exclusive platform, the all-new RDX sports a powerful new turbocharged engine with a segment first 10-speed transmission and the return of torque vectoring Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive.
Inside is even more innovation. The super-premium cockpit houses next-generation Acura features and technologies including all-new Acura sport seats designed for spirited driving and available with class-leading 16-way power adjustability. A new ultra-wide panoramic moonroof, standard on all grades, that is among the largest and widest in the class.
A new ELS Studio 3DTM sound system with four roof-mounted speakers adds a new dimension in sound from top to bottom, and our revolutionary new Acura True Touchpad InterfaceTM that creates an intuitive, driver-centric telematics experience.
This is the third generation of RDX and like its predecessors, it's built in Ohio. But it's the first to be designed and developed in America, with styling conducted in our Acura Design Studio in California.
I asked some members of the design team to share insight into the design of this new RDX lineup.
Let's take a look.
As you just heard, everything we talked about in Detroit is a part of the production RDX, the authentic materials, the overall "sports cockpit" concept, and the all-new True Touchpad InterfaceTM. It's all part of the radical rethinking of the relationship between driver and machine, and it's unlike anything on the road today.
Like the RDX itself, this new system is a ground-up, clean-sheet design, an Acura exclusive approach that takes the best elements of a touchscreen and the best of a remote system and combines them into one intuitive, flexible, and high-performance design.
Now, why are we making such a big deal about this?
The goal of creating an easy to learn, easy to use infotainment system is a challenge facing the entire industry. Our solution, validated by hundreds of hours of research, is built entirely around the driving experience.
And it takes just minutes for customers to learn to comfortably operate.
To give you a little more perspective, we asked the system's lead engineer, Ross Miller, how the True Touchpad InterfaceTM fulfills our thinking for a driver-centric experience.
Let's take a look.
Now, as good as this system may be in a static setting like an auto show, the real "Ah-Ha" moment comes when you're behind the wheel and we look forward to sharing that experience with you in the weeks and months ahead.
And that really brings me to the third and final part of our story today –performance.
It starts with our new Acura-exclusive platform, designed from the ground up as the foundation for a new level of handling precision, ride quality, cabin quietness, and more.
There's an all-new body design using over 50 percent high-strength steel, to help reduce RDX's unibody weight by nearly 20 pounds while outperforming the previous generation in torsional, bending and lateral rigidity, to directly benefit RDX's handling response and precision.
To that, we attached our most sophisticated chassis ever, with a fully reengineered front suspension, variable ratio steering, a completely new 5-link rear suspension, and other key performance technologies.
Under the hood, RDX has the most powerful 2.0-liter turbo engine among its key competitors with 272 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque providing immediate and powerful acceleration response. That's the highest torque output ever for RDX and in the low-rpm range, torque is up 40-percent over the outgoing V6.
We pair the new turbo engine to a segment-first 10-speed automatic transmission that takes full advantage of the turbo's flat torque curve with quick and seamless shifts. It's an amazing combination that elevates RDX to an entirely new level of power, comfort and response. This new powertrain also benefits fuel economy, which will increase over the current model.
Finally, there's the next generation of Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive with torque vectoring capability.
It's something offered by just a select few competitors, often in their most expensive performance variants.
In normal driving, up to 70 percent of turbocharged engine torque is sent to the rear wheels. And to create incredible traction, agility and cornering prowess, up to 100 percent of that torque can be sent independently to either rear wheel.
Taking handling performance to the next level, our dial-operated Integrated Dynamics System, inspired by the NSX, allows the driver to select from four distinct modes that fine-tune the steering, throttle response, suspension and more. Altogether it adds up to greater performance, higher fuel economy, and the quickest, best handling RDX yet!
We asked the team that developed it to talk a little more about RDX's dynamic performance and here's what they had to say.
Our engineers have pulled out all the stops to deliver on our ideal image of Acura performance in a compact SUV. And several are performance experts in their own right.
Acura is a performance brand and you can see that in in every corner of our organization.
Riding shotgun in that in that video was Chad Gilsinger, who not only led the dynamic tuning of RDX, he's a member of our associate-run racing team, campaigning an NSX GT3 in the IMSA series.
And the driver was none other than Katherine Legge, part of the Michael Shank Racing team that carded a second-place finish in Daytona in January. We're thrilled to have Katherine with us here today!
Katherine – it looks like you enjoyed your first opportunity behind the wheel of the new RDX A-Spec!
Thank you, Katherine, for being here and for helping take the NSX GT3 and Acura Motorsports to the winner's circle! Good luck with the rest of the season.
And finally, speaking of pinnacle racing, we're pleased to announce that Acura will return to the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb this year. We'll be campaigning no fewer than four Acuras, with the new RDX making its racing debut in the "Race to the clouds."
To sum it all up, we're very excited and confident about this all-new 2019 RDX, with an all-new powertrain, class-leading features like an ultra-wide panoramic roof, AcuraWatchTM active safety technology, and the new True Touchpad InterfaceTM all standard.
RDX has a combination of design, packaging, performance and prestige that marks a turning point for our brand. It's the first in a whole new generation of Acura products.
We really appreciate your time and attention this afternoon. Now, after a few quick photos, please join me on stage for a closer look.
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