Monterey Car Week, once known only for fabulous antique collector cars, is fast becoming a showcase for future design and technology. Among this year’s highlights is the Acura Precision EV concept, an SUV-shaped design study that previews some of the styling cues we can expect from the company’s first electric vehicle, due to arrive in 2024.
Taking its name from the concept that gave us a peek at current design themes way back in 2016, the Acura Precision EV takes the form of a two-row crossover that looks a bit larger than the current RDX. Unlike the novel 2016 Precision sedan concept that ushered in a whole new feel for Acura products, this EV looks familiar from the outside – though it’s clear designers massaged the brand’s current design language for an all-electric future.
That’s plainly evident in the “Diamond Pentagon” front end, although it’s no longer a traditional radiator grille. Instead, the front panel illuminates in a soft-glow, tessellated pattern, with a little welcome illumination that starts at the signature Acura caliper badge before expanding outward toward the headlights. The illuminated grille panel also includes little reliefs on each individual diamond element, helping the car project its Acuraness even when powered off. Front fog lights in the bumper corners take shape via a scattershot of individual LEDs, a motif the automaker calls “particle glitch.”
When viewed in profile, the Precision EV has a hunkered stance thanks in part to the 23-inch wheels and their swirling, five-spoke design with pixelated inserts to recall those funky foglights. A forward-canted front end is unusual for an Acura, but the peaked bonnet contours feel as familiar here as they do on the TLX and RDX. Unlike those cars’ upward-sloping character lines, the Acura Precision EV has a swooping crease that descends from the bonnet over the rear wheels before kicking back up to wrap around the hatch.
Acura says the revised look is intended to conjure images of a speedboat cutting through the waves, and the three-tone colour scheme adds to the appeal. Satin silver bodywork below the “water line” contrasts with an aquatic coat of Double Apex Blue matte-finish paint, a hue that’s likely going to become the signature colour for Acura’s EVs. Up high is a blacked-out greenhouse with a piece of brightwork that wraps above the windshield and around the roof to the D-pillar – squint and you might see shades of the third-generation MDX in that rear quarter window.
In back, the Precision EV Concept features a chiselled look, with Acura’s signature chicane-style LED taillights slightly revised with more geometric accents. The bevelled hatch comes to a point in the centre, and there’s a small rear deck just underneath the glass before the rear end falls away vertically – more nautical themes. A fin-style centre stop lamp on the roof recalls Acura’s recently revealed ARX-06 endurance racer, and down low, particle glitch lighting on each bumper corner gives the Precision EV a little symmetry.
While the concept itself doesn’t have much of an interior, Acura did reveal illustrations of the cabin that supposedly lies under the skin. The yoke-style steering wheel and bow-shaped instrument panel accents recall the cockpit of a Formula 1 racer. That performance-oriented design can be placed in “Instinctive Mode,” which puts the steering wheel within the driver’s reach and bathes the cabin in red accent lighting. But an autonomous drive mode, called “Spiritual Lounge,” retracts the steering wheel into the dash, swaps red for a cool blue, and displays a soothing underwater graphic on the infotainment and instrument cluster screens.
While that might all seem a bit woo-woo for a car’s interior, Acura is still targeting graceful, sustainable materials for its future cars. The Precision EV interior features FSC-certified wood harvested from sustainably grown sources, while the green acrylic steering wheel controls, marbled-plastic interior trim, and aluminium instrument cluster surround all come from recycled materials. Whether such bits will be ready for large-scale production by 2024 remains to be seen, but the interior styling buck Acura showed off in a no-photos, closed-door session looked beautiful and stylish.
The 2016 Precision concept offered a look at future design themes and the 2019 Type S concept previewed the return of the brand’s performance nameplate. Similarly, the Precision EV shows some tricks that Acura has up its sleeve, rather than directly presaging a future production car. We expect the particle glitch design cues, illuminated Diamond Pentagon grille, and forward-leaning stance to appear on Acura’s first EV debuting in 2024. Co-developed with GM and taking the form of a “dynamically styled SUV,” that product is otherwise shrouded in mystery. But at least now we know that parts of it will look like the bold Precision EV concept.