On Wednesday, November 28, Acura will reveal the all-new 2014 RLX sedan to a crowd of assembled journalists at the Los Angeles Auto Show. Since the reveal happens during the show’s press days, the general public will have to rely on media coverage to see the new RLX before the show opens its doors to everyone on November 30.
Acura feels your pain, and it wants to do everything it can to drum up interest for its RL replacement. With that focus in mind, Acura will broadcast the RLX reveal live on the web, beginning at 11:00 a.m. (Pacific Time, we’d guess) on November 28.
As previously reported, the 2014 RLX should closely resemble Acura’s RLX Concept, which debuted at the 2012 New York Auto Show. Unlike the concept and the current Acura RL, the production RLX is expected to debut with front-wheel-drive (at launch, anyway) instead of Super-Handling All Wheel Drive (SH-AWD). Front-drive models will get 4-wheel-steering for improved handling, though.
The hybrid SH-AWD version of the RLX should debut sometime next fall, featuring a V-6 engine driving the front wheels paired with two electric motors powering the rear wheels. Acura promises sure-footed traction, V-8 power from a V-6 engine and impressive (but still unknown) fuel economy from this version of its range-topping sedan. The SH-AWD system will also appear in Acura's upcoming NSX supercar.
The RLX will be powered by a new, direct-injected 3.5-liter V-6, rated at some 310 horsepower. Like the RL it replaces, expect the 2014 RLX to come loaded-up with technology, safety and luxury amenities.
As for details on pricing, launch date and specific equipment levels, you’ll have to wait until next Wednesday to find out, at the same time we do.
Acura took the wraps off its all-new 2014 RLX luxury-performance sedan – the most powerful, spacious, and technologically advanced Acura sedan, ever. In keeping with the Man-Machine Synergy direction of the Acura brand, the RLX utilizes an all-new direct-injection engine, lightweight body structure, and the first-ever application of Acura Precision All-Wheel Steer™ to deliver a new and dynamic driving experience unlike that of any other luxury performance sedans. The next-generation AcuraLink® cloud-based connected car system makes its debut on the new RLX, offering a broad range of convenience, entertainment and security features.
"The 2014 Acura RLX heralds the introduction of a number of new signature Acura technologies that provide the driver a feeling of connection to the product, to the road, and to the world from the very moment they enter the vehicle," said Jeff Conrad, vice president and general manager of Acura Sales. "The RLX embodies the Acura commitment to create vehicles with outstanding handling that truly respond to the will of the driver."
The 2014 Acura RLX is powered by an all-new 310-horsepower direct-injected SOHC 24-Valve i-VTEC® V-6 engine with Variable Cylinder Management, and is expected to earn best-in-class estimated EPA fuel economy ratings of 20/31/24 mpg1 (city/highway/combined). The new RLX delivers full-size interior space in a nimbler, mid-size luxury sedan package and boasts the best rear-seat legroom (38.8 inches), longest tandem seating distance (36.4 inches), and best front and rear shoulder room in the mid-luxury class.
Precision All-Wheel Steer™ (P-AWS) is the world's 1st technology to feature independent and continuous control of the left and right rear-wheel steering (toe) angles to achieve new levels of handling agility, high- and low-speed maneuverability, and confident handling control for a 2-wheel-drive luxury sedan.
As previously announced, a version of RLX featuring Acura's new Sport Hybrid Super Handling All-Wheel Drive® (Sport Hybrid SH-AWD®) technology, producing 370 horsepower with expected fuel economy ratings of 30 city/30 highway/30 combined, will debut later in 2013.
The new RLX will confidently compete in the high-end luxury sedan market with an incredible array of leading-edge technologies – including the next-generation AcuraLink™ connectivity system with AcuraLink Real-Time Traffic™ featuring freeway traffic and all-new surface street conditions, the Lane Keeping Assist System and Forward Collision Warning safety systems, and new driver-assistive technologies such as Adaptive Cruise Control with Low-Speed Follow, Agile Handling Assist dynamic braking technology and Jewel Eye™ LED headlights.
The 2014 Acura RLX is slated to go on-sale at U.S. Acura dealers nationwide in the spring of 2013 and will be available in 5 grades – the well-equipped RLX, the RLX with Navigation, the feature-packed RLX with Technology package, the RLX with Krell Audio package, and the top-of-the-line RLX with Advance package. Pricing details will be announced closer to launch.
Exterior Design and Function
The RLX follows an "aero-fused" exterior design motif with its wide and athletic stance, sharp upswept bodylines, aerodynamic greenhouse, and distinctive new Jewel-Eye™ LED headlights offering improved down-the-road illumination. The RLX's sleek upper body and numerous other aerodynamic features result in aerodynamic efficiency to best-in-class levels.
7 spoke 18x8J aluminum-alloy wheels and 245/45 R18 all-weather tires are standard, while Technology, Krell and Advance grades feature 19x8J wheels and 245/40 R19 tires. The RLX's alloy wheels also feature a noise-reducing design that lowers tire noise by 7 decibels across the audible frequency range.
Additional exterior features available on the RLX include an acoustic glass windshield and door glass, integrated power rear sunshade, front and rear parking sensors, heated and auto-dimming side mirrors, and rain-sensing windshield wipers.
Interior Design and Function
The RLX interior features premium, soft touch materials throughout, with the tasteful application of premium metal and wood-grain accents. A stitched leather instrument panel, center console and steering wheel, along with available Milano perforated leather seats, communicate a new level of craftsmanship and refined luxury appeal in Acura's top-of-the-line sedan.
Luxury form and function are smartly integrated in the RLX's new center console, featuring dual screens – an 8-inch Navigation screen and a 7-inch On-Demand Multi-Use Display™ touch screen – that provide easy and direct 1-touch access to key functions, including audio, air conditioning, navigation and text-to-voice SMS text message function. The sliding, leather-trimmed armrest conceals a storage compartment with USB connectivity, 12-volt accessory power outlet and space to store a tablet device.
Additional interior comfort and convenience features include push-button start, power tilt and telescoping steering, power sunroof, tri-zone automatic climate control, and Bluetooth® HandsFreeLink®.
The standard 10-speaker ELS® audio system includes HD radio™, XM radio, Pandora® interface, USB connectivity, and an auxiliary jack. The RLX with Technology package is equipped with a 14-speaker Acura/ELS® Studio premium audio system. The Krell Audio and Advance grades receive an all-new Krell ultra-premium system that sets a new benchmark for high-fidelity sound in a luxury vehicle.
Whether on a serpentine mountain pass, congested city street, or cramped airport parking deck, and in all weather conditions, the RLX with Precision All-Wheel Steer™ (P-AWS™), is designed to deliver an unprecedented level of handling precision and control.
Working in concert with Vehicle Stability Assist® (VSA®) with Traction Control and Agile Handling Assist dynamic braking system, P-AWS™ provides enhanced vehicle stability, maneuverability, and control. The RLX's handling performance is further elevated by its new double-wishbone front and multi-link rear suspension system with Amplitude Reactive Dampers, and new high-output, belt-type electronic power steering.
All RLX models have 4-wheel disc brakes with high-friction pads and a 4-channel anti-lock braking system (ABS), along with new Hydraulic Brake Boost that improves brake pedal feel. New Electric Parking Brake with Automatic Brake Hold, and high-efficiency Vehicle Stability Assist™ (VSA®) are additional 1sts for Acura.
New Direct Injected VTEC® V-6 with VCM
The 2014 RLX is powered by an all-new 3.5-liter direct-injected SOHC i-VTEC® V-6 engine with Variable Cylinder Management. Rated at 310 horsepower and 272 lb.-ft. of torque, the engine delivers exceptional drivability, with more than 90-percent of its peak torque produced from 2000 rpm to 6600 rpm. Variable Cylinder Management™ with 3-cylinder and 6-cylinder operation works in concert with the VTEC valvetrain to deliver superb cruising efficiency. The engine is mounted to a lightweight and rigid aluminum front subframe using a vibration-canceling Active Control engine Mount (ACM) system.
The new engine is mated to a reengineered Sequential SportShift 6-speed automatic transmission with revised gearing, an intuitive selector and steering-wheel-mounted shift paddles. A driver-selectable Sport mode provides more aggressive shift points and more pronounced engine braking during deceleration, along with manual operation.
AcuraLink® Connectivity System
The RLX is equipped with the next-generation of the AcuraLink® connectivity system, delivering a bevy of new information, media, convenience, and security services via embedded 2-way communications and web-enabled devices. AcuraLink® leverages the Aha™ by Harman cloud-based interface to provide users with thousands of customizable media and connectivity choices. Next-generation AcuraLink® also delivers an array of available security and convenience features, such as AcuraLink Real-Time Traffic™ featuring freeway traffic and all-new surface street traffic, airbag deployment notification, stolen vehicle tracking, remote locking and unlocking, security alarm notification and 24-hour personalized concierge services for restaurant reservations and more.
Advanced Safety, Visibility, and Driver Assistive Technology
The RLX offers a comprehensive list of leading-edge technologies, including Lane Departure Warning, Lane Keeping Assist system, Forward Collision Warning and Collision Mitigation Brake system safety technologies, Adaptive Cruise Control with Low Speed Follow driver assist system, and Blind Spot Information and Multi-Angle Rearview Camera with Dynamic Guidelines enhanced visibility systems.
Featuring Acura's next-generation Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ II (ACE™ II) body structure, the RLX is anticipated to earn top-level safety ratings, including a 5-star NCAP Overall Vehicle Score, and IIHS ‘Top Safety Pick' rating as well as a GOOD rating in the new IIHS small overlap frontal crash test.
Additional details on key advances and technologies for the all-new 2014 RLX:
Class leading interior space based on the RLX's longer wheelbase and efficient packaging. At 196.1 inches, the RLX is similar in length to the outgoing RL, but it has a 2-inch longer wheelbase and is nearly 2 inches wider, placing the new RLX well above the norm in the mid-luxury class. The flagship RLX sedan has up to 3 inches more rear legroom than competing models, including the BMW 535i, Lexus GS350 and Audi A6.
Extensive use of lightweight materials includes the application of high-strength steel to 55 percent of the body, and the intensive use of aluminum—for the front fenders, hood, steering hangar beam, front and rear bumper beams, front subframe, and front and rear door outer panels (mated to steel inner panels). The RLX weighs in at 3,933 pounds. Static bending and torsional body rigidity are up 52 percent and 46 percent, respectively.
Jewel-Eye LED headlights (an Acura 1st) LED lamps enhance the RLX's modern and distinctive appearance while providing outstanding light distribution and improved down-the-road illumination.
Acura Navigation System with Voice Recognition™ offers a wide range of search options including local search functionality and AcuraLink Real-Time Traffic™ for both highways and surface streets.
Agile Handling Assist (an Acura 1st) uses active braking to help the driver smoothly and easily trace the desired line through a curve with smaller steering inputs.
Electric Parking Brake (an Acura 1st) provides 1-touch parking brake activation.
Automatic Brake Hold (an Acura 1st) maintains the vehicle's position when the driving or parking brake are released until the throttle is depressed.
Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) with Low-Speed Follow (an Acura 1st), allows the RLX to independently maintain a set following distance in low-speed traffic situations, including stop and go traffic, and to initiate vehicle braking when necessary.
Forward Collision Warning (FCW) uses a camera mounted in the upper portion of the windshield to detect vehicles ahead of the RLX and audibly and visually alert the driver when it determines a frontal collision with a detected vehicle is possible.
Lane Departure Warning (LDW) uses the same windshield-mounted camera to detect lane markings on the road and alerts the driver if the vehicle is wandering from a detected lane.
Front seatbelt e-pretensioners use electronic control to reduce belt tension under normal driving conditions, while also enabling automatic belt tensioning in hard cornering maneuvers or in the event of a collision.
Multi-angle rearview camera with dynamic guidelines uses guidelines that reflect steering wheel inputs on the display to aid in backup maneuvers.
Capless fueling (an Acura 1st) eliminates the fuel cap and improves ease of fueling.
Acura just unveiled their new flagship sedan, the RLX, and there's 2 things you'll notice right away: it's kind of boring looking, but, damn, does it have a lot of headlights. Like 8 per side. Sure, they're small LED units and not the colossal sealed-beams of yore, but still, it's some pretty aggressive face-jewelry for what is otherwise a fairly elegant if restrained car. It sort of like if Helen Mirren smiled to reveal a massive, diamond-studded grille.
Aside from the looks, the RLX is packed with some very cutting-edge tech, and its clear that Honda is looking to reposition itself as a technological leader after a period of some indifference. For example, this car will be the first of theirs to feature direct-injection, which is becoming almost common among their competitors.
The RLX also has such advanced goodies as a hybrid version with 3 electric motors, 1 on the tranny (about 30 HP or so) and 1 for each rear wheel (about 27 HP per motor), making it an AWD car. Each of the rear wheel motors is independently controllable, which allows the hybrid RLX to use torque vectoring on the rear wheels to dramatically (the film promised me) improve handling and braking. The combo of the 3 motors and the 3.5 L V6 should come to about 370 HP and 30 combined MPG. Not bad!
There's a FWD, non hybrid version as well that just uses the V6 for about 310 HP, and gets 20 city/ 31 HWY/ 24 combined MPG. The FWD version also gets some rear-wheel wobble love as well, thanks to Acura's Precision All Wheel Steer system, which they name (and badge the car) as P-AWS.
P-AWS as a name sounds like some lost Disney movie from the early 80s about a cybernetic sheepdog that helps some kids save their grandma's house or some shit. I can almost picture the scene where the kids look deeply into the blinky LED eyes of an injured P-AWS and cry "P-AWS! Please don't die! We love you!" Spolier alert: P-AWS is okay!
Oh, right, back to the real P-AWS. Honda is leveraging their decades of playing with 4-wheel steering systems in Preludes and whatnot and now has what seems to be an effective system that controls toe-in and toe-out for each rear wheel. Also, under heavy braking, both rear wheels toe-in like a skier slowing down. Again, this seems like a very welcome bit of tech that could have real handling benefits.
The overall weight is down from the RL by about 275 lbs, thanks in part to aluminum fenders, hood, and door skins. So, if you're a locksmith with a magnetic door sign, I think we've just ruled out the RLX for you. Sorry.
The interior is quite nice on the RLX, as a flagship executive sedan should be, with very nice feeling materials all over the damn place. Even the inside door handles have a pleasing rubbery grip. There's 3 full-color LCD screens on the dash, 2 huge stacked ones and a small one in the cluster. It sort of looks silly, and makes me think less, bigger screens may not be a bad idea, like the Tesla Model S or something. 1 nice thing is that while the lower screen handles all sorts of climate and infotainment duties, most commonly-used controls are repeated in a nice, compact, physical cluster below.
Comfort is a big, big deal to Acura right now. They're using, for the 1st time in a car, real acoustic glass for the side windows, they have the biggest interior cabin room in the segment, and I heard a rumor that if you lick the headliner it tastes like butterscotch.
1 weird thing about the interior I can't really explain is this funny little trapdoor to view the frame number. It's even labeled "FRAME NUMBER." Is easy frame number access a big selling point in this segment? It looks pretty handy to stash just a little bit of drugs or a couple vials of illegal tiger urine as well.
There's also a very high-end sound system sourced by Krell, whom I should have heard of if I knew anything about high-end audio, which I don't. At least that's what Acura VP Jeff Conrad said, but I'm not so sure if I trust him because he kept pronouncing "concierge" with a strange "shhh" sound in the middle that was really grating.
All told, the RLX seems like a lot of impressive technology in a clean but anonymous package. However, if your car-buying criteria demands over a dozen headlights, lots of interior room, and rapid, no-fuss frame number access, boy are you in luck.
Once upon a time, Acura pushed the cutting edge of cabin technology, pioneering such features such as navigation and active noise cancellation. But times changed and Acura didn't, letting other automakers steal the high-tech mantle. Now Acura fights back with the RLX, a new high-end sedan with some odd quirks.
By and large, premium and luxury automakers use rear-wheel-drive for their flagship sedans, an architecture maintained more out of tradition than real necessity. Acura has alway bucked this trend, and continues to do so with the RLX. This model will launch as a front-wheel-drive car sporting a 3.5-liter direct injection engine.
But current standards, that specification is nothing to write home about, as even economy car makers go to direct injection. However, later next year Acura promises a much higher tech drivetrain, this 1 incorporating a hybrid system and all-wheel-drive. The 3.5-liter V-6 will remain, and get added power from an electric drive system at the rear wheels. As with other hybrids, the battery pack will recapture energy that would have been lost from braking.
The hybrid version should not only add significant power, but Acura estimates it will get 6 mpg better for average fuel economy than the front-wheel-drive V-6 version.
Acura boasts a few intriguing technologies for the new sedan. For one, it will come with LED headlights standard, wide arrays that bookend the Acura shield grille. LED headlights use much less power than current bi-xenon lamps, and should last much longer, as well. In addition, LED headlights allow for a more tightly defined throw pattern.
The front-wheel-drive model will also get an innovative handling technology, four wheel steering. Acura calls this system Precision All-Wheel Steer. It is designed to work in concert with traction control and stability technologies to allow for fast, stable cornering. The all-wheel-drive hybrid version will not feature this technology, but should offer torque vectoring at the rear wheels.
The exterior of the RLX looks unremarkable, a long, smooth-sided sedan with little ornamentation. Its most distinguishing features are its grille and headlights. However, what could be seen as lack of flair becomes understatement when you sit in the cabin, which exudes a sense of luxury through its materials and design.
Most telling for the luxury experience is an optional 14 speaker Krell audio system, a step up from the standard 10 speaker ELS system. During an in-car demo on the show floor, the system delivered an incredibly dynamic audio experience. Playing tracks with traditional instruments on an Acura demo CD, the entire range of a single note from a bass guitar came through clearly, while the vocal reproduction made it sound like the singers were in the car. For those who appreciate music, this system will offer plenty of satisfaction.
Krell is not a generally familiar name, playing in the high-end audio world. The company spent 4 years during the development of the RLX, coming up with speaker technologies and placement, and refining the system's output. Beyond its sound quality, the system announces its presence with nice, metal grilles on the door speakers.
The dashboard of the RLX on display in Los Angeles had two LCDs in the center stack, which was reminiscent of the 2013 Accord model recently launched by Honda. In the Accord, the screen arrangement is an inelegant solution to building cars with and without a navigation option. For the RLX, Acura should have either made navigation standard, and consolidated infotainment on one screen. Alternatively, the company could have just made a single screen host only phone and audio information when the navigation option was not present. The 2 screen system is a little strange.
The RLX will also offer a host of driver assistance features, from blind spot monitoring to adaptive cruise control, helping it compete with other luxury flagships.
The front-wheel-drive RLX model should go on sale in the 1st half of 2013, with the hybrid model following in the 2nd half.
The anticipated reveal of the replacement for the Acura RL has finally made its debut at the 2012 New York International Auto Show. The all-new Acura RLX will make its production debut in early-2013, as a 2014 model year, giving Honda’s luxury lineup a head start for 2014.
We were all starting to wonder exactly what was in store for the RLX, since Acura announced its debut. Some of the questions that arose were around its power plant and whether or not this would simply be a restyled RL with an “X” on the end of its nameplate.
Acura answered all of those pertinent questions and then some at the auto show, as it pulled the sheet off of the new RLX and surprised everyone with a vehicle that bears little to no resemblance to its predecessor, something Honda Motor Company does not typically do. For the most part, Hondas tend to evolve rather slowly, with the exception of the latest Civic model, and rarely do we see big-time changes.
This all-new sedan is set to do battle with 2 newly redesigned imports, both of which debuted at the same auto show. On 1 side, you have the completely refreshed Toyota Avalon and on the other side, you have the redesigned Lexus ES 300h.
Can the RLX possibly fend off these 2 sister vehicles?
UPDATE 11/28/2012: Acura has unveiled the production model RLX and we have updated the gallery and the review with the pictures of the all-new production-ready RLX.
UPDATE 12/03/12: Remember when Audi sort of popularized the trend of using LED lights some years back? Well, if the Jewel Eye ever becomes a big thing, you can point to Acura and the new RLX for starting that trend. Check out the technology behind the Jewel Eye LED headlamps by clicking on the photo above.
As we laid out earlier, with the exception of bearing the Lexus emblem, having 4 wheels, and 4 doors, the RLX concept is nothing like the 2012 RL.
The 2014 RLX concept features Acura’s “Keen Edge” design, with a sleeker front end and a swooping roofline, which puts it in about the same design class as the other upcoming models in 2013 and 2014. It also gets Acura’s new Jewel Eye LED headlights, which are in a dual-stack array and include 10 high-intensity LED nodes. These both lower energy consumption and increase your nighttime vision. Its ultra-reflective lenses help increase visibility, as well as give the RLX a distinctly bright look from the front.
The new RLX is roughly the same overall length of the current RL, but its wheelbase is 2 inches longer. This gives it a better stance, allowing it to ride more comfortably without compromising its handling. Fitted on this concept vehicle were 20-inch forged aluminum wheels with 255/35R20 high-performance rubber wrapped around them.
Its high-strength steel and aluminum body construction help keep this sedan well below the 4,000-pound mark.
There’s not too much to say about the design and aesthetics of the interior, as Acura did not provide too much information on this. All we have are some images we captured of the interior at the auto show. From what we see, the RLX will feature a multi-tone scheme on the inside with lightly contrasting colors.
On the technical side, Acura got pretty in-depth on what to expect. The RLX has very advanced communications, navigation, and infotainment systems. It also features a pair of LCD touch screens – 1 8-inch and 1 7-inch – which control various components throughout the vehicle, including: the HVAC system, navigation, and hand-free cell phone usage.
Brand new to Acura is the AcuraLink feature. This is a cellular communication system, much like GM’s OnStar system, that initiates emergency calls when airbags deploy, track the RLX if it is stolen, remote locking and unlocking, alarm notifications, and concierge service.
There are 2 audio systems offered on the RLX. The base system is a 14-speaker ultra-premium system and the optional system is Acura’s signature ELS surround system. As with all modern cars, this audio system is essentially a computer in itself. It has MP3 compatibility and can accept USB devices, so you can load a ton of MP3s on a flash disc and never have to mess with a CD again.
For slightly more traditional audio enjoyment, the RLX features Pandora or Aha internet radio interfaces, or HD radio. The 2 former mediums will require you to pair up a smartphone with Bluetooth capabilities. Oh, and make sure to have an unlimited data plan – that can get pricey. Also with a paired Bluetooth phone you can perform all of the basic phone functions – email, texting, and calling – via the RLX’s touch screen interface. You can also preload text messages into the system, so you can reply to messages. There is no option for voice-to-text yet, so you’ll have to preload those lols, l8trs, hahas, brbs, and other textinese words into the system.
On to the RLX’s navigation system. The RLX will have Acura’s Navigation System with Voice Recognition as an available option. This will also have a Bing search feature and AcuraLink’s real-time traffic updates.
Engine and Drivetrain
Now let’s have a look at what makes this thing go vroom-vroom. Under the hood on front-wheel-drive RLXs is an all-new V-6 engine that cranks out 310 horsepower. The top-end trim level on the RLX will feature Acura’s new Sport Hybrid SH-AWD system, which are 3 electric motors that combine with 1 gasoline engine. The gasoline engine in the top-level RLX is an all-new direct-injected 3.5-liter VTEC engine. With the SH-AWD system, this car produces over 370 horsepower.
The hybrid engine links to a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, but there is no news on the transmission for the front-wheel-drive models. Acura claims this new Sport Hybrid SH-AWD RLX will offer V-8 acceleration with 4-cylinder fuel economy. With estimates at 30 mpg city and 30 mpg highway, this looks like it may be a true statement.
The RLX features a collision mitigation system, which brakes when the car senses it is going to hit an object, but only after warning the driver. It will also feature a lane departure warning, which alerts the driver when he veers out of his lane without signaling.
The RLX also features federally mandated front driver’s and passenger’s air bags, but also features side curtain air bags and a driver’s side knee bolster air bag. The RLX has reinforced front frame members to help enhance strength and disperse the energy created in a crash. Acura anticipates the RLX to get 5-star overall safety ratings – fairly lofty goals for a car not even in production yet.
Of course, there is no pricing available yet for the 2014 RLX. All we know is that the current RL’s price starts at $48,585.
Let’s start with the newly and not-so-secretly redesigned Avalon. 1st we’ll start by saying the Avalon looks 100 times better than the 2012 model year, but it’s still lacking something in looks. The rear slopes downward, much like the RLX, but the rest of it just looks a little overdone.
As for the Avalon’s powertrain, Toyota left us all in the dark. All we know from its release is that it’ll bear a V-6 engine, which we all assume will be a 3.5-liter. We do know that Avalon will feature a paddle shifter and 2 drive modes, regular and sport. The rest of the drivetrain is a mystery.
The audio systems and safety systems in the new Avalon all are pretty much equal with the RLX – crash mitigation, lane detection, ABS, and stability control – with the exception of lacking an equivalent to the AcuraLink emergency system and that the Avalon has more air bags.
The interior of the Avalon is a definite improvement, as it no longer looks like an upgraded Camry. It features wood accents, 6.1-inch touch screen audio system and an optional 7-inch LCD navigation system. A soft white ambient lighting in the interior really sets it all off, giving it a luxurious look and feel. The Avalon has no pricing information yet, but the 2012 pricing starts at $33,195 and Toyota has already announced price hikes in the coming model year. So, expect to see the Avalon to start in the $36,000 range.
The new Lexus ES hasn’t quite grown on us just yet. It looks a little too much like the recently redesigned Fusion, but a little less stylish. The oversized grille looks a little odd and the body lines are pretty boring. On the rear end, though, the ES looks good. It bears the same swooping roofline as the Avalon and RLX, but not the exaggerated C-pillar.
The ES will come as either a 2.5-liter hybrid or a 3.5-liter gasoline-only vehicle, but just like with the Avalon, there is little information on power output. The only bit of info Lexus shared was that the 2.5-liter is anticipated to get around 40 mpg in the city and the 3.5-liter will have a 6-speed transmission.
The Lexus’s interior takes a driver-centric approach, positioning all of the important items right in the driver’s sight. This doesn’t mean the passenger doesn’t get anything though. The seats have been sculpted to increase comfort. There are an additional 2.8 inches of knee room and 4.1 inches of legroom in the front. Just like its sister Avalon, the Lexus ES has optional ambient lighting to help add to its luxurious feel.
Just like the Toyota, the Lexus has about the same safety features as the Acura, but it does have Lexus Safety Connection, which is Lexus’s answer to AcuraLink. Just like the Toyota, the Lexus has 10 air bags, far more than the RLX.
The infotainment system in the Lexus is simply ridiculous, It has Lexus’s next-generation Enform system that allows you to search via Bing, and access iHeartRadio, MovieTickets.com, OpenTable, Pandora, Yelp, and Facebook Places all using a paired smartphone.
The standard stereo system only includes 8 speakers, compared to the 14 in the RLX, but it has all of the same features as the Acura, plus the aforementioned Enform system. The optional stereo has a total of 15 speakers and includes a DVD player, iTunes tagging, SiriusXM, an 8-inch display, and a Mark Levinson amplifier that doubles the stereo’s power, yet reduces electrical consumption. The anticipated price for the ES is unknown, but it shouldn’t stray much higher than the current $36,725 starting price.
The honest answer here is that there is still not enough information on any of these models to make a conclusion. The Avalon is nice looking and the interior is great, but we have information on its drivetrain. The ES, on the other hand, doesn’t look right to us, but you may love its looks. It has awesome technology features, but again there are no good details on the drivetrain yet.
The Acura looks to be the most expensive of the group, and we have no real idea what’s going to be happening with the interior. So we will keep an eye out for more information to come out on the Acura, Toyota, and Lexus.
- New and fresh design
- Powerful gasoline-hybrid drive system
- Loads of safety features
- Lack of interior details
- No 4-cylinder option
- Will likely be far more expensive than the competition
@ 21-23 seconds: There is something different about the exterior door handles. There is not just a dip for your hand to fit in, there seems to be an extra layer added there but not sure what for. I would have understood the extra piece if it were a different color like chrome or material but it seems to match the car.
@ 49 seconds: Looks like Acura is no longer making the back echo the front by ditching the pentagram shape around the license plate. Wish that they have closed off the interior 4the side of the tail lights with the LED tubing.
@ 1:17: I like the fog light area. The section is usually one of the weakest parts of Honda/Acura design where it looks like they just added the fog lights/vents as an afterthought. This appears to be integrated into the design well.
@ 1:40: Heated rear seats I believe is an Acura 1st ... ? What does that middle button do? Looks like the dial (temp control?) lights up - nice touch.
@ 1:56: 4 out of the 6 buttons are in use. Wonder what the last 2 are for.
@ 2:21: They are doing the ceiling cut-out again so rear passengers still have more head room
Still not a fan of the wood. I hope that Acura will at least give wood color options or a metal accent package to cover it.
I ponder if Acura will use that wheel resonator thing they debuted on the 2011 RL - have heard anything about it.
The Acura RLX is the largest, most technology-laden sedan from Honda's luxury brand. Arriving at U.S. dealers in the 1st half of 2014, it will succeed the generation of Acura RL sedan that's been with us since 2005, but does so under an all-new nameplate.
The RLX pioneers several new features: a new hybrid system, all-wheel drive with advanced torque vectoring, and 4-wheel steering. But technology aside, the more luxurious interior of a more spacious cabin may be just as deserving of the new name. With 2 inches more in the wheelbase and 2 inches' greater width, the new car offers more cabin space in about the same length as the old RL. Much of the car's specification was revealed by a concept car--also called RLX--shown at the New York Auto Show in April 2012.
Styling is attractive but hardly radical, with a typically aggressive Acura stance and a smooth arched roofline fronted by 'Jewel Eye' LED headlamps—framed in a dual-stacked array, with ultra-reflective optical lenses, that should be distinctive day or night.
Power is provided by Honda's well-known 3.5-liter V-6, with the optional Sport Hybrid system adding a triple-electric-motor hybrid system and a lithium-ion battery pack. 2 of the motors power the rear wheels, in the latest version of Acura's SH-AWD system--replacing the mechanical all-wheel drive of its predecessor, the RL. Anticipated fuel efficiency is in the range of 30 mpg combined. The Acura RLX will also come as a front-wheel drive model, with a 310-horsepower version of that V-6. The front-drive model, however, adds a special Precision All Wheel Steer system that changes rear-wheel toe angles with electronic actuators—using the rear wheels to aid handling responsiveness.
All RLX models will include both Forward Collision Warning and Lane Departure Warning, with Lane Keep Assist as an addition to the latter. Acura already says it expects top 5-star scores from the Federal government's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the upcoming Safety Pick Plus status from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
The 2014 Acura RLX will come in 5 trim grades: RLX, RLX with Navigation, RLX with Technology package, RLX with Krell Audio package, and RLX with Advance package. The navigation system now includes surface-street traffic, and security features include stolen vehicle tracking, airbag deployment notification remote locking and unlocking, and 24-hour concierge services. Infotainment systems use both an embedded data connection and smartphone integration. The RLX will feature a next-generation AcuraLink Communication system, with dual LCD display screens, high-end audio, the Aha streaming-audio interface, and an expanded range of infotainment and connectivity features.
Expect more details on pricing and availability over the course of 2013, as the Acura RLX gets closer to arriving on the market.
Expanding on its rich heritage of leadership in audio technology, Panasonic Automotive Systems Company of America is launching the newest generation of its acclaimed ELS audio brand — the ELS Studio Premium Audio System. The system made its debut at the LA Auto Show in November on the all-new 2014 Acura RLX and appears in the MDX prototype that Acura revealed at the auto show. ELS Studio embodies 9 years of relentless improvement to recreate the emotional experience of the recording studio.
“ELS Studio is without question the most advanced premium audio system that we have ever developed,” said Elliot “ELS” Scheiner, the multi-Grammy® Award-winning producer/engineer. “Our goal was to take premium audio to the next level by underscoring an exceptional experience for the driver. We were able to accomplish this by specifying the quality of the in-vehicle system hardware using studio equipment performance as our reference.”
ELS Studio Premium Audio is a collaboration between Scheiner, Panasonic and Acura engineers. Personally involved in each phase of development, Scheiner utilized his expertise as a professional recording engineer and producer to tune the ELS Studio Premium Audio system to the RLX’s and MDX prototype specific acoustic environments.
Each system features a new, high performance amplifier that provides powerful and accurate midrange and high frequency response with increased clarity. The RLX’s ELS Studio Premium Audio System’s 14 speakers create a dynamic listening experience for all seating positions.
2014 ELS Studio/RLX System highlights:
Hybrid, Titanium Dome Tweeters reproduce a wide frequency range and low distortion
8cm Super Dynamic Range Speaker with double press polypropylene cone providing low distortion and extended bass
17cm Super Dynamic Range Speakers in the front and rear door featuring extremely lightweight designs
20cm Super Low Distortion Driver (SLDD) Subwoofer with extended bass response
Multi-Channel Power Amplifier with 588 watts and powerful DSP for sound quality enhancements and independent control of front and rear door tweeters
“A key objective of the system was to provide listeners with the feeling of a studio sound environment inside their vehicle,” said Tom Dunn, Panasonic Automotive Systems of America, Director of Marketing and New Business Development. “With ELS Surround available throughout the Acura vehicle line-up, the ELS Studio designation serves to distinguish this system, as well as the Acura RLX and MDX, as the ultimate automotive audio experience.”
The MDX prototype will replace the current generation that’s been in production since 2007. Specifications for the 2014 MDX and the ELS Studio Premium Audio System will be announced when the production version of the car is released.
About Elliot Scheiner
After nearly 40 years in the music industry, Elliot Scheiner continues to be a highly sought-after producer and engineer. His career includes work with such music legends as the Eagles, Steely Dan, REM, Foo Fighters, Beck, Queen, Sting, Van Morrison and Eric Clapton. Scheiner has 24 Grammy nominations and has won his 7 Grammy Awards, including the 2012 Grammy for Best Surround Sound Album for Layla And Other Assorted Love Songs (Super Deluxe Edition) by Derek and the Dominos. Scheiner’s recent works include, surround mix engineer for the documentary film on the Eagles’ titled, “The History of the Eagles,” which will premier at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, and as mix engineer on Paul McCartney latest album, “Kisses on the Bottom.” His extensive industry accolades include an Emmy® for his work with the Eagles on their farewell tour broadcast and he has received 4 Emmy nominations. A TEC Hall of Fame inductee, Scheiner is the inaugural recipient of the Surround Pioneer Award, which honors individuals who have made significant groundbreaking contributions to the art of surround music production.
He holds an honorary doctorate in music from Berklee College of Music. Scheiner is the first American to be awarded the Master of Sound honor from the Japan Audio Society.
Acura offers a full line of technologically advanced performance luxury vehicles through a network of 272 dealers within the United States. The Acura lineup features seven distinctive models including the RL luxury performance sedan, the TL performance luxury sedan, the TSX Sport Wagon and sedan, the ILX compact luxury sedan, the RDX luxury crossover SUV, the MDX luxury sport utility vehicle and the ZDX four-door sports coupe.
About Panasonic Automotive Systems Company of America
Based in Peachtree City, Georgia, and with Detroit-area operations located in Farmington Hills, Mich., Panasonic Automotive Systems Company of America is a division company of Secaucus, New Jersey-based Panasonic Corporation of North America, the principal North American subsidiary of Panasonic Corporation. (PC) of Osaka, Japan, 1 of the world’s leading developers and producers of innovative digital and other electronic products for consumer, business and industrial use. Panasonic Automotive Systems Company of America also acts as the North American operating company of Panasonic’s Automotive Systems Company of Japan, which coordinates global automotive industry systems and components operations. For more information on Panasonic Automotive, please visit: Panasonic Automotive Systems Company of America-PASA.
*ELS Studio is the registered trademark of Panasonic Corporation of North America, all rights reserved. Acura, RLX, TSX, ILX, TL, RDX, MDX, and ZDX are trademarks of Honda Motor Co., Ltd. GRAMMY is the trademark of the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences, Inc.
SOURCE Panasonic Automotive Systems Company of America
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