There is no sugar-coating the fact that the Acura RL has been a dud since Day One. Honda's luxury brand is painfully aware of this fact, especially since next to nobody purchased the pricey sedan. Then again, the RL has suffered the indignity of being outgunned by a lower-priced model from within its own portfolio, so we can see how selling one has been an uphill climb for dealers. But Acura has an all-new luxury flagship waiting in the wings, and it's seen its first light of day as the RLX Concept, which just debuted at the New York Auto Show.
Honda is quick to point out that the sedan will provide large car interior volume in a mid-size package.
Like most other Honda/Acura concepts, the RLX is sure to look much the same in production trim. The concept features a new design direction for the upscale marque, with more understated yet elegant lines that just look more expensive than the outgoing RL. With the exception of the fussy concept car wheels, we think it looks rather crisp, though it is very conservative and has a trunk that reminds us more than a little bit of the BMW 7 Series when viewed in profile. The concept appears to be quite large as well, but Honda is quick to point out that the sedan will provide large car interior volume in a mid-size package.
The RLX concept arrives packing some advanced technology under the hood as well, including an all-new 3.5-liter V6 mated to a seven-speed dual clutch transmission. But the reworked V6 and all-new transmission is just part of the powertrain story. The concept also features an advanced Sport Hybrid SH-AWD system that helps boost overall power to a V8-like 370 horsepower.
The concept features a Sport Hybrid SH-AWD system that boosts power to a V8-like 370 horsepower.
The "hybrid" part of that title includes what Acura is calling a "unique dual electric motor drive unit with a bilateral torque adjustable control system." Basically, it's a through-the-road electric all-wheel-drive setup with torque vectoring on the rear axle. The same Sport Hybrid SH-AWD system first appeared on the NSX concept, and we drove a prototype of the system disguised as a Honda Accord last November. Acura promises fuel economy numbers of at least 30 miles per gallon on the highway and in the city.
The production RLX will also be available sans electric-AWD system, with 310 horsepower coming solely from the 3.5-liter V6. The front-wheel-drive version will feature a plethora of technology that improves handling, including Amplitude Reactive Dampers, a new double-wishbone front suspension and a multi-link rear suspension. It will also weigh in "well under 4,000 pounds," which should help in the handling department.
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