We caught a new Acura sedan prototype night-testing in the California desert. The late-night testing was a pretty grueling affair for all involved, and the yawning test driver caught in our front-shot seemed to agree.

 

TL or TSX?

We caught a new Acura sedan prototype night-testing in the California desert. The late-night testing was a pretty grueling affair for all involved, and the yawning test driver caught in our front-¾ shot seemed to agree.

Just which Acura model we’re dealing with here isn’t exactly clear. Our personal observations of this prototype were limited to spotting a pair of headlights through the camera’s viewfinder, tracking it and trying to maintain focus, then freezing the action with the flash. Since we can say that we never really “saw” this car with the naked eye, judging it’s size is more difficult than normal daylight situations. It looks like it’s quite big in the photos, perhaps even Acura RL, big. But industry sources like Automotive News post that the next RL isn’t due until 2010 or 2011, which may be a bit far out for a test such as this. Automotive News reports that both the TL and the TSX are due for redesigns in 2009, which seems more likely to yield finished confirmation prototypes testing out in public, albeit in the inky dark of the desert. With that in mind, the apparent size of this prototype would seem to suggest that this is the new TL.

Regardless of its designation, we can see that the Acura front-end styling cues pioneered on the TL and TSX will be continued, but to an even more dramatic degree. Acura’s pointed grille now plunges well down into the front bumper, and the slitty headlights follow a similar angle, looking quite sinister in their execution. The way the camouflage is piled-on above the Acura’s mesh grille, we wonder if this new sedan will get a variation of the “shield” found on the latest MDX and also on Acura’s wacky Advanced Sedan Concept. The prototype’s lower air-intakes resemble those on the TL, but once again they look a bit more aggressive.

Although the prototype was still thoroughly camouflaged, it appears that this new Acura sedan will get a more flowing greenhouse than any current Acura model. The roofline sweeps smoothly from the A-pillar, into a steeply raked C-pillar and backlight. The rear window disguise appears to overemphasize this effect, but the car’s silhouette certainly looks to be more fluid than any sedan in the current Acura lineup.

All-wheel-drive is expected to be offered on all Acuras, beginning in 2009, so this prototype is most likely an AWD model. A V8 option may also be in the cards. When questioned about Acura’s rumored move away from its current V6-only engine lineup, Hirohide Ikeno, president of Honda R&D Americas Inc. told Automotive News: “That is our direction...I’m pushing for it.”

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New Acura Sedan Prototype Spy Shots