Ok, let me start off with a few gripes: I can't seem to get the active cruise control-it's just normal cruise control for me; also, I wish the RL's Advance Package included blind-spot warning, as I found myself sometimes having some trouble with the rearward sightlines; my last gripe is that I found the new-for-2011 transmission too sluggish in regular driving and too aggressive in sport mode.
The engine, on the other hand, I really loved. This car is like a more mature TL SH-AWD. It's initially a touch sluggish but picks up speed in a hurried and hushed manner, with the suspension transmitting just enough feel for a sporty luxury sedan (think more Lexus GS than BMW 5-series). The SH-AWD handles curves well, although I would not call this a fun car per se; it's just more ... grown up.
Everything is logically laid out and designed such that those controls of higher importance are easier to see and reach. All the leather, switchgear, and plastics are top-notch, too. The exterior look is neither offensive nor desirable.
My biggest worry for this car is the price: at $56k it's not cheap, and with no V-8 or rear-wheel-drive option, it's not a real competitor to the 5, E, or M, in my mind. It lives in that strange land with the Lincoln MKS, where the cars are more than competent but slightly overpriced. The RL has good bones, but they're getting on in age and competitiveness. Acura has shown that it can make fantastic cars, so I'm looking forward to the next-generation RL. Final note: I have a good family friend who bought this model RL when it came out and absolutely raved about it the entire time he had it. He drives a TL SH-AWD now.
Donny Nordlicht, Associate Online Editor