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Acura Super Handling All-Wheel Drive System Named to Popular Science Magazine's Best of What's New 2004

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TORRANCE, Calif., Nov. 10, 2004 -- The Super Handling All-Wheel Drive(TM) (SH-AWD(TM)) system featured on the all-new 2005 Acura RL performance luxury sedan has been named Best of What's New in the Automotive Technology category of Popular Science Magazine's 2004 Best of What's New list.

Best of What's New awards are presented to 100 new products and technologies in 12 categories: Auto Technology, Aviation & Space, Cars, Computing, Engineering, Gadgets, General Innovation, Home Entertainment, Home Tech, Personal Health, Photography and Recreation. Winners are featured in the December issue of Popular Science.

The Acura SH-AWD system is the first and only all-wheel-drive platform to distribute the optimum amount of torque not only between the front and rear wheels but also between the left and right rear wheels. The result is uncanny cornering performance that provides extremely neutral steering and outstanding vehicle stability.

"Being named to the Best of What's new list further confirms that the Acura Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive system is a significant advancement in automotive technology," said Dick Colliver, Acura vice president, sales. "Acura takes its reputation for technologically advanced vehicles seriously and we appreciate the recognition in such a respected publication."

"Best of What's New is the ultimate Popular Science accolade, representing a year's worth of work evaluating thousands of products," said Editor Mark Jannot. "These awards honor innovations that not only impact the way we live today, but change the way we think about the future."

The 2005 Acura RL is Acura's top-of-the-line sedan. In addition to SH-AWD, it features a 300-horsepower VTEC engine, track-tuned suspension, and a host of advanced technology including the first North American application of a real time traffic information system.

Announcement of Acura RL All Wheel Drive System

September 1, 2004 -- Torrance, Calif. -- The all-new 2005 Acura RL features a revolutionary all-wheel drive new called Super Handling All-Wheel Drive(TM) or SH-AWD(TM). The SH-AWD system is the first and only all-wheel drive platform that distributes the optimum amount of torque not only between the front and rear wheels but also between the left and right rear wheels. The result is uncanny cornering performance that provides incredibly neutral steering and outstanding vehicle stability.

By monitoring driver input and driving conditions, the SH-AWD system determines the optimum front-rear and lateral (left-right) torque distribution. This information is then conveyed to the rear differential, where direct electromagnetic clutches continuously vary the front-to-rear torque by up to 70 percent in either direction. Rear torque can also be apportioned between the left and right rear tires by up to 100 percent on either side.

The SH-AWD system is composed of an ECU, sensors that detect steering angle, lateral g-force, and other vehicle information, and a rear differential. The direct electromagnetic clutches inside the rear differential, another industry first, employ electromagnets to maintain precise control over the multi-plate clutches.

The SH-AWD system uses torque not only for propulsion, but also to increase cornering precision and dramatically enhance vehicle maneuverability while helping to virtually eliminate understeer and oversteer. During cornering the speed of the outside rear wheel is greater than the average of both front wheels. This prevents the efficient transfer of torque to the outside rear wheel in a typical AWD system. To counteract this condition, the SH-AWD system's rear differential is equipped with a built-in acceleration device that can overdrive the outside rear wheel. This acceleration device, which is another industry first, uses a planetary gear to speed up the outside rear wheel's rotation relative to the front wheels. The result is a significant enhancement in vehicle maneuverability during cornering.

SH-AWD system torque regulation

  • Acceleration while cornering: Torque to the rear wheels is continuously varied to supply up to 100 percent to the outside wheel. This creates an inward yaw moment, significantly improving vehicle turn-in and handling precision.
  • Deceleration (throttle closed) while cornering- Torque to the outside rear wheel is varied to change from an inward to an outward yaw moment, helping vehicle stability at all times.
  • Straight-line driving - Front-rear torque distribution is modulated for optimum performance. During rapid acceleration, torque is redistributed from the front wheels to the rear wheels. Conversely, during cruising, torque is concentrated in the front wheels. The result is additional driving stability.