New For 2014The RLX (which replaces the RL) is an all-new model. While it retains the familiar look of the brand, the RLX gets sportier sheetmetal, a bevy of new technologies that aid the driver, and fresh powertrain choices. It is wider and has a longer wheelbase than before, offering ever-expanding Americans more interior space.
Vehicle SummaryAcura took awhile -- almost a decade, in fact -- to launch the new generation of its flagship luxury sedan, but the RLX promises to be worth the wait thanks to a feast of technological features designed to make the car safer and more enjoyable to drive. Still based on a front-wheel-drive chassis, the RLX is the largest and most powerful four-door the brand offers, and it's the closest thing to a competitor Acura has against the sporty, potent machines from Germany, Japan, and America.
OverviewThe RLX replaces the RL in name and positioning for the 2014 model year. Acura's flagship gets a new 3.5-liter direct-injection V-6 engine rated at 310 hp and 272 lb-ft of torque mated to a six-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters. This V-6 replaces the 3.7-liter V-6 in the previous car; it makes 10 more hp while netting 20 mpg in city driving and 31 mg on the highway. The RLX is two inches longer between the wheels and 1.7 inches wider than its predecessor.
A range of techno goodies give the RLX a different character compared with other entries in this segment. It has Precision All-Wheel Steer, which applies independent torque control from a unit mounted in the rear suspension and makes for more athletic driving. During our first test of the car, we noted that PAWS allows the driver to brake early for a tight bend and then put a lot of power down while exiting a curve. There is also a Lane-Keeping system that is close to autonomous driving. The system works with the car's adaptive cruise control and a camera mounted in the front that can read road markings, allowing the RLX to actually steer itself for up to ten seconds around gentle curves in the road.
As intriguing as this technology is, it's actually the hybrid RLX that is the most compelling model. The hybrid offers the most power (370-hp V-6) and a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission; its steering and handling are sharper than the gasoline model, and the engine is capable of keeping up with some of Germany's luxury V-8 machines. The hybrid system has an electric motor to help power the rear wheels in Acura's Super Handling All-Wheel Drive system.
The RLX went on sale in March, starting at $49,345. A fully loaded model with the Advance package tops out at $61,345.
- Impressive hybrid model
- Futuristic driver aids
- Roomy, quiet interior
You won't like:
- No rear-wheel drive
- Cabin is plain
- Steering is just average
Key Competitors For The 2014 Acura RLX
- Audi A6
- Hyundai Genesis
- Lincoln MKS
- Lexus GS