2010 Acura RL Review & Test Drive – “Luxury With A High Performance Attitude”
Even though the Acura RL was first introduced in 2005 it still features bold contemporary looks, a powerful V6 engine and Acura’s acclaimed Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) system. Continuously updated, the 2010 RL demonstrates that refined luxury can be complemented perfectly by advanced technology and performance adrenaline. In addition to delivering luxury, style and performance, Acura’s top-of-the-line sedan keeps drivers more connected to their world, and the world around them by featuring the latest in intuitive, easy-to-use, state-of-the-art technology. The 2010 RL is a perfect blend of luxury, performance and safety and it would be hard to find another production car at any price that offers more advanced technology or drive system sophistication.
The 2010 RL is available in three variations: RL, RL with Technology Package and RL with Technology Package Plus CMBS that I tested. All RL’s feature a potent 3.7 liter VTEC V6 engine, Super Handling All-Wheel-Drive, leather trimmed interior, 10-way power front sport bucket seats with lumbar adjustments, dual-zone automatic climate control, power moonroof, all express up/down power windows/door locks, leather-wrapped/power tilt/telescopic, multi-function sport steering wheel, Multi-Information Display (MID) that allows access to multiple electronic functions, Acura/Bose Surround Sound Audio system and Bluetooth HandsFreeLink connectivity.
The optional Technology Package includes the satellite-linked Acura Navigation system with Voice Recognition, AcuraLink Real-Time Traffic with Traffic Rerouting, AcuraLink Real-Time Weather, rear-view back-up camera, Active Front Lighting system, heated/cooled front seats, and a simulated wood accented steering wheel and shift knob.
The top RL package is the Technology Package with CMBS which adds Acura’s acclaimed Collision Mitigation Braking system (CMBS), Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) and genuine maple wood instrument panel and door trim.
Powerful and very responsive to your inputs, the new Acura RL is fun and easy to drive, whether you are just tooling along in Drive or challenging twisting roads using the manual paddle shifters.
The technology built into the RL includes a highly refined 3.7 liter DOHC V6 all-aluminum engine that generates 300hp at 6,300rpm and 271lb.ft. of torque at 5,000rpm, thanks to Acura’s innovative VTEC valvetrain system for both the intake and exhaust valves, a high compression ratio, along with a special dual-stage magnesium alloy intake manifold that enables the intake to function as a single-or dual-plenum manifold design based on engine operating parameters. In addition to generating excellent power and torque, the RL engine meets the latest EPA TIER 2-BIN 5 and CARB LEV II ULEV emissions standard.
To handle the output of the 3.7 liter engine, a Sequential SportShift 5-speed automatic transmission is fitted that can be shifted via the easy-to-use straight gate shifter or by racing-inspired steel wheel mounted paddle shifter. Beside D (Drive) you also have S (Sport) which maximized the response to your inputs via special mapping of the onboard computer to heighten the quickness of the power and torque, shifting and suspension system.
The RL’s acclaimed Super Handling All-Wheel-Drive (SH-AWD) system helps provide and exhilarating driving experience as well as peace of mind-regardless of weather conditions. There are numerous traction advantages of all-wheel-drive, yet SH-AWD utilizes torque vectoring (the increase the rotation speed of an outside rear wheel) to create a ‘yaw moment’ to help RL turn more effectively while under power. Such a yaw moment reduces the cornering load on the front tires to minimize understeer, to improve handling balance and to escalate total cornering grip. You can feel it as you enter a corner at higher than regular speed and the car tracks beautifully through the curve. You can off course turn off the traction control and electronic stability control systems, but not the AWD system, and let the rear tires slightly slide heading out of a corner (oversteer).
To complement the high-performance powertrain, Acura engineers gave the RL a highly rigid yet lightweight Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) body structure. A strong body was critical for achieving the engineer’s high targets for steering and handling precision, outstanding ride quality, isolation of undesirable road inputs along with excellent safety. It is one of the stiffest and quietest sedans that I have driven this year.
The RL’s body is constructed primarily of high tensile strength steel, while the hood, trunk lid, front fenders and bumper beams are made of aluminum.
A sophisticated four-wheel independent suspension system with double-wishbones, coil springs, nitrogen-filled, telescopic, gas-pressurized with Progressive Valve technology shock absorbers and a 1.18in. hollow stabilizer bar up front and a multi-link rear with coil springs, nitrogen-filled, telescopic, gas-pressurized with Progressive Valve technology shock absorbers and 0.75in solid stabilizer bar in the rear give the RL tenacious road holding ability augmented by a 1.26in. wide shock tower brace. Both front and rear suspension setups have isolated subframes to increase rigidity and lesson NVH, while a heavy-duty steering rack components work in concert with the rigid unit body construction to complete the RL’s chassis layout. The subframes and suspension components are made of aluminum to further reduce RL’s weight for improved performance, more supple suspension action and better fuel economy.
Providing excellent handling and looks are 18X8in. 7-spoke aluminum wheels mounted with performance-minded Michelin Pilot 245/45R18in. MXM4, all-season radial tires.
Powerful, responsive and predictable braking action is supplied by a four-wheel disc brake system utilizing aluminum 4-piston calipers up front clamping on 12.6in. ventilated rotors, and 12.2in. solid rear rotors are clamped with large single-piston calipers. Braking is further aided by the four-channel ABS with EBD and BA.
The RL with Technology Package plus CMBS includes Acura’s Collision Mitigation Braking system. Using millimeter-wave technology, CMBS monitors the distance and closing rate between the RL and the vehicle directly in front of it. CMBS then uses the information to continuously calculate the likelihood of a frontal collision as well as to alert you in different stages of urgency. If the likelihood of a collision significantly increases, CMBS will take actions such as to apply the brakes and pre-tension the front seatbelts.
The 2010 RL’s exterior styling has been constantly updated making it distinctive and upscale front, side and back. The RL’s athletic style gives an indication of the power concealed under the hood and features Acura’s signature front grille. Love it or hate it, it works getting fresh air into the engine. The front fascia also features unique lamp clusters with HID adaptive headlamps, daytime running lamps and just below another air intake to keep the engine cool when running. Nicely formed foglamps have chrome bars through the opening. Below the bumper is aerodynamic enhancements to help keep airflow smooth during high-speed travel. The side shows raked A-pillars, a flat roof that quickly dives to the high-backed trunk lid with formed lip spoiler that helps keep the rear firmly pinned to the road at high speeds. Pull-out door handles make it easy opening the wide-opening doors and just below is a tasteful chrome strip that runs the length of both doors, followed down below with lower side extensions giving the RL a lower center of gravity further enhancing stability. The rear highlights include wraparound lamp clusters, a brushed aluminum horizontal bar running the length trunk, RL and SH-AWD badges, and two wide-octangular styled, polished stainless steel exhaust tips. Under the rear bumper is another flat aerodynamic enhancement to help better manage airflow out the rear when traveling at high speeds.
Inside, the RL features an elegantly styled interior that includes leather-trimmed heated/cooled/10-way power adjustable sport bucket seats with excellent side bolstering to keep you in place during hard cornering. The rear seats are also comfortable and feature a pull-down center armrest with pop-out dual cupholders and air-vents facing the rear at the end of the front center console. The dual-cockpit style suits me just fine and really makes the RL’s interior unique especially with the CMBS adding real maple wood to the dash, center console and all four doors.
You’ll appreciate the easy to see instrument cluster with large centered 160mph speedometer, and smaller tachometer gauge to the left and to the right is another round gauge for fuel on board and engine coolant temperature.
The sporty leather-wrapped-wood steering wheel feels perfect in your hands and features power tilt/telescopic control. There are buttons on the wheel for the audio system, communication systems and ACC. The center stack contains all of the controls to use the climate control system, Bose Surround Sound 10-speaker system, Navigation system and the trip computer with easy to use buttons and dials. All other buttons, switches and dials are within easy reach and fully illuminated for safe nighttime driving. The front door storage pockets flip open for easy loading and unloading of small objects that you need. The rear seating area also comes with a pass-through for skis or other long items that do not fit in the trunk.
The RL interior also features an assortment of leading-edge technologies to enhance driver control and information access. These technologies include Acura HandsFreeLink and Bluetooth-based wireless telephone interface that allows call to be made utilizing the RL’s steering wheel-mounted HandsFreeLink controls. Standard on all RL’s is a spectacular Acura/Bose 10-speaker surround sound system with DVD-Audio, Bluetooth Audio, XM Radio and USB port/AUX jack connectivity. A key component of the RL Technology Package is the Acura Navigation System with Voice Recognition. The advanced system allows for easy control of key systems via voice control (with more than 700 commands) including voice guidance for turn-by-turn directions, over 7-million points of interest, Zagat Survey restaurant guide information, along with voice recognition to operate key audio and climate control functions. The innovative AcuraLink satellite communication system features driver relevant technologies such as AcuraLink Real-Time Traffic with Traffic Rerouting and AcuraLink Real-Time Weather with continuously updated radar maps.
Occupant safety in the event of a collision is enhanced with the ACE body structure’s front-mounted polygonal frame design that increases occupant protection and crash compatibility in frontal crashes by utilizing a network of connected structural elements to distribute crash energy more evenly throughout the front of the vehicle-and away from the passenger compartment. To enhance safety the RL employs active head restraints built into the front seats to help improve neck and head protection in the event of a rear impact. To further air in safety, the RL includes standard six airbags, including side curtain airbags, and a Tire Pressure Monitoring System. Other standard safety features includes 3-point safety belts with front load limiters/pretensioners, steel beams in each door, and the LATCH system for child seats.
Each RL comes standard with dual map lamps, dual lighted vanity mirrors; grab handles above each door, MP3 auxiliary jack, 12-volt/110-volt power plug, Acura aluminum door sill plates at each door bottom, two driver memory, remote opening trunk and fuel filler door, Homelink system, power moonroof, power remote sideview mirrors, self-dimming rearview mirror, power rear sunshade/manual rear side window shades, rain-sensing wipers/wipers, thick cut-pile carpeting and floor mats.
The new 2010 Acura RL has it all-plenty of high-performance, plenty of luxury, plenty of comfort front and back, plenty of convenience, plenty of high-tech creature comforts and enough safety systems to earn a 5-Star rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The loaded 2010 RL CMBS that I tested stickered for just $54,250.00, not bad for the total package.