Acura For 1998
By Carey Russ
After two years of new product introductions, 1998 is a year of refinement for Acura. The SLX sport-utility has a new engine, new styling, and a revised interior. The flagship 3.5 RL luxury sedan has a sportier suspension. The 3.2 and 2.5 TL sedans have more standard features. Acura's first American-designed and built model, the CL- Series coupe, has freshened styling and a larger engine in the base model. The popular Integra series of coupes and sedans continues with few changes, and the high-performance Type R model will be back. The exotic NSX sports car continues to offer supercar performance and Acura drivability.
Acura's entry into the full-sized luxury sport-utility field has had a major overhaul for 1998. The external styling has been "Acuraized" with new front styling featuring a grille more in touch with that of other Acura models. The all-new 4-wheel drive powertrain has a larger, more powerful 3.5-liter dual overhead cam V6. Inside, a new instrument panel highlights a number of other refinements that make the premium SLX an even more refined luxury vehicle. Standard 4-wheel antilock disc brakes ensure fast, consistent stopping.
Two models of CL sports-luxury coupe are offered. The new 2.3 CL takes over from the previous 2.2 CL, and has a larger, more powerful engine. The 3.0 CL, introduced last year, has a 3.0-liter V6, the first mass-produced V6 application of the VTEC variable valve timing and lift system. Both have freshened styling this year, with a new grille and revised trim. Interior enhancements add to comfort and convenience.
The CL coupes are the first Acura cars to be designed, engineered, and built in this country. Designed in Torrance, California, and built at East Liberty, Ohio, the CL coupes are American cars for American driving.
The top sedan in the Acura line, the 1998 3.5 RL has suspension recalibrations that provide sportier handling without compromising its compliant ride. New alloy wheels distinguish it from earlier model years. Inside is a higher level of standard equipment, with heated, leather-upholstered seats and a 225-watt Acura/Bose sound system now in both trim levels. A dash-mounted satellite navigation system is available.
The 3.5-liter V6 has the most torque ever offered in an Acura sedan, and gives the 3.5 RL performance parity with many V8 competitors. Its computer-controlled 4-speed automatic transmission features Grade Logic for smooth, responsive performance.
Two models are offered in the TL touring luxury sedan line. The 2.5 TL has a 2.5-liter inline 5-cylinder engine, and the 3.2 TL has a 3.2-liter V6. Both use a computer-controlled 4-speed automatic transmission with Grade Logic. Both have only a single trim level this year, with most of the standard equipment that used to be on the premium level.
Acura's popular Integra line of coupes and sedans has received minor exterior and interior trim revisions for 1998. The ferocious Type R coupe will return during the 1998 calendar year. It takes off where the regular GS-R model coupe and sedan leave off, with 195 horsepower from its 1.8-liter VTEC engine and a near-9000 rpm redline.
After getting a larger, more powerful engine, 6-speed gearbox, and numerous chassis upgrades last year, the mid-engined NSX is unchanged for 1998.