Acura For 1999
By Carey Russ
Nineteen ninety nine promises to be an exciting year for Acura. An all-new 3.2TL performance-luxury sedan leads the way, but there are new features throughout the line. The luxury flagship 3.5RL has been re-engineered and restyled. The popular Integra line of sedans and coupes has some new features. The CL coupes and SLX sport-utility continue, as does the high-performance NSX sports car.
Although the TL name has been used for Acura's near-luxury sedan since the 1996 model year, only the name remains the same for 1999. The second Acura designed, engineered, and built in the U.S., the 1999 3.2TL is a completely new car that promises to set new standards for its highly-competitive class. Its new 3.2-liter V6 is the most powerful engine in that class, with 225 horsepower. It uses Acura's VTEC variable valve timing technology and is much lighter than the 3.2-liter V6 used in the old TL. Sequential "SportShift" driver-controlled manual shifting is a feature of its electronically- controlled automatic transmission for sporty performance.
The 1999 TL's chassis is designed for comfort as well as performance. It offers more interior room than the old TL. Its fully- independent suspension combines sporty handling with luxury comfort.
Acura's new TL has the highest standard equipment level in its class, including leather seating, heated, power-adjustable front seats, automatic climate control, a premium sound system, and more.
The 3.5RL, Acura's luxury flagship sedan has been extensively redesigned inside and out this year. New, more aggressive and expressive styling is the most obvious change, but a more rigid chassis structure and retuned suspension increase comfort and handling abilities. The 1999 3.5RL's interior has been revised as well.
Dual frontal and side air bags, used in the RL, are not unusual. But the RL has innovative new technology to enhance passenger safety and reduce any chance of injury from an air bag. For the front passenger seat, deployment power of the front air bag is automatically adjusted according to the severity of the impact. The seat itself contains sensors to determine the size and position of any occupant. The side air bag is deactivated if the front passenger is too small or out of position.
One fully-equipped trim level of 1999 Acura 3.5RL is offered. The only factory-installed option is a navigation system.
The Intergra coupe and sedan are now offered in three trim levels, LS, GS, and GS-R. All are comprehensively-equipped with plenty of comfort and convenience accessories. LS models have been upgraded with larger wheels and a refined suspension for sportier handling, and leather trim on the steering wheel and shift knob. GS-R models now feature leather seating.
Integra LS and GS models are powered by a 1.8-liter dual- overhead-cam four-cylinder engine with 140 horsepower, with a choice of five-speed manual or four-speed electronically-controlled automatic transmissions. The GS-R has a 1.8-liter twin-cam engine that uses Acura's VTEC variable valve timing system to make 170 horsepower and is available only with a five-speed manual gearbox.
Two models of Acura's stylish personal coupe are offered. The 2.3CL has a 2.3-liter, 140-horsepower four-cylinder engine, while the 3.0CL uses a 3.0-liter, 200-horsepower V6. Both feature Acura's VTEC variable valve timing system. New color choices and a cargo net in the trunk are 1999's highlights.
The world's first all-aluminum production car returns for 1999. Acura's high-performance, hand-crafted flagship offers exotic sports car performance and Acura civility.
Alex Zanardi Edition NSX
If a regular NSX isn't quite exclusive enough, Acura will soon have a very special version. The 1999 Alex Zanardi Edition NSX is the fastest, best-handling version ever built thanks to a lighter weight and racetrack-tuned suspension. Only 50 will be made, and the first is already spoken for. It goes to Zanardi in honor of his two CART championships in Honda-powered cars.
After a major redesign last year, Acura's entry into the premium sport-utility class is unchanged for 1999.