Competes with: Lexus LS, Hyundai Equus, Infiniti M, Lincoln MKS, Jaguar XF
Looks like: The return of a big luxury sedan for Acura
Drivetrain: 310-hp, 3.5-liter V-6 with direct injection and a six-speed automatic transmission
Hits dealerships: Spring 2013
Acura plans to replace its current RL model with a new luxury flagship, the RLX, for 2014. It debuted as a hybrid concept at this year's New York Auto Show, but the RLX's architecture inside and out changes for the initial production model. It’s set to hit showroom floors in spring 2013.
The new RLX gets a fair share of high-tech safety and entertainment features like cloud-based AcuraLink connectivity system and Precision All-Wheel Steer, which allows for independent, continuous control of both rear wheels for improved handling during high- and low-speed driving. Parent-company Honda first used this steering system on its Prelude sports cars in the late 1980s.
A new direct-injected 3.5-liter V-6 makes 310 horsepower and teams with a six-speed automatic transmission. The RLX's V-6 engine features cylinder deactivation and is to get 20/31 mpg city/highway. While complete details have yet to emerge, a 370-hp RLX Sport Hybrid with Super Handling All-Wheel Drive will launch after the gas-powered model; the hybrid is expected to get 30/30 mpg.
Wearing a wide, sleek appearance, the all-new RLX features full-LED headlamps and standard 18-inch wheels designed to reduce tire noise. The cabin has leather and wood trim, a dual-screen center console for available navigation and various multimedia systems, Milano leather seats and an available Krell Audio premium stereo system.
Safety features on the upcoming 2014 RLX include lane departure warning and lane keep assist systems, forward collision warning, adaptive cruise control, multiview rearview camera, Agile Handling Assist, which helps navigate curves, and a blind spot monitoring system.
Pricing has yet to be released but expect the gas-powered Acura RLX, which will be available in five trims, to go on sale this spring, with the RLX Sport Hybrid following soon after.