Acura NSX ConceptEnlarge Photo
Remember the Acura NSX Concept from the 2012 Detroit Auto Show?
Of course you do--it's one of the most striking concept cars in years, and its hybrid system is a statement of intent that performance and parsimony can go hand-in-hand.
That same drivetrain will now feature in the 2013 Acura RL, reports Automotive News.
Known as Sport Hybrid SH-AWD (Super Handling All-Wheel Drive), the hybrid system pairs two rear electric motors with the internal combustion-driven front axle. Unlike Acura's current SH-AWD system, there's no mechanical connection to the rear wheels.
The system in the NSX works on similar principles, but instead uses the combustion engine to power the rear wheels, with the V6 gasoline engine mounted amidships and electric motors driving the front wheels.
The SH-AWD system is likely to be set up differently between the 2013 RL and the upcoming NSX, with the former given a much more luxury-focused setup--though Honda President Takanobu Ito is promising outstanding handling from any vehicle with the hybrid system.
It isn't clear at this stage when the AWD RL will arrive, nor whether it will be the sole drivetrain available.
It's clear that Honda is taking its hybrid technology even more seriously however, with a new two-motor hybrid system set to debut in vehicles like the Accord, and the next generation of Integrated Motor Assist hybrid technology currently in development.
The new IMA will debut in the Fit subcompact, though again the vehicle hasn't yet been confirmed for the U.S. market.
Automobile Mag also rumors that Acura could be set to adopt the 9-speed ZF automatic transmission set to debut in some Chrysler vehicles over the next few years.
The transmission is said to improve fuel economy by 10-16 percent, and engines mated to the unit would only need to turn at 1,900 rpm at 75 mph, to the benefit of highway fuel economy.