WASHINGTON – Debuting in 1986, it was the first to challenge the German luxury marques’ U.S. dominance, yet American Honda Motor Co. Inc.’s Acura brand has never quite lived up to its intentions. While its vehicles sell well enough, Acura’s image has yet to achieve par with the Mercedes-Benz and BMW brands, or even that of Toyota Motor Corp.’s Lexus. There are a multitude of reasons: Acura lacks a V-8 engine; other than the NSX supercar, no other model has rear-wheel drive; and its ...

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