If any Acura needs updating, the RL does. With styling and technology stuck firmly in the current decade, Acura has decided to give the model a nose job and a new six-speed transmission for 2011, confirming our earlier report.
Up front, the 2011 RL's new snout is less bulbous than that of its predecessor - a styling change possibly aimed at helping to silence critics of the controversial familial front end. New 18-inch alloys are perched in the wheelhouses and house special technology to quiet road noise. No other cosmetic changes have been made.
The real news lies underneath the 2011 RL's skin, with a new six-speed SportShift transmission replacing the five-speed used in for the 2010 model year. The new gearbox is a welcome addition to the RL, and helps to boost fuel efficiency from 16/22 mpg city/highway to 17/24 mpg (combined fuel economy increases a full 2 mpg from 18 to 20). The additional cog could also make hilly driving a little less frantic than in the current car.
Pricing has not yet been announced for the 2011 Acura RL, though with the new transmission we expect a minor bump over 2010 prices. Are these updates enough to keep the RL on the market? Only time will tell.