Looking to elevate their luxury brand with a flagship sedan, Honda has confirmed that a new V-8 engine will be debuting under the hood of select Acura models within the next 18 months. Originally, many dealers expected the new V-8 option to delay its grand appearance until the 2011-2012 introduction of Acura’s new, flagship sedan. With an 18-month timetable officially confirmed, however, talk from the top suggests that the V-8 might make an earlier appearance as a much-needed update for an old favorite, the 2010 Acura RL. “I don’t think that the Acura RL 3.7-liter is sufficient. We can’t compete with other premium brands,” explained Honda Motor Co. CEO Takeo Fukui. Acknowledging the current demand for higher fuel-consumption averages, as well as heightened CAFE standards scheduled to take effect in 2010, Fukui says that the new engine will boast not only a bump in horsepower but a bump in mpg’s, too. “[The new V-8 will] be completely different from conventional, past-generation ones and have excellent fuel efficiency,” Fukui said.
Suffering under the same grueling market conditions as their counterparts in Detroit, Acura experienced a 15.3% loss in sales in September and Fukui admits that something needs to be done to pull them out of the slump – and it needs to be done quickly. Aspiring to compete as a Tier 1 luxury brand against the likes of Mercedes-Benz and BMW, Fukui sees the new engine as the perfect vehicle (pun intended) with which to catapult them into the desired market.