2002 Acura 3.2 CL -- Body

The CL's dynamic styling portrays a youthful, aggressive spirit while maintaining a timeless, classic, coupe design. The CL rivals the segment's best competitors in all areas, including fit and finish, safety, structural performance and overall refinement.

Tightly controlled noise and vibration keep the interior calm and quiet. Heat-rejecting green glass helps provide the driver and passengers with a climate-controlled, spacious view from the inside. Rigid door structures are created by laser welding sheet steel of different thickness together before forming, adding more strength at the door hinge, while lowering overall weight. Further refinements include a jointless front and rear windshield molding, and gas pressurized hood supports.

Noise, Vibration and Harshness (NVH) is controlled by various elements throughout the vehicle including foam sound barriers in all body pillars, triple door seals, a high density dashboard insulator, and asphalt-based sandwich melt sheets in rear wheel-house regions and in the floor.

A 13.6 cubic foot trunk provides generous utility space while spacious head, leg, shoulder and hip room for front and rear passengers combine for a total passenger volume of 90.0 cubic feet.

As in all Acura vehicles, safety advancements provide occupants with enhanced protection. Side-impact door beams, an upper door panel stiffener structure and door lining pads create a strong outside structure to help keep the driver and passengers safe inside. Reinforced side sills with added bulkheads for offset and side impact protection, thick floor cross members and strengthened front pillars and roof side rail sections provide additional impact protection. Additionally, reinforced center floor pillars help reduce body deformation during a side impact.

Vehicle security is a priority for Acura owners and several steps have been taken to keep potential intruders at bay. Reinforced door key cylinders, full frame windows and special body shielding protects door-locking mechanisms and latches to make a break-in more difficult. A standard immobilizer and security system cuts fuel feed to the engine and sounds an alarm in the event of tampering.

Sophisticated corrosion resistance techniques have been employed to lengthen the life of the CL's body. Double-sided galvanized steel panels as well as anti-acid-etch clear coat on dark colors protects paint from acid rain and other corrosive elements. An anti-chipping primer is applied to leading edges of hood and fenders, and PVC and wax sealer are applied to the underbody to ensure a long-lasting body structure.

The CL's exterior is styled to exude the classic lines of 2-door coupes of the automotive past. Acura's own styling cues were adapted from the NSX supercar as well as from the original Legend Coupe. A long sculpted hood and a short, rear deck along with large diameter, performance wheels and tires mark the key styling elements for this coupe.

A signature Acura family grille adorns the front of the CL and a center character line creates a sporty fascia. The lines flow over the xenon / high intensity discharge (HID) headlights, initiating a character crease that flows along the side profile of the car.

The large greenhouse glass area provides excellent visibility and has been shaped to mimic that of the original Legend coupe, a winning design that has greatly influenced Acura's style since its inception.

A blunt tail design encompasses a large trunk area bookended by triangular tail lights, providing a sporty rear design.

The CL coupe incorporates the latest techniques to achieve an uncompromised level of fit and finish. Stiffened door structures, laser-welded inner door panels, special plastic-encapsulated door checkers and latches, and added sound damping materials combine to tune the closing sound of the CL's doors. Special power window motors increase window speed while also reducing noise.

Key features:

  • Body gaps, specifically the front grille gap, door/fender cut line gap, outer door handle gap, and front and rear bumper gaps, are minimized to reduce wind noise and complement a more streamlined cosmetic appearance.
  • A very thin center B-pillar provides a clean, seamless side glass appearance.
  • The windshield wiper stopping position is beneath the hood to enhance visibility.
  • Under-hood wiper washer nozzles are used.

The CL's unit body maximizes torsional and bending rigidity without adding unnecessary weight to achieve significant improvements in ride, handling and noise reduction. This rigid structure allows the suspension mounting points to maintain a consistent position, resulting in improved handling and ride comfort.

The CL's passenger "safety cage" was engineered from the earliest stages of development to meet tough safety regulations. Using super computers to conduct extensive crash simulations, engineers studied impact forces on a "virtual car" to supplement actual prototype crash testing. These tests led to the development of numerous safety innovations in the design of the CL.

In frontal impacts, straight-section frame box rails with large cross-sections feed impact energy directly into the main frame structure. To meet 2002 federal head-impact safety regulations, the CL's interior has energy absorbing roof-pillar garnishes and roof lining designed to help reduce injury to the occupants. To deal with offset-impact energy, reinforcements are placed at the roof side rails, floor frame, A-pillars and front and side frame members.

Extensive reinforcements were made to the CL's structure to help protect occupants during side impacts. The B-pillar thickness was increased and stiffened to minimize the possibility of intrusion during a side impact while a substantial cross member runs transversely across the floor pan to reinforce the passenger cabin structure. The doors have special, twin side-impact reinforcement beams as well as impact-absorbing door-lining pads.

Throughout the body, features like foam roof pillar separators, wheel arch extension melt sheets and vacuum-controlled hydraulic engine mounts minimize noise intrusion into the car's interior. Noise attenuation material is used throughout the CL, resulting in a vehicle that is serenely quiet, making long trips less fatiguing. Triple door seals, an increased density dashboard insulator and a fiberglass hood insulator capture the varying degrees of NVH. Increased rigidity of the steering hanger beam, steering column shaft and accelerator cable bracket allow for a reduction of vibration in the steering wheel and gas pedal.

For greater security and less cluttered rear styling, the CL'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.

Like the RL and TL sedans, the CL features standard reflector-type xenon high intensity discharge (HID) low beam headlights. Three times as efficient as conventional halogen lamps, the Acura HID system uses less energy, with more than double the bulb life. The useful range of illumination on low beam increases by 39 percent and the increased beam width eliminates the need for separate fog lights. The CL's high beams use conventional halogen bulbs and operate in conjunction with HID. An auto-off feature turns off the headlights 15 seconds after the driver's door is closed or the doors are locked.

A wide range of advanced materials and technologies are used in the CL. Significant advances include:

  • Laser-welded inner door panel blanks increase strength while minimizing weight
  • High-strength steel door panels for greater dent resistance
  • Body-color drip rail roof molding
  • Lightweight fiberglass hood insulator
  • Anti-acid-etch clear coat
  • Chrome-plated injection-molded door handles
  • 100-percent of plastic materials are ABS, engineered thermoplastics, polypropylene or polyethylene and are all recyclable
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