Read the complete Acura RLX Sport Hybrid review against the Infiniti Q70L at AutoGuide.com.Acura hailed the RLX as its most sophisticated product to date when it arrived for the 2014 model year. Sadly, Nobody was listening.
In its first full year on the market, only 3,413 copies of the RLX sold and 2015 is off to a rough start. It’s too early to tell how the rest of the year will go, but RLX sales are down almost 54 percent in the first quarter of 2015 compared to last year.
Meanwhile the aging Infiniti Q70 (formerly the M) is outperforming the RLX despite its lack of an up-to-the-minute powertrain.
To recap, the RLX is available with either front- or all-wheel drive. The less expensive front-wheel drive models get all-wheel steering to improve cornering agility and braking, but the all-wheel drive model is Acura’s real piece de resistance.
It uses a 3.5-liter direct injection V6 mated to an electric motor and a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission that work in concert to power the front wheels. A pair of electric motors power the rear wheels independently. They can also individually brake to offer something akin to – but not the same as – rear-wheel steering for enhanced handling.
Infiniti sells the Q70 with either rear- or all-wheel drive layouts with provision for a V6 or V8 with a regular or extended wheelbase as well as a hybrid model. Six-cylinder models use multi-port injection while the V8 takes advantage of direct injection. Regardless of which engine type you choose, the Q70 comes with a seven-speed automatic.
Acura’s hybrid technology boosts the V6 powertrain to a total of 377 HP, which isn’t as robust as the V8 Q70 with 416, but it’s still quick from a dead stop. The 5.6-liter V8 will tug the Q70 off the line with purpose, but that power comes with a significant pump tax.
Gulps Per Gallon
In an identical loop, the Q70 – equipped with all-wheel drive, the V8 and the extended wheelbase – averaged an eye watering 13 MPG. The RLX Sport Hybrid got 22.4 MPG. It’s true that the Infiniti is more powerful, but the extra muscle isn’t worth suffering through such poor mileage to enjoy.