The new TL body is a significant departure from the previous generation TL. Based on a lengthened version of the Acura/Honda Midsize Global Platform, the new TL unit-body is 70% stronger in torsion, 80% stronger in bending, longer overall, has a wider track and more interior room than its predecessor. The front drive powertrain is now transversely mounted, in the interest of improved packaging efficiency.
The lines of the new TL, which were designed by Honda R&D in Torrance, California, have a more aggressive, athletic edge, complementedby improvements in aerodynamic performance. The new TL has a six percent better Cd than the '98 TL. Designed and engineered in America and assembled at Honda's Marysville Ohio plant.
Here are some of the highlights of the TL's new body and its related systems:
- Dynamic, dimensional lines reflect a more y outhful, aggressive spirit
- Cabin-forward silhouette
- Higher beltline and pronounced wedge shape
Quality and Refinement
- Reduced noise and vibration
- Heat-rejecting green glass
- Full frame windows for improved sealing and reduced wind noise
- Gas spring hood supports and new low-effort multilink trunk hinges provide easy operation
- Rigid door structures with improved closing sound
- Jointless front and rear windshield molding
- Foam sound barriers in all body pillars
- Extensive asphalt-based sandwhich melt sheet used in rear wheel-house regions
- Fiberglass hood insulator
- Triple door seals
- Increased density dashboard insulator
- Extensive use of asphalt melt sheets with resin applied to floor and dashboard lower Additional engine room dash board insulator
- Midsize car total interior volume (110.8 cu. ft.)
- Larger 14.3 cu. ft. trunk
- Significatnly more interior head, leg, shoulder and hip room
- Enlarged step-in room for rear passengers
Ride and handling
- Torsional rigidity has increased by 70% with only a five percent increase in the weight of the body-in-white
- Four-point strut-tower bar
- Side impact door beams
- Upper door panel stiffener structure
- Door lining pads
- Reinforced side-siills with added bulkheads for improved off-set and side impact protection
- Streghtened front pillars and roof side rail sections
- Thicker, larger floor cross members for increased side impact protection
- Reinforced center pillars reduce body deformation during side impact
- Rear door catcher reduces rear door intrusion into interior during side impact
- HID headlights
- Special shielding protects door locking mechanisms and latches to make break-in more difficult
- Standard immobilizer security system disables ignition system in the event of tampering
- Automatic on/off headlights
- Double-sided galvannealed steel panels in all high-corrosion areas
- Anti-chipping primer applied to leading edges of hood and fenders
- PVC and wax sealer applied to underbody
- Anti-acid-etch clear coat protects paint from acid rain
Concept work on the new TL started in 1995,when the driving ideas behind the TL's styling were just beginning to take shape. The inspiration for the spirit of the new car is San Francisco's exclusive Nob Hill area. Known for its fashionable international flair, upscale ambience and a uniquely youthful blending of fonnaland active lifestyles, Nob Hill sets the tone for the TL. A design team visited Nob Hill in 1995, and stayed in the famous Fainnont Hotel before beginning initial styling drawings of the new TL.
Carefully orchestrated styling elements lend the TL dynamic new elegance. In bold strokes, it has a crisper, higher beltline and more wedge-like, with the cabin positioned 95-mm farther forward.
To foster a personal feel, the greenhouse is visually distinct from the powerful lines of the body, purposely not blended into a single amorphous shape. A more pronounced shoulder to the upper body complements this feeling. High-gloss black accents on the B-pillars add a subtle upscale touch. Front end styling is mqre dimensional with the bumper and fenders swept back (in plan view) from the new grill. Reflector-type High Intensity Discharge headlights lend a technical feel to the front end. The rear styling is uncluttered, with the license plate repositioned from the middle of the rear panel, down into the rear bumper. A crisp break at the top of the rear panel lends a sporting edge, while the chrome logo and letters of the Acura name individually mounted across the rear panel make the car's luxury status apparent.
Precise Fit and Finish
Fine attention to detail is evident in the TL's fit and finish. A far-reaching effort upgraded the TL in many ways. Stiffened door structures, laser-welded blank door panels, special plastic-encapsulated door checkers and latches, and added sound damping materials all combine to improve the closing sound of the TL's doors. New power window motors increase window speed and reduce noise. Window sealing has improved as well, with the move to sash-type door structures that seal more reliably.
Many improvements are very subtle:
- Jointless front and rear windshield moldings have a more finished look
- The windshield wiper stopping position has been lowered to improve visibility
- A new Pearl White color, which will be offered late in model year '99
Unit Body Structure
To achieve significant improvements in ride, handling and noise reduction, the engineering goals for the new TL unit body centered around maximizing torsional and bending rigidity of the body without adding unnecessary weight.
Significant advances in design efficiency make the TL's body-in-white 70% stronger in torsion, with only a five percent increase in weight. Bending strength has been increased by 80% as well.
Throughout the body, features like foam roof pillar separators, wheel arch extension melt sheets and even vacuum-controlled hydraulic engine mounts are used to minimize noise intrusion into the car's interior. A total of 41.3 kg of noise attenuation material is used throughout the TL.
Typically an extra-cost option (if offered at all) on competitive cars, the TL comes standard with reflector-type High Intensity Discharge low beam headlights. Three times as efficient as conventional halogen lamps, the TL's HID system uses less electrical energy, yet produces almost twice the illumination with more than double the bulb life. The useful range of illumination on low beam increases 45%. This eliminates the need for separate fog lights. The TL's high beams use conventional halogen bulbs. An auto-off feature turns off the headlights 15 seconds after the driver's door is closed or the doors are locked.
Keyless Trunk Latch
For greater security and a more cleanly styled rear view appearance, the TL's trunk has no key cylinder. The trunk lid can be released by the keyless remote, by a button on the driver's door panel, or by a backup manual release accessible through the pass-through in the rear seatback.
Gas-Filled Hood Dampers/Link-Style Trunk Hinges
In keeping with the TL' s attention to detail, the hood is supported when open by gasfilled dampers. The trunk lid mechanism has been specially engineered with a link-style hinge that provides a more unifonn opening and closing action and is less intrusive into the storage area within the trunk.
New Material Technology
A wide range of new materials and technologies are used in the new TL. Here is a listing of the more significant advances:
- Laser-welded inner door panel balnks increase strength while minimizing weight
- High-gloss B-pillars with improved scratch resistance
- High-strength steel door panels for great dent resistance
- Side door protectors, front chin spoiler, and side still garnishes use new body-color film manufacturing technology
- Body-color roof molding
- Lightweight fiberglass hood insulator
- Anti-acid-etch clear coat
- Chrome-plated injection molded door handles
- Low modulus material applied to front spoiler for improved curb impact resistance
- 57.5% of plastic materials are polypropylene or polyethylene and high recyclable
Wind Noise Performance
Wind noise targets for the TL were set at a remarkably quiet level, which required an extensive amount of research and development to attain. All causes of wind noise were investigated, including crosswind components and their effect on total noise level. The work began on a computer simulation in early phases of development, then moved on to a full-scale wind tunnel later in the project. Besides the refined subtleties of the TL's body panel and folding side mirror shapes, many different new wind-sealing strategies were brought into play in the final car. The result is interior wind noise that is competitive with many far more expensive cars.
Acura Body Accessories
A full line of custom-designed and engineered accessories will be available for the TL through Acura dealers. Exterior accessories include a full aero kit that utilizes existing factory attachment points and preset locations, a trunk spoiler with integrated L.E.D. high-mounted brake light and comes with heavy duty trunk lid springs. Uniquely styled, chrome-plated cast aluminum wheels are also offered, as is a gold plating package.