Exclusive: Acura to Retain 2.0-Liter Engine in ILX Compact Sedan; NSX Pricing Discussed

By Jacob Brown | December 12, 2012
Yesterday, we reported that the Acura ILX compact sedan that debuted in 2012 would have its base 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine dropped from its lineup, leaving only the upmarket 2.4-liter engine producing 201 horsepower and the 38-mpg ILX Hybrid in the lineup. Those reports were false. The Acura ILX will continue to anchor its lineup with the base 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, which makes 150 horsepower. According to the original report we had referenced from Automotive News, Honda executive vice president John Mendel said the ILX with the base engine is "underpowered, and consumers don't see the value." Mendel added that an automatic transmission is on the way for the more powerful 2.4-liter version, as originally intended for the car. Acura spokesman Carter Jung called the implication that 2.0-liter engine would be dropped "pure speculation." He said the 2.0-liter base engine would continue to be in the ILX's portfolio. "We just introduced the ILX this year," he said. "It's not being taken from the lineup." Mendel's comments in the original report suggested that the ILX was a sales disappointment. Jung said the ILX is continuing "growing in momentum." "Last month, it was the best-performing sedan in the Acura lineup," he said. "That was a big milestone for it." With 2,108 in sales, the ILX outpaced both the TL sedan (1,918) and TSX (1,768). It should be noted that the TL and TSX are near the end of their lifecycles, and are down on the year. Still, Acura is being bolstered by strong crossover sales, especially from the new RDX compact. The original report said the ILX was intended to supplant the TSX sedan; Jung said he could not comment on future products. However, Honda spokesman Chris Martin said during a dinner at the Motor Press Guild's annual Dean Bachelor banquet last night at the Petersen Automotive Museum that, "Honda understands the unique importance that the TSX has had for the Acura lineup and realizes its strength in its segment." That's vague PR speak, sure, but we anticipate Acura isn't likely to drop out of sight in the segment the TSX inhabits that's flooded by BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Classes. Look for the brand to continue selling a sportier compact sedan in the middle of the $35,000 segment in the future to complement the ILX's entry-level approach. Martin also said that while Honda is in no position to announce pricing for the upcoming NSX supercar, it will likely be higher than the Nissan GT-R's, which starts at $97,820 in the U.S. for 2013. "It's going to be a technological marvel," says Martin. The Acura NSX is set to go into production for the 2015 model year in Marysville, Ohio. It will be the first specialty, hand-built sports car Honda has ever built outside of Japan, using a mid-engine layout and complex hybrid powertrain to power all four wheels. Martin says that with the new Accord, redesigned 2013 Civic, and future products likely to include a production version of the Urban SUV Concept that was teased yesterday and the 2014 Acura MDX prototype teased today, the automaker will be in a good position as it moves forward.
James Hamel
James Hamel

If Acura offered the 2.0 liter with a stick shift option it would appeal more to me as this motor is much more refined, powerful feeling and smooth than the Civic's 1.8. It would truly be more the offspring of the original Integra four doors that were never overburdened with power but were still fun.