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Discussion Starter · #1 ·

The confirmations of new product at the New York International Auto Show keep coming. This year the show is set to play host to a whole slew of important debuts. SRT Viper, Fisker Nina, Honda Crosstour Concept, Hyundai Sante Fe, the 2013 Chevrolet Impala and Traverse have all been confirmed. Earlier today Toyota released a teaser of what is likely to be the new Avalon.

Particularly in the full-size sedan arena the show will be an interesting 1 – Chevrolet Impala, Toyota Avalon (likely) and now the replacement for the Acura RL. Wards Auto has confirmed that the new sedan will be getting a name change, dubbed RLX. RLX? What is it with Acura these days sticking X on everything? We thought X was supposed to mean crossover, or at least all-wheel drive. Regardless, RLX it is. As far as full-size sedans go, the current RL is just about as uncompetitive as they come.

1st introduced in 2004 as a 2005 model, the RL is overdue for a replacement. The mid-cycle enhancement it received for 2009 did it no favors, only making it look more dated (in our humble opinions). According to Acura’s vice-president Jeff Conrad, the redesign will be a total 1. That is good news. Past reports have pointed to the new car being the 1st to debut Honda’s new hybrid Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive technology.

The system would eliminate the usual AWD driveline because the rear wheels would be powered by electric motors. This would enable the SH-AWD’s usual front-to-back side-to-side distribution of power. If true, that’s what we like to hear – innovative technology to differentiate Acura from the rest. Acura is near-luxury, and it has adopted that role wholeheartedly with the new ILX and redesigned RDX. It remains to be seen where the new sedan will be positioned. Without rear-wheel drive or V-8 power though, we don’t expect it to make much of an impact.

1,199 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·

Acura’s next flagship sedan will likely be called RLX, and is expected to debut next month at the New York auto show. The company hasn’t made an official announcement yet, but two signs point to RLX as the replacement badge for RL. 1st, Acura VP Jeff Conrad may have told Wards that RLX is the new name; when asked, Acura representatives declined to confirm whether the Wards quote was accurate. 2nd, the company has applied to trademark the name RLX with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Neither is dispositive, but taken together, we’re pretty convinced.

The RLX is set to replace the aged and out-classed RL, but will follow a similar formula. Like the outgoing RL, the RLX will feature all-wheel drive and a V-6 engine. This time, however, Acura’s range-topper will use a clever hybrid system to drive the rear wheels with electric motors. The setup should prove to be lighter and continue to offer rear-axle torque vectoring.

With the RLX replacing the RL, the TL will be the last car in the Acura lineup with a 2-letter name. We’ve been told that Acura will offer just 3 sedans in the future—the new ILX and RLX will be 2 of those, meaning that either the TL or the TSX is likely to bite the dust. Given its 2-letter name, the TL might be the more likely candidate, but Acura is currently in the process of trademarking TLX. We’ll just have to wait and see.

1,199 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·

The Acura RL has always had a hard time fitting in. Much like people you might have known in high school. Trying to hang with the popular crowd but always falling short. The current RL is satisfactory, but in a group filled with the latest and greats from Lexus, Audi, BMW, Mercedes, and Infiniti, it’s tough to demand some spotlight. The 2013 RLX concept is Acura’s latest attempt to fit into the large luxury sedan category.

Shown at the 2012 New York International Auto Show, Acura previewed the concept with a beautifully artistic video (see below) shot along the streets of NYC, where there’s even a cameo from a much-older Acura Legend.

Never 1 to shy away from green technology, the RLX-concept has Acura’s new Sport Hybrid Super Handling All-Wheel Drive, which features a 3.5-liter V6 engine, along with 3 electric motors, 2-of-which supply power to the rear wheels. The engine is rated at 370hp and mated to a 7-speed transmission. Green-indeed. Acura has hopes to gain notoriety by nabbing that much-desired 30+mpg rating. As noted, a FWD model will be available with a 310hp engine.

Acura has filled the cabin with technology that will suit any technophile. The newly-updated AcuraLink and Ultra-Premium 14-speaker sound system give the driver and passengers access to internet and email, streaming internet radio, and multiple safety features. With a dual-screen set-up in the dash, which Acura has named On Demand Screen, your hands are free from the monotony of buttons.

The clean lines of the sedan show that Acura isn’t taking any chances with its flagship sedan. The stately sedan is sleek and sophisticated for its intended audience. The exterior design has come under some scrutiny, with some saying the concept is too plain, while some say the concept resembles other sedans already on the road. I really cannot see anybody being completely turned-off by the design, yet it’s beautiful enough to attract a larger clientele to Acura. The pendulum grille lives on, but designers have made it a subtle, attractive signature piece. Up-front, Acura installed its latest Jewel-Eye headlights, which are made up of LEDs to help guide the driver into turns and give a more precise glow to the road. Acura also fitted its concept with unfortunate 20-inch rims, which will [strike]likely[/strike] hopefully disappear when it reaches production.

In a category blurred with beautiful sedans and tech-filled cabins, the RLX may have a chance to draw in a new crop of drivers that love luxury and sport, yet crave green-tinged efficiency when necessary.


1,199 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·

We’ve seen the concept, but here are the very 1st photos of an Acura RLX prototype on the road! Actually, this went right from an enclosed transporter into a secure garage—but we managed to snap a couple of distant photos before the RLX was tucked away for the night. Its testing partner this week happens to be a BMW 535i.

Acura’s soon-to-be newest flagship debuted in “concept” form at this year’s New York Auto Show, and will likely reach dealerships in early 2013 as a 2014 model.

This prototype is sporting Acura’s “Jewel Eye” LED dual-stacked high-intensity headlamps, which will surely become the RLX’s signature.

Although car companies don’t usually talk about future products—even when concepts are introduced—the Acura RLX press release tends to spill the beans regarding powerplants: A 3.5-liter direct-injected VTEC V6 and Sport Hybrid SH-AWD, mated to a 7-speed dual clutch transmission to produce over 370 horsepower and offer 30 mpg city and highway (in the concept model), but Acura also mentions a 310-horsepower front-wheel drive version.

Read more in the Acura RLX intro press release below. In the meantime, we’ll be staking out the garage!


1,199 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·

Acura’s push for more radical, independent styling could be over before it starts. These pictures, which were made public this week in a European design patent database, show an RLX sedan that’s been dulled down from the only slightly edgier concept version presented last April. The RLX will arrive in early 2013 as the replacement for the RL as Acura’s range-topping sedan.

The lower front and rear clips on (what we presume is) the production RLX have been changed from the concept car, with a standard rounded lower air intake up front and integrated exhaust outlets in the rear. These bookend a generally uninspiring shape, with the front looking rather like that of a current RL or TL, and the side and rear reminiscent of everything from a Lexus GS to a Chevy Cruze to a BMW 7-series.

Although Acura will undoubtedly promote the RLX as a fun-to-drive, high-tech showcase, the truth is that this car is aimed squarely at aging Baby Boomers. RLX customers are more likely to be cross-shopping the RLX with a Cadillac XTS, we think, than an avant-garde Audi A6. As such, Acura has said in the past that the RLX’s interior is significantly more spacious than in the company’s previous cars—despite its size, the RL has always had compromised interior packaging.

The only major U.S. auto show left on the calendar for 2012 is Los Angeles in November. Acura could pull the sheets off of the production RLX there, but an earlier non-auto-show debut is always possible.


1,199 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·

A “perfect storm” of market conditions may prompt Honda to move assembly of its upcoming flagship, the 2013 Acura RLX, from Japan to the United States.

1st, the stigma that U.S.-built luxury cars can’t rival the build quality of Japanese or German models is no longer valid. BMW builds X3 and X6 models in Spartanburg, South Carolina for worldwide distribution, and Mercedes-Benz builds M Class, R Class and GL Class models in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

Even Acura’s flagship sports coupe, the upcoming NSX hybrid, will be designed and built on these shores. It makes sense, then, that Acura’s flagship sedan, rumored to benefit from the same type of hybrid all-wheel-drive layout (in range-topping models, anyway) will also be built in the United States.

Confirmation seems to come from The Japan Times (via Carscoop), which reports that Honda will halt production of 2 sedan models at its plant in Saitama Prefecture, Japan. On that list is the Honda Legend, sold here as the current Acura RL.

There are financial reasons to move production to the U.S. as well. A strong Japanese yen and a weak U.S. dollar mean that it’s expensive to build cars in Japan, requiring automakers to raise prices or accept lower margins. Domestic production would help to lower costs and preserve margins, putting more money in Honda’s coffers.

Honda desperately needs the RL’s replacement to be a hit, since it’s sold just 182 RL sedans through May of this year. That’s down from 766 units in the same period of 2011, a sales decline of over 76%.


1,199 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·

We first saw the 2013 Acura RLX in concept form at the 2012 New York auto show back in April. And with less than 2 months left in the year, Acura appears to be putting the finishing touches on its upcoming flagship sedan.

This black prototype was snapped earlier this week, wearing less camouflage than the test mule we caught during the summer. As with most Acura spy cars we’ve seen, the biggest give-away is up front where the automaker’s signature power plenum grille (notoriously referred to as the “beak”) is completely distinguishable. Acura stated the RLX would come standard with all-LED headlights, and those are visible in the photos, too. The side character lines are heavily disguised, so we can’t say for sure how the production car’s profile will compare to the concept. However, we do see rims that are much tamer than the large pinwheel-style design used on the concept. In back, things look pretty close to the concept, with similar, heavily stylized headlights.

Also unknown is what powertrain this prototype is packing. As previously reported, the new RLX will come with two drivetrain choices. The one most enthusiasts are excited about is the Sport Hybrid SH-AWD, which will include a 3.5-liter V-6 and one electric motor at each rear wheel. At the rear axle, each wheel will have the ability to turn at different speeds, improving the RLX’s handling through corners. The technology is similar to what will be used in the upcoming NSX supercar. Details about the base powertrain are not out yet, but it’s rumored to be a front-drive 310-hp V-6.

Expect the RLX to come standard with a long list of tech goodies such as an infotainment system with two LCD screens, Collision Mitigation, and Acura’s first Lane Keep Assist system. Once the RLX arrives early next year, it will be Acura’s 2nd hybrid offering — the first being the compact ILX that went on sale a few months ago.


1,199 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)

We have a pretty good idea what the new Acura RLX looks like based on the concept shown at this year’s New York auto show. And now we’ve test-driven both versions of the RLX’s powertrain at Honda’s Tochigi, Japan, proving grounds. Our test cars were previous-generation Accords equipped with RLX running gear.

The front-wheel-drive version debuts 1st next spring. It’s powered by a direct-injection version of Honda’s 3.5-liter V-6 making at least 310 hp and 265 lb-ft of torque, which is basically the same output as the 3.7-liter in the outgoing RL sedan with a claimed 10% increase in fuel economy. A 6-speed auto manages the gear swaps. Key to the front-wheel-drive RLX is what Acura calls Precision All-Wheel Steer (yes, animal lovers, it spells PAWS). This system has 2 electric motors built into the rear toe link, and each link can act independently, a world 1st. Under braking, PAWS will increase toe-in for enhanced stability. In a lane-change maneuver, the rear wheels will steer in the same direction as the front wheels, whereas the rear wheels turn opposite of the front in tighter corners. The total adjustment is roughly 2 degrees in each direction, and a Honda engineer on hand said it acts in less than a second. It also works at all speeds.

On our test drive, a few laps around a 0.8-mile handling course, the RLX exhibited much less understeer than we expected from a large front-wheel-drive sedan. Turn-in was especially sharp, and the car held the line particularly well in sweeping corners. When coming out of corners, we did notice a slight bobble as PAWS adjusted, not enough to upset the chassis but enough to tell that the system was working.

The all-wheel-drive RLX forgoes the rear-wheel steering and instead employs what Acura calls Sport Hybrid Super Handling All-Wheel Drive. This new version of SH-AWD uses two 27-hp electric motors at the rear wheels instead of a driveshaft and clutch packs. The 3.5-liter V-6 still is present under the hood, but paired to a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic with an integrated 40-hp motor that also acts as a generator. Peak total system power is about 370 hp, but the car feels stronger thanks to the instantaneous torque of the electric motors, which assist propulsion up to 75 mph. The rear motors also provide torque vectoring in corners, putting resistance on the inside wheel (which generates electricity for instantaneous use, lessening the draw on the 6.7-kWh battery) and driving the outside wheel to minimize understeer. Track performance is impressive, with instantaneous turn-in and grip that seems to transcend the abilities of the Michelin Pilot Sport 3 tires. We didn’t have the chance to mess around too much, but there is no power oversteer. Jam on the gas and the car simply follows exactly where you point it with a neutral attitude.

There are other benefits to the system, as well. Not counting the batteries, the rear motors weigh less than the driveshaft and clutches in the mechanical SH-AWD system. Those motors, which can provide silent EV-style propulsion at low speeds have the side benefit of smoothing out the engagement of the dual-clutch transmission when pulling away from a stop. And the hybrid system helps fuel economy—we estimate EPA figures of around 30 in both city and highway driving, a big jump from the current RL’s 17/24 sticker.

Our brief preview has us eager to drive the full-production RLX, even if we’re not too excited to spend any time gazing at the, um, polarizing design. While the front-wheel-drive version offers interesting new technology with the all-wheel steering, we’re enthusiastic about the Sport Hybrid SH-AWD, a far more revolutionary concept in terms of performance. Stay tuned.

1,199 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·

Acura may not quite have the prestige or the cachet of longtime luxury marques like Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar, or even Lexus, but it does have top-drawer access to the most innovative powertrain and chassis engineering developments from Honda. And with Acura’s upcoming flagship sedan, the 2014 RLX, it may very well make up for that with several breakthrough technologies that—based on what we’ve just experienced in some short road-course exercises—safer, more responsive, and a heck of a lot of fun to drive.

The most noteworthy of those technologies in the upcoming RLX is the so-called Sport Hybrid version of Acura’s Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) system, which uses 3 electric motors in all. That includes 1 high-power (30 kW or greater) motor built into a 7-speed automated dual-clutch gearbox, as well as 2 20-kW motors—each 1 individually powering the rear wheels.

This new powertrain promises much-improved acceleration and fuel economy versus the outgoing model, and it should put the new RL at the head of the pack for gas mileage among large, performance-oriented luxury sedans. In short, it promises acceleration and output (370 horsepower) on the level of a modern V-8, with better fuel efficiency than a 4-cylinder models.

Rear wheels push and pull around corners

While that’s the straight-line story, the real advancement in this system (which uses some technology that will also be used in the upcoming NSX supercar) is in handling. With the electric motors, you get power delivered to the rear wheels to aid traction in bad weather or to help neutralize understeer during handling. But it’s better than that; each of those rear-wheel motors operate fully independently, meaning that 1 of them can deliver positive torque while the other can generate torque in the opposite direction—generating a yaw moment and making a more effective correction to vehicle stability than a brake intervention alone.

Acura just this week allowed us the chance to get a preview of how this system will feel from the driver’s seat. Driving an advanced RLX development mule—within a Honda Accord—we were able to negotiate a tight road course extremely quickly. The system showed its strengths both in tight corners and in more gradual, higher-speed corners. At the tightest corners we could feel power being applied to the outer rear wheels while the inner rear wheel opposed or ‘pulled back’—helping to rotate the car and seamlessly minimize understeer. Right at the limit the angles could very gently and safely be altered with the accelerator.

Although we didn’t get a chance to experience the hybrid system under gentle, more ordinary driving, we did notice, as we did in our drive of the new i-DCD system for small cars, that the electric motor in front helps smooth shifts of the 7-speed dual-clutch transmission by providing an added kick of power just before and during shifts.

Motor system ready for a workout

Judging not only by what we felt ‘by the seat of the pants’ but also by an interactive display mode showing power flow, the system gets a workout on the track. Engineers said that they’ve put the system to the test in some demanding high-temperature conditions. The electric motors at the rear wheels are oil-cooled, and they’ll only reduce their torque output somewhat if they do rise above a particular temperature. Meanwhile, of course, the new system makes even ham-fisting more fuel-efficient.

Front-wheel-drive versions of the 2014 RLX aren’t left out; they get their own all-new handling-oriented technology, called Precision All Wheel Steer. The idea builds on decades of development of rear-wheel steering systems and is quite simple: a special actuator is placed along the toe-control link for the multi-link rear suspension. Through it, the system can electronically manage rear toe-in—adding varied amounts of it to the inside rear wheel (up to 2 percent)—to increase stability during abrupt handling maneuvers, like high-speed lane-changes, or to reduce understeer during other higher-speed corners.

A ‘nudge’ into a more confident line

The effect of this technology (and its advantages) is more straightforward than that of the hybrid system (which we look forward to revisiting when it’s close to production), and it’s easy to feel in both tight corners and high-speed sweepers. It’s especially pronounced in tight corners and in high-speed lane-change maneuvers, where it provides a subtle yet noticeable ‘nudge’ of the back end—not widening its line, but making it feel more neutral near the limit, and more like the front and rear wheels are following your intended line. It’s all very fluid and there’s nothing digital in the way the system deals with transitions.

There’s 1 other big advantage of Precision All Wheel Steer: more stable braking. On abrupt stops, no matter the speed, the RLX system kicks the toe in smoothly up to a maximum, to help keep the rear wheels more stable.

Between these 2 breakthrough technologies, we already anticipate that the 2014 Acura RDX will be more responsive and enjoyable to drive—as well as more efficient—than a number of those top-shelf luxury sedans. And with these technologies here, and perhaps further developed in the NSX, we wouldn’t be surprised if the Acura name does some status-climbing in the next few years.

1,199 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·

Tokyo — They may look like regular 2008 Honda Accord sedans, but the cars seen here are actually engineering mules for chassis and powertrain technologies that will underpin the 2014 Acura RLX luxury sedan.

The 1st technology is Precision All-Wheel Steering for front-wheel-drive versions of the 2014 Acura RLX. PAWS consists of 2 electrically adjustable suspension links, 1 at each rear wheel, that can adjust the alignment of each wheel by up to about 2 degrees. Steering the rear wheels isn’t a new idea in itself, but while previous systems moved the rear wheels by the same amount, Honda’s PAWS is claimed to the 1st that can operate the wheels independently on each side, allowing for better control.

PAWS has 3 primary procedures: Under hard braking, it angles both rear wheels inward slightly (toe in) to improve stability; in normal cornering, the rear wheels are angled opposite to the front wheels to reduce the car’s turning circle (in right turns, the rear wheels point toward the left of the car); and in some high-speed lane-change maneuvers, the rear wheels move in the same direction as the front wheels to improve stability.

We tested an Accord with the system on a 0.8-mile handling loop at Honda’s R&D facilities here in Japan and found it promising. When you enter a corner and add steering input, there’s a miniscule pause before you feel the car tighten its line slightly as the rear wheels add more steering. It produces a sensation of rotation that gives the car a livelier feel than is typical of front-wheel-drive cars. At lower speeds, PAWS makes for easier maneuvering because of the reduced turning circle. PAWS also can correct under- or oversteer by adjusting the line of the rear wheels, which means sometimes PAWS can fix small slides without any need for the brake-based electronic stability control to activate.

Torque-Vectoring Hybrid System

We then had a chance to sample an Accord mule with what Honda calls Sport Hybrid Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (Sport Hybrid SH-AWD), which will be the upgrade powertrain choice on the 2014 Acura RLX. It uses a 3.5-liter V-6 engine and 7-speed dual-clutch transmission, augmented by a 30-kW electric motor/generator, to power the front wheels. A separate pair of 20-kW electric motors powers the rear wheels.

In general, the Sport Hybrid SH-AWD mule behaved like a normal hybrid car. In electric driving, only the rear motors are used. The front motor acts as a starter for the V-6 engine, a generator under braking, and also provides extra torque for hard acceleration. Acceleration was brisk and smooth, although we think Honda is over-promising when it says the setup provides V-8-levels of thrust. The dual-clutch transmission shifts promptly and smoothly, and even blipped the throttle to downshift as we braked for turns — although engineers later confessed that was because the transmission was locked in a sport mode.

The rear motors, meanwhile, provide torque-vectoring during cornering. As shown by a power-flow animation in the car’s head-up display, the outer wheel is overdriven while the inner rear wheel acts as a generator, sapping power and dragging to help turn the car. The goal, like with PAWS, is to provide sharper turning and more lively handling by using the rear wheels to help influence the car’s rotation. It’s quite successful in making the car turn in quickly, although the added weight of the motors and batteries mean the Sport Hybrid SH-AWD mule felt a lot less nimble than the PAWS car.

The torque vectoring still works if the main hybrid battery is depleted because power from “dragging” the inner wheel powers the outer wheel. The function works at all vehicle speeds, even at parking lot speeds. A more powerful version of this powertrain will be used in the 2015 Acura NSX, but it will be reversed so that V-6 powers the rear wheels and the 2 electric motors power the front wheels.

Honda and Acura hope that the development of these 2 systems will help imbue new cars, starting with the 2014 RLX, with a sportier driving dynamic that will help them compete with the best German and Japanese luxury cars. We’ll put that to the test in the real world when we drive the Acura RLX sometime next year.

1,199 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·

What is it?

While Acura's RLX flagship sedan isn't slated to arrive in dealerships until next spring, we had an opportunity to sample the new car's 2 drivetrain setups installed in previous-generation Honda Accord bodies. Our test venue was a short handling course at Honda's Tochigi research and development center in Japan.

The RLX will launch with front-wheel drive. It will be powered by a 3.5-liter direct-injected V6 delivering 310 hp and 256 lb-ft of torque, and is mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission. Standard is Honda's new "precision" all-wheel-steer system, which uses actuators in the rear suspension to adjust wheel toe angles independently. Acura says the system works with stability control and the variable gear-ratio steering to improve cornering ability and steering response. Additionally, the system provides better stability under hard braking, when both the rear wheels toe in. According to Acura, the system is the world's 1st independent left and right rear toe-control system.

Customers looking for all-wheel drive in their RLX will have to wait until next fall and will also have to want a hybrid. The range-topping RLX will feature the Sport Hybrid SH-AWD system, 1st shown on the NSX concept. It uses the 3.5-liter V6, an in-house developed seven-speed dual clutch sequential manual transmission with a built-in motor, 2 20-kilowatt motors at the rear to distribute variable torque to the right and left wheels and a lithium-ion battery pack. Acura is aiming to provide V8 performance with at least 370 hp and 4-cylinder fuel economy with an estimated EPA combined fuel economy of 30 mpg.

While the upcoming NSX production car employs the same Sport Hybrid SH-AWD system as the RLX, the major difference is that the mid-engine supercar's gasoline engine will drive the rear wheels and the 2 electric motors will power the front wheels and deliver more power.

What's it like to drive?

We first set sail around Honda's Tochigi test track with the front-wheel-drive drivetrain and "precision" all-wheel-steer system. In the 4 laps allowed, we were impressed with the car's tracking ability through corners. Where most front-drive Acura vehicles have the tendency to understeer through slow- to medium-speed corners, the RLX drivetrain mule offered plenty of control. At turn-in there is the slightest bit of push in the car before the rear end falls in line and scoots itself around. We even dialed-in more steering angle mid-corner to see what the car would do and were surprised to have the car quickly respond and go where pointed.

The 3.5-liter V6 delivered power smoothly and pulled nicely through the rev band, with a decent sounding exhaust note to boot. The 6-speed automatic performed crisp shifts and was well-tuned for quick downshifts when more power was ordered.

Next we hopped into the Sport Hybrid SH-AWD and immediately picked up on the dual-clutch's incredibly quick upshifts and aggressive downshifts with rev-matching. When diving into corners under braking, it almost felt like the gearbox was downshifting a hair too early when left in full automatic mode. However, when we opted to shift gears ourselves with the steering wheel-mounted paddles, shift response was a bit sluggish in the prototype.

During our 4 laps, the SH-AWD system allowed for some rear slip angle that was entertaining before stability control jumps in to bring things back in line when you push it too hard, but it takes a lot of pushing. There's a heavy dose of grip available in track situations, which means the RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD should be incredibly sure-footed on regular roads. Acceleration is brisk from launch and out of corners with all 4 tires clawing the pavement.

Speaking of tires, the prototype mules were outfitted with some serious performance tires-Michelin Pilot Sport 3s to be exact-that contributed some to both cars' nice steering response and high grip levels. It's doubtful that production RLXs will come from the factory equipped with this type of performance rubber, but we expect it to still perform well with higher-performance all-season rubber.

Braking in both cars was strong and easy to modulate, featuring a pleasing, firm pedal feel, which is especially nice on the hybrid-since the brakes on most hybrids often operate like on/off switches.

Do I want it?

There are many interesting aspects to Acura's new top sedan, but we don't expect people to cross shop it between other luxury flagships such as the Mercedes-Benz S-class, BMW 7-series, Audi A8 and Lexus LS. Even though the RLX's wheelbase is stretched 2 inches over the outgoing RL, it still lacks the dimensions to compete in that field. Instead, look for the RLX to play with the likes of the Mercedes E-class, BMW 5-series, Audi A6 and Lexus GS. From that perspective, the RLX could well entice some buyers with the innovative features such as the all-wheel-steering system on the lower end and the hybrid system at the top.

Unlike other hybrids, such as the BMW ActiveHybrid 5 which is geared toward fuel economy, the Acura RLX's hybrid is there for efficiency and improved handling performance. Acura is trying to break from the notion that hybrids are only there to satisfy green weenies, and the Sport Hybrid SH-AWD makes a strong case on both accounts with its handling prowess and fuel economy expected to punch in at 30 mpg.

More details and the final styling of the production model will be revealed at the Los Angeles auto show on Nov. 28. Expect the Jewel Eye LED headlamps from the RLX Concept that debuted in April at the New York auto show to make it to production, along with a slew of other available features such as a collision-mitigation braking system and lane-keeping assist. Forward-collision warning and lane-departure warning will be standard.

2014 Acura RLX

On Sale: Spring 2013 (FWD)/ Fall 2013 (SH-AWD) Base Price: $55,000/$62,000 (est)

Drivetrain: 3.5-liter, 310-hp, 265-lb-ft V6; FWD, 6-speed automatic/3.5-liter, 370-hp, V6 hybrid; AWD, 7-speed dual-clutch sequential manual

Curb Weight: 3,700 lb/4,000 lb (est)

0-60 mph: n/a

Fuel Economy: 32 mpg (est)/30 mpg (mfr est)​


1,199 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Live Stream

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.

Want to see the reveal for yourself? Just click on this hotlink for the Acura webcast site.

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.

1,199 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Press Release

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.

Chassis Technology

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.​


1,199 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·

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.

1,199 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·

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.
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