As the Acura Precision Concept model made its world debut on stage at the 2016 North American International Auto Show, it begged the question of why this sedan was designed to look this way. Yes, concept vehicles are typically over-exaggerated as a rule, designed to demand attention, and if this concept ever does end up rolling down the production line, it will most likely be way more muted than what you see here today — but that still doesn’t explain why this car was crafted this way.
In its press release, Acura says that it is gunning for a “bolder, more distinctive future” when it comes to vehicle design, and that this concept embodies that dedication in every way. Developed by the Acura Design Studio in California, the Precision Concept was engineered to capture the brand’s long-lost slogan of “Precision Crafted Performance,” which was a mantra for the company during its early days. “There is no more clear promise for the Acura brand than Precision Crafted Performance” says Jon Ikeda, vice president and general manager of Acura. “We’re committed to infusing this core Acura promise into every facet of our products and every aspect of our relationship with the customer.”
The Precision Concept obviously shows Acura’s new-found affinity for high-contrast everything, and the blending of sheer surfaces with strong-armed sculpting emphasizes its focus on performance. With its ultra-low stance (which is extremely wide as well), elongated dash-to-axle ratio, deeply carved surface angles, protruding accent lines, obtusely shaped exhaust ports, and that completely polarizing Diamond Pentagon grille, Acura doesn’t seem to be pulling its punches anymore.
“The Acura Precision Concept is more than simply a concept vehicle, it is a design study model that literally will shape the direction of all future Acura products around our Precision Crafted Performance DNA,” says Dave Marek, Acura’s global creative director. “The Acura Precision Concept is the leading edge of a renewed commitment to delivering Precision Crafted Performance in every facet of the product experience and creating a powerful and very exciting direction for the next generation of Acura models.”
The Precision concept is set to be a touchstone for future Acuras. Regardless of whether it goes into production or not, there are many components that we’d love to see become the norm for the brand. That powerful stance, those flared wheel arches, the use of larger 22-inch wheels, and Michelin Pilot Super Sport performance tires all hint that Acura is taking its aggressive styling seriously. Don’t forget the Precision’s unique Jewel Constellation LED headlights, an evolved version of Acura’s current design with the use of floating tubed LED taillights making the rear end all that much more tantalizing to look at. It kind of resembles the shards of glass one finds within a kaleidoscope.
Acura keeps using the words “quantum continuum” in regards to the Precision Concept, and it’s this design theme that highlights how the exterior can influence the interior of a vehicle without negatively contrasting with it. A prime example on this car is the absence of a b-pillar, a card pulled from the retired Honda Element’s deck, and one that allows a cantilever to be installed for the floating rear seats. The center-mounted stoplight pierces the rear glass from the inside, and flows down the inside of the cabin in order to form the metallic structure that supports the rear headrests.
But perhaps the part of the interior that is most captivating to most is the “quantum continuum” blending of luxuriousness, and the use of high-tech components. Cantilevered, protruding two-tone surfaces that feature rich leather padding, the use of ultra-thin “floating” rear seats, and those hand-crafted trim pieces that are carved out of exotic wood culminate beautifully. Even the audio speaker grilles have been honed by hand and are completely made out of wood.
Other neat notables include the dual-layered instrument panels, that compact, race-inspired steering wheel complete with paddle shifters and Integrated Dynamics System (IDS) controls, that futuristic floating center meter, the clever head-up display, and that ultra-wide, curved center display screen.
When Acura global creative director Dave Marek started talking about the Precision Concept’s use of a digital human-machine interface (HMI), he said it was designed to enable a more “intuitive, advanced, and seamless connection between man and machine.” The HMI assistant scans each occupant’s facial structure upon entry, and then selects personalized features and functions for their use. Maps, audio, customized vehicle performance settings, weather, emails, you name it and need it, this program will provide it every time you saddle up. Tapping into the paper-thin, curved center screen can be orchestrated via a floating touch pad that has been suspended on the center stack, a design choice that Marek says helps the HMI program offer “a more immersive experience, bridging the gap between home theater and car.”
Crafted to explore creativity and mobility while testing the bounds of what is possible for Acura in forthcoming years, the Acura Precision Concept does have one segment already singled out for immediate exploration: sedans. The Japanese luxury automaker has long been a proponent of the four-door chassis, and although sedan sales are slipping relative to what they once were, the introduction of an extreme saloon might be an excellent follow-up to the the soon-to-be-released NSX supercar. With NSX designers Michelle Christensen and John Norman playing key roles in the creation of the Precision, we wouldn’t be bit surprised to find a potent V6 and variable suspension lurking beneath the production Precision’s angular arches some day.