Engineering

Redesigned Acura TLX gets dedicated architecture to enhance its performance

The Acura TLX is set for a complete redesign.

Photo courtesy of Acura

The double wishbone suspension was pioneered by French car maker Citroën 90 years ago, but it's only now coming to the Acura TLX. The redesigned 2021 Acura TLX is set to reposition the car as a true driver's automobile and set about reinvigorating the brand's identity.

Though the cover won't officially be pulled off the model until tomorrow, there are already some details we know.

Type S is slated to be Acura's next step in the performance pyramid. Think of it as the equivalent of Audi's S models (like the S4 and S6). The automaker says that the model will be, "the quickest, best-handling, and most well-appointed sports sedan in Acura history."

Acura teases redesigned TLX for 2021, confirming the Type S. Photo courtesy of Acura

With the teaser photo put out last week, Acura showed just the rear of the car. There, in addition to the badging is a quad exhaust, LED taillights, a fin antenna on the roof, flared fenders, and SH-AWD badging. The SH-AWD badging denotes that the model comes equipped with Acura's Super Handling All-Wheel Drive. This version of all-wheel drive is available on the current TLX and can transfer up to 45 percent of engine power to the rear wheels, giving the car additional traction in slippery conditions.

We also know that the TLX Type S will be the first model in Acura's lineup to to feature the company's new dedicated turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 engine. Look for the car to have upwards of 300 horsepower. The 2020 TLX has an available V6 that produces 290 horsepower.

Though not shown in the first teaser photo, the front of the car will follow the current Acura design language, which was set in place by the Precision Concept, which debuted in 2016 at the North American International Auto Show.

Now, we're learning more about the car's underpinnings. The new TLX will be built on fresh architecture that was designed for Acura sports sedans. It's a performance-focused chassis that has a double wishbone front suspension, the same as what is in the redesigned 2021 BMW 5 Series and the current Acura NSX. This is in place of the common MacPherson strut setup that is favored by many other sedans.

The reasoning for using this type of suspension is simple. It allows the driver to enjoy a more engaging drive, whether on a highway or carving up a curvy road.

We'll see more of the TLX tomorrow. Stay tuned.

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Nuts & Bolts

 
 

The new supercar is part throwback, part modern marvel.

Photo courtesy of Gordon Murray Automotive

Think of the common script for the modern supercar. Among other things, they must be reasonably uncomfortable to sit in, pass the effects of every bump in the road on to the driver, and have anxiety-inducing levels of torque that make it a chore to drive in traffic. The Gordon Murray Automotive T.50 has been designed to flip that script.

The limited edition model - just 100 will be made - promises to be the “most driver-centric supercar to be built”. It will still have a high-revving engine, lightweight and aerodynamic design, and dihedral doors like the typical supercar, but it will also be so much more.

Gordon Murray Automotive T.50 The supercar has a carbon fiber body and chassis.Photo courtesy of Gordon Murray Automotive

”Just 100 customers will share my vision, a car created to improve on the F1 formula in every conceivable way,” said Murray. “With 30 years of technological and systems advancement, now, the time is right to design the greatest analogue driver's car. I believe no other company could deliver what we will bring to market in 2022, producing this British supercar will be my proudest moment."

The car gets its name from company namesake Professor Gordon Murray. It is the 50th model, either road or track, that Murray has designed over his 50-year career.

Murray has designed the car to be free of wings, skirts, and vents. It’s look is clean, if not a bit streamlined, showing restraint that doesn't encumber performance. There is a cold-air ram induction that sits directly above the driver’s head.

The car weighs just 986kg (2,173 pounds), around one-third less than the traditional supercar. It’s body panels and chassis are made of carbon fiber. A carbon tub monocoque provides stiffness and torsional rigidity. The car’s glazing is 28 percent thinner than typical glass delivering valuable weight savings.

A rear-mounted 400mm fan helps the model achieve the “most effective aerodynamics ever seen on a road car”. It works in tandem with active rear spoilers and diffusers to increase downforce by up to 100 percent, depending on drive mode. The car has six available aero modes: Auto, High Downforce, Streamline (creates a virtual longtail), Braking, Test, V-Max Boost (raises output of engine).

Gordon Murray Automotive T.50

Photo courtesy of Gordon Murray Automtoive

The road car bit is important. Murray has designed the model to be equally as good there as on the track - a unique balance for a supercar. The model was created to be “alive” at traditional road speeds, not just high-rev track days.

The visceral experience of driving takes center stage with the car’s electronic stability protection and traction control able to be completely turned off.

At the heart of the car is a bespoke 3.9-liter V12 engine that revs to 12,100rpm. The engine is paired with a bespoke lightweight Xtrac six-speed manual transmission with an “H’ gearchange motion and regulated by a feather-light titanium pedal. Each element is crafted by a British company.

In fact, all major components are British-sourced and the model is assembled in the U.K.

The engine isn't designed to hit speed or power targets, but rather deliver the best experience for the driver. It’s the most dense naturally aspirated road car engine ever as well as the most responsive. The V12 delivers 592 horsepower and 344 pound-feet of torque.

According to a press release from the company, “Murray detests carbon or plastic engine covers so, upon raising the twin gullwing openings that span the rear half of the car, the Cosworth GMA V12 engine sits proudly on display with its cam covers, primary exhaust manifolds and inlet trumpets all taking centre stage.”

Murray has given the car a Direct Path Induction Sound, the system pioneered in the McLaren F1, to channel the sound of the throttle-induced induction growl into the cabin. The car’s carbon fiber roof panels act as an amplifier.

Gordon Murray Automotive T.50 The model’s interior blends old and newPhoto courtesy of Gordon Murray Automotive

Inside, the model has a central, jet fighter-like driving position. It's buttons and knobs are also inspired by flight and feature aerospace-grade primary and secondary controls arranged in an "ergonomic bubble" around the driver. They're analog, a refreshing change from the gas at screens and animated displays in everything from supercars to SUVs.

There's a premium audio system that features 10 speakers and Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and Bluetooth connectivity.

There is enough seating for three adults and the company assures that ingress and egress are easy. All this in a model with about the same footprint as a Porsche Boxster.

The price tag is a hefty £2.36 million (before taxes) - that's over $3 million USD.

As part of the buying process, each T.50 customer has the opportunity to meet Murray to discuss their car and personalize it inside and out. Part of this process includes a seat, steering wheel, and pedals fitting session that will ensure the T.50 is ergonomically perfect for each client.

Customer versions of the T.50 will be built beginning in January 2022.

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The new Mercedes-Benz E-Active Body Control technology behaves differently depending on the mode the driver selects.

Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

The next-gen Mercedes-Benz S-Class is available with E-Active Body Control suspension technology that is designed to predictively adapt to different driving situations, analyzing information at the rate of 1,000 times per second.

The system enhances the car with a variety of equipment and technology. It adds semi-supporting hydropneumatics to the air suspension. The air springs bear the base load of the vehicle body and gradually regulate the level of the model. As explained by Mercedes, "The hydropneumatics generate dynamic forces that overlay the air suspension forces, and actively support and dampen the vehicle body."

2021 Mercedes-Benz S-Class The technology is designed to better the experience for the driver and passengers.Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

Each wheel has a damper that is installed inside the axle. That damper's two working chambers have an adjustable damping valve and a hydraulic pressure reservoir. Each damper is connected to an iltelligent motor/pump that works via attachment to the car's 48-volt network by hydraulic lines. The motor/pump regulates the flow of hydraulic fluid, enabling adjustment. All four motors/pumps are coordinated by a central control unit.

The system utilizes five processors, 20 sensors, and a stereo camera to work. In addition not absorbing bumps, the system counters body roll, pitch, and lift.

While in Comfort driving mode, the road surface scan uses the camera to monitor the road surface ahead of the vehicle. The system then utilizes spring struts to reduce body movement. In Curve driving model, the car is allowed to lean into the bends. Mercedes says that the Curve driving mode is helpful for passengers with sensitive stomachs.

When opting for E-Active Body. Control, buyers also have access to new Pre-Safe functionality. When a lateral collision is detected, the vehicle body can be raised by the suspension within a few tenths of a second. This move directs the forces of the impact towards the most resistant structures in the lower area of the vehicle. This can lessen the amount of impact passed onto the cabin and its passengers.

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