Most of the current Acura RL dates back to 2005. Sure, there was a slight refresh in 2009, but the RL hasn’t been very relevant in a long time — especially when you consider how much the Acura TL has matured while the RL was seemingly put out to pasture. Acura is finally getting serious about its flagship and the new sedan is previewed by the RLX concept.
One of the reasons the RL became irrelevant is it was caught in a state of limbo while Acura waffled on the decision to build a V-8 engine and use rear-wheel drive. Now we know Acura will eschew a V-8 engine in favor of a hybrid SH-AWD system based around a 3.5-liter direct-injection V-6 and a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. Two electric motors will provide power for the rear wheels and a third electric motor will be mated to the transmission to bring total output to about 370 hp and result in an estimated 30 mpg combined EPA rating, about a 50 percent improvement over the current RL. Even with the hybrid system, Acura promises a curb weight well under 4000 pounds. A non-hybrid version will also be available with front-wheel drive.
As Acura’s flagship, the RLX needs a sumptuous interior. Acura is promising interior volume similar to the BMW 7 Series with a footprint closer to the 5 Series. We caught a quick glimpse of the RLX interior during the presentation, but Acura wasn’t letting anyone open the doors to view the interior in person. We’ll head back to the stand later when the crowd dies down to see if we can talk them into letting us take a peek inside.
For more on the 2013 Acura RLX Concept, check out our First Look. For more on the 2012 New York International Auto Show, including videos, the latest photos, and more information, click here to visit our New York Show homepage.