Grab Your Stick: Acura Tl Gets Manual Transmission
OK, so you're probably wondering what Acura's grandpa-spec TL is doing on the hallowed pages of Turbo. Well, in addition to a raft of changes made for the '09 model year, Acura has decided to bless the SH-AWD-equipped TL with a manual transmission for 2010, finally giving the midsized sedan a proper chance at endearing itself to performance enthusiasts.
The new six-speed cog swapper will be available on the TL this fall and will be the first model with Honda's SH-AWD system to feature a manual gearbox. The six-speed manual also weighs significantly less than the standard five-speed auto unit, delivering a weight saving of 110 pounds and improving the TL's front-rear weight balance.
The 6MT all-wheel-drive TL also gets re-valved dampers, firmer springs, thicker front driveshafts, and stiffer engine and transmission bushings. Not only that, but the standard 3.7L VTEC-equipped V-6 spits out a very handy 305 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque. With a curb weight of 3,893 pounds, the TL is still a little bit on the porky side, but hey, with 300-plus horses, all-wheel drive, and a decent stick shift, the '10 TL has all the makings of a fine VIP ride.
Mitsubishi Engages Flux Capacitor And Brings Back Rally Car Of The Future
As their submission to the L.A. Auto Show's annual design challenge (theme: Motorsports 2025), Mitsubishi exhibited its incredible and somewhat outrageous MMR25 rally car concept.
Looking like the bastard lovechild of a Formula 1 car, and one of those giant robots from Neon Genesis Evangelion, the MMR25 flaunts an elaborate body that appears to be constructed entirely out of spoilers. The driver sits in a windowless central pod and views the MMR25's progress through a panoramic video screen, which uses a 360-degree array of cameras to film the outside world.
Video pod and outlandish bodywork aside, the most mental aspect of the MMR25 concept would have to be the vehicle's all-electric drivetrain. There are four "wheels," just like any normal car, however, the difference is that the MMR25's rollers are made up of eight individual mini-wheels, each with their own internal electric motor. Mitsubishi calls it 8x4-wheel drive, but we call it a maintenance nightmare.
So, what's the likelihood we'll see the MMR25 enter production? Do you remember how 20 years ago we all thought we'd be zooming about in fusion-powered hover cars by 2001? Well, Mitsubishi's vision of the future of motorsport is kind of like that.
Civic Hybrid Race Car
Among magazine readers, Honda's Civic hybrid enjoys its reputation of being the car of choice for economy-conscious retirees and grown-up tree-huggers. However, the lads over at the British firm Oaktec have a different view of the fuel-sipping compact sedan. They see it as a viable platform for rally and circuit racing.
Oaktec built a Honda Insight rally car, which already brought home five class victories in Old Blighty, however, they've now decided to explore the motorsport potential of the Civic hybrid, calling in chassis tuning legend, Lotus Engineering, to help do the job. While the 1.3L motor, CVT gearbox, and hybrid drive system remain largely unchanged, Lotus has decided to tweak the regenerative braking system and batteries to boost power production and keep those electrons flowing. If you drive this thing sensibly, Oaktec says you'll get 50 mpg without any problems. Try and do that in your 18-year-old 240SX drift hatchback.
The suspension has also been fettled for circuit racing duty and the whole car has been built to Group N specifications, meaning much of the interior has been deleted in favor of a full 'cage and there's now a fire-suppression system in place to deal with any unwanted flames.