ILX in LAX! Los Angeles Int’l Auto Show

Odometer (ILX):  20,775

“Flagship.”  It’s a term referring to a vehicle that embodies the ultimate expression of an automaker’s capability.  In Acura’s case, it was a position that was held by the Legend for 10 years, from 1986 to 1995.  Then came the RL in 1996, running 17 years and retiring as a 2012 model.  The successor is now here, and it’s dressed to impress.  The 2014 Acura RLX was unveiled today, and I was there when the sheet was pulled off the production model.  I’ve been to lots of auto shows this year!  It all started with Detroit in January.  I also saw SEMA and Phoenix.  The latest destination was to Los Angeles, California for this year’s Los Angeles Auto Show.

Just two days after having returned from my Thanksgiving trip to Utah, I saddled up once again in the ILX for a long road trip.  This time, though, I had a copilot.  My Acura Legend-owning friend Branson joined for the ride.  Branson’s 1995 Legend LS coupe 6-speed is Cayman White Pearl and has only 143,000 miles it:

The drive from Phoenix to LA was around 400 miles.  Piece of cake for the ILX.  Branson’s a fun road-trip partner.  Though his OCD tendencies make things interesting sometimes (he absolutely refuses to let me set the volume at level 13 or the temperature at 73!), we have a great time laughing our way to our destinations.

Fueling up in Tonopah, Arizona just west of the Phoenix area on Interstate 10.  Branson also picked up some Powerball tickets here.  With $500M up for grabs, who wouldn’t want a shot at that?

Typical gorgeous Arizona sunset.  For a change of pace, I took the passenger seat and had Branson pilot us westward.

Too much sugar in my system.  Thanks Twizzlers Nibs.

And some rockin’ tunes to provide a soundtrack for our drive.

Fuel stop in Indio, California at Chevron.

Finally arriving in the LA area around 9:00 p.m. local time, we crossed underneath the LAX airport runway on Sepulveda Rd and got to our hotel called “Custom Hotel” on Lincoln Boulevard.  The ILX got valet parked for its first time since I’ve had it!  This is a valet-only hotel (and parking is $20 a night!  Ouch!).

The rooms are cool, though – some 1960’s decor in here including a multi-colored strobe light in the windows.  Flashy.

This morning – first things first!  After a 30 minute drive to the Los Angeles Convention Center in downtown LA on Figueroa Street, Branson and I got our media credentials.

The Acura booth was the first destination – of course.  We were greeted with some impressive design in the booth itself, and the new tagline for the RLX flagship which we’d soon see unveiled:  “Synergy of Man and Machine.”

Someone left the headlights on when they installed that car cover!

Some may recognize this car.  The Acura NSX concept vehicle.  I’ll take it!

Branson and I are soaking in all the shiny scenery.

Soon it was time for the big reveal.  Here’s a video of the first few minutes of the (total 20-minute) presentation after the cover was pulled off the RLX and it spun around before our eyes on the giant turntable.

Having owned a Honda Prelude 4WS (Four-Wheel-Steering) in the past, one of the features I was most interested in learning about on the RLX is called PAWS (Precision All Wheel Steering).

Here’s a little excerpt from today’s press release discussing the innovative technology:

Precision All-Wheel Steer™ (P-AWS) is the world’s first technology to feature independent and continuous control of the left and right rear-wheel steering (toe) angles to achieve new levels of handling agility, high- and low-speed maneuverability, and confident handling control for a two-wheel-drive luxury sedan.

Sounds pretty sweet to me!  But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.  Check out this long list of features!

  • Jewel-Eye LED headlights (an Acura first) LED lamps enhance the RLX’s modern and distinctive appearance while providing outstanding light distribution and improved down-the-road illumination.
  • Acura Navigation System with Voice Recognition™ offers a wide range of search options including local search functionality and AcuraLink Real-Time Traffic™ for both highways and surface streets.
  • Agile Handling Assist (an Acura first) uses active braking to help the driver smoothly and easily trace the desired line through a curve with smaller steering inputs.
  • Electric Parking Brake (an Acura first) provides one-touch parking brake activation.
  • Automatic Brake Hold (an Acura first) maintains the vehicle’s position when the driving or parking brake are released until the throttle is depressed.
  • Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) with Low-Speed Follow (an Acura first), allows the RLX to independently maintain a set following distance in low-speed traffic situations, including stop and go traffic, and to initiate vehicle braking when necessary.
  • Forward Collision Warning (FCW) uses a camera mounted in the upper portion of the windshield to detect vehicles ahead of the RLX and audibly and visually alert the driver when it determines a frontal collision with a detected vehicle is possible.
  • Lane Departure Warning (LDW) uses the same windshield-mounted camera to detect lane markings on the road and alerts the driver if the vehicle is wandering from a detected lane.
  • Front seatbelt e-pretensioners use electronic control to reduce belt tension under normal driving conditions, while also enabling automatic belt tensioning in hard cornering maneuvers or in the event of a collision.
  • Multi-angle rearview camera with dynamic guidelines uses guidelines that reflect steering wheel inputs on the display to aid in backup maneuvers.
  • Capless fueling (an Acura first) eliminates the fuel cap and improves ease of fueling.

Some more pictures below captured the crowd’s excitement after Jeff Conrad’s remarks.  He invited the press to come forward and join him in getting a closer look at the car.

The first of several (to me) “celebrity” encounters.  This is Scott who is an integral part of Acura’s social media program.

Acura Vice President Jeff Conrad  – someone who’s diligently followed my Legend / ILX adventures since we first met at the Drive to Five event a year ago.

And Sage Marie – Acura Sr. Manager of Public Relations – AND the lucky individual who will get to drive the race-tuned 2013 Acura ILXs at the 25 Hours of Thunderhill endurance race event soon.  This guy’s got some driving skills!

Finally this guy – a true Acura pioneer.  Kurt Antonius retired not long ago, but his history with the brand dates back to before it even existed.  Kurt is one of the key individuals who built Acura into what it is today from its early beginnings in 1986.  He told me about how Acura was originally code named “Channel 2” before it even had a real name.  It was great to visit with him again.

Checking out the technology in the RLX interior.  Even the glove compartment is electronic push-button activated!

Lunch at Rivera just a couple blocks away with some of my friends from the Social Media team.

And walking back to the Los Angeles Convention Center in overcast but comfortable weather.

As much as I would’ve loved to spend all day in the Acura booth (in fact, given the option I would’ve loved to put up a camping tent and live there), I did wander around the show.  Here are a couple of other cars that caught my eye.  This was the Infiniti “LE” concept vehicle.  It’s 100% zero emissions.

This gorgeous ride is the Lexus LF-LC.  That color is just stunning – the photo does it no justice!

This was the Audi booth.  The big news there is that Audi is rolling out 3 “TDI” (diesel) models – including the A6, the A7, the A8 and the Q5.   Clean diesel is becoming a huge piece of the market for Audi.  The president of the company reported during the press conference that 33% of the A3’s sold currently are diesel powertrains.

Exhausted and ready to roll out for the night!

It was fitting that this song – “California Love” – by Tupac, came on the XM 90’s on 9 station.  Love rocking out to this!  By the way, I also figured out how to change the color of my display screen on the dash of the ILX.  The “default” color was blue, but I felt like red fit better with the red gauges and sporty demeanor.

Acura was ranked #1 by ALG, an industry benchmark for vehicle values, in a study recently.  Acuras are known for holding their value long-term.  Great to see the brand getting the recognition it deserves!  Makes me proud to drive an Acura.

Tomorrow we’ll see a bunch of booths in the show that we didn’t get a chance to see today — including the Honda press conference at around 10:00 a.m.  I’m hoping to score a front row seat for that one like I did today for the Acura presentation.  Plus, they’ll be clearing out the chairs in the Acura booth and bringing in some of the company’s other models for us to get up close and personal with.  More pics to come — thanks for checking in!

11 Responses to “ILX in LAX! Los Angeles Int’l Auto Show”

  1. I sure enjoyed scrolling through all your photos in this post. I also enjoy putting names with faces of these “celebrities” you’re posing with. How many of these same people are boasting to the folks at home the same thing about being photographed with you? 🙂 There is lots and lots of color and metal surrounding you and Branson, the no-volume-level-at-13 chap! I could see myself in your environment right now, though surrounded with running attire and gadgets and tokens stretching booth after booth. Oh yeah — that’s called an Expo, and we will be at one in a few short weeks!

    Have a blast, boys!

    • That’s right – PF Chang’s R&R AZ awaits! Thanks for coming along with us on our auto show adventure. More to come later on after hitting up the show for Day 2. I’m going to secretly set the temperature at 73 and see how long it takes Branson to notice (and cringe).

  2. Missed ya by a few days! Damn! Oh well, I’ll enjoy the Slash show on Sunday and have a beer for ya while I’m there!

    • Hey Dave – just got home to PHX. We were about 6 hours door-to-door. Too bad our schedules didn’t align to be in LA at the same time! Hopefully you’ll get some SoCal sunshine – it was overcast and drizzly for our 2-day visit there. Have a blast at the Slash concert and swing by the Auto Show if you get a chance. The Acura booth is worth checking out.

  3. Tyler Stoker Says:

    That’s my kind of trip 🙂 PAWS sure is a cute sounding name for such a compelling feature.

    • Apparently, PAWS (from a badging perspective at least) is under hot debate. Up until the morning of the press event, the P-AWS logo was missing from the RLX trunk lid. It was added last-minute. Will it stay? Time will tell!

  4. The RLX concept looked a lot better in person than it did in pictures. I hope the production version at LA does as well and that it does for Acura what the great Legend did for the brand.

    Man the RLX’s got biggg shoes to fill. To this day people still love the Legend’s timeless and classic design.

    • Dominik – you were there at the press days, too? Would’ve loved to shake your hand! I agree – the RLX has a much better “presence” in real life than it does in pictures.

      • No, I wish I was there. I saw the concept a few months back at the NY show. If I know we would be at the same place, I’ll certainly make sure I come by to say hello.

  5. Nice write up Tyson. I changed mine to Red just after I got it as it does go with the gauges. I was going to ask you if you had tried the Red but just assumed you had and that you were liking the Blue better.

    • Terry, thanks! Yeah it took me until just now to even discover that my “i-MID” display has the capability of changing color! I’m still discovering features about this car even after this many miles. I think the red color setting is here to stay on mine. I like it. Hope you’re having a ton of fun with your 6MT ILX as well.

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