"The overall design of the Acura Concept TL conveys a feeling of tension," says its chief designer, Jon Ikeda, "like the muscles on a sprinter's arms and legs when he's ready to launch off the starting line." The implication is that the exterior design of the first-generation TL, a highly successful and well-regarded sedan now in its fifth model year, is more akin to the muscles of a middle-aged couch potato as he reaches for another bag of potato chips. In any case, the tautly drawn sedan pictured here is very much the car you'll see at Acura dealerships late this year as the second-generation, 2004 TL. "It is the big brother to the TSX," adds Ikeda. "We wanted to bump up the styling a notch. When you're on the 405 [freeway in Los Angeles], you're looking at the back end of cars more than the front, so we wanted to make sure the rear-three-quarter angle makes the car look fast and aggressive." As with the current car, expect a V-6 engine driving the front wheels, but this time with more than 250 horsepower and an optional six-speed manual transmission. The TL also will boast the world's first automotive application of multichannel DVD Audio 5.1 -- which Acura claims will redefine original-equipment automotive audio -- Bluetooth wireless telephone connections, and XM Satellite Radio. Take a good look at the TL and the recently introduced TSX: Both portend the long-overdue, next-generation RL sedan, which we'll be seeing in fall 2004.
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