Underhood is the most powerful engine ever offered by Acura, trumping even its exotic NSX sports car. The sole powertrain is a 3.5-liter/300-horsepower V-6 paired with a five-speed automatic transmission. While most competing luxury sedans are available with V-8 engines, the vast majority of segment sales are for six-cylinder models. Acura offers much more power than the competing sixes, and even has a strong showing against V-8s.
Power is routed through a standard "Super Handling All-Wheel Drive" system, giving the RL a distinct market advantage. Traditional AWD systems route power forward and aft as needed, but the Acura system also distinguishes between left and right.
Behind the Wheel
The effect of the SH-AWD system is in fine-tuning the car's character, while also exacting maximum performance. This is most evident when accelerating through hard turns, with the tires clawing for traction. Compared against its AWD German competitors, the RL possesses a refined poise, holding the road commendably and predictably. It is an effortless car to drive harder than socially acceptable, and the AWD works its power transfer so seamlessly the driver is only aware that it is working, not how it is.
A full 75 more horsepower than last year's RL is quite evident, with the aluminum V-6 delivering invigorating performance. It revs smoothly, and it is entertaining to modulate with the steering-wheel-mounted shifters. With only 260 pound-feet of torque, and its horsepower peak coming at 6200 rpm, the V-6 does concede grunt to the V-8 competitors.
Priced just under $50,000, the Acura RL delivers a compelling package for the money, supported by a Better than Average cost of ownership. The sedan speaks to a tech-savvy car shopper seeking to be both pampered and entertained, whether from vehicle dynamics or the audio system. The ability for the car to adapt to driving conditions broadens its appeal, as its owner spectrum runs from the avid driving enthusiast to the mature driver.
Backed by a 4-year, 50,000-mile warranty, the Acura RL is an easy car to recommend and a hard car to fault, by any measure.
Designed for 21st-century luxury living, the all-new Acura RL sets a high-water market for sophistication, technology, and safety.