NEW_CAR_PREVIEW

2014 Acura RLX Preview

12/10/2012
Fast Facts:
  • RLX replaces RL in Acura lineup
  • More powerful than previous model
  • Larger inside and out
  • New Precision All-Wheel Steer (P-AWS) technology
  • New optional safety technologies
  • Standard Jewel-Eye LED headlights
  • Standard AcuraLink cloud-based smartphone integration and telematics system
  • Optional Krell Audio high-fidelity sound system
  • RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD debuts later

Introduction
The 2014 Acura RLX is a premium sedan sized and priced to compete in the mid-luxury segment. It replaces the Acura RL, and is larger and more powerful than that former flagship. The new RLX also debuts new features and technologies for Acura, as well as its Sport Hybrid powertrain.

"The 2014 Acura RLX heralds the introduction of a number of new signature Acura technologies that provide the driver a feeling of connection to the product, to the road, and to the world from the very moment they enter the vehicle," said Jeff Conrad, vice president and general manager of Acura Sales. "The RLX embodies the Acura commitment to create vehicles with outstanding handling that truly respond to the will of the driver."

Exterior Features
Acura says the 2014 RLX is more aerodynamic than the RL, which helps to improve fuel efficiency. Longer and wider than the model it replaces, the new RLX is equipped with an Acura-signature shield grille design and Jewel Eye LED headlight arrays to help create a more distinctive appearance. A capless fuel filler system is standard, along with front and rear park-assist sensors, rain-sensing wipers, and auto-dimming side mirrors. The RLX's standard 18-inch aluminum wheels have a noise-reducing design that Acura claims makes the car seven decibels quieter inside.

Interior Features
According to Acura, the new 2014 RLX offers full-size space in a midsize package, and the company claims that rear-seat leg room and shoulder room for outboard occupants are best in class. The Acura RLX is equipped with soft-touch cabin materials, wood-grain trim, metallic accents, and an extended-leather treatment.

Highlights from the standard equipment list include triple-zone automatic climate control, leather seats, power tilt/telescoping steering wheel, power rear sunshade, push-button ignition system, and a power sunroof. The 10-speaker sound system offers HD Radio, satellite radio, Pandora Internet radio, USB port, and an auxiliary audio input jack.

Optional Features
The new 2014 Acura RLX is offered in a standard level of specification with stair-step option packages that are treated as separate trim levels. For example, the RLX with Navigation includes a navigation system, and this is required to get the RLX with Technology and its upgraded 14-speaker premium sound system and 19-inch aluminum wheels.

If that sound system isn't quite good enough, Acura offers the RLX with Krell Audio, which includes an exclusive high-fidelity audio system. At the top of the lineup, the RLX with Advance is equipped with premium leather seating and a number of high-tech safety features.

Under the Hood
When the 2014 Acura RLX goes on sale during the spring of 2013, it will have a 3.5-liter V-6 engine generating 310 horsepower and 272 lb.-ft. of torque. Notably, Acura reports that 90% of the engine's peak torque will be available between 2,000 rpm and 6,000 rpm, helping to make the car feel more energetic.

The V-6 will include Honda's Variable Cylinder Management (VCM) technology, which shuts half of the cylinders off when the car is cruising or coasting to help conserve fuel. Acura estimates that the new RLX will return 20 mpg in the city, 31 mpg on the highway, and 24 mpg in combined driving.

A 6-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters and a Sport mode is standard, and delivers power to the RLX's front wheels. Acura also installs Precision All-Wheel Steer (P-AWS) on the new RLX, which allows for independent and continuous adjustment to the car's rear wheel steering toe angles to improve handling and maneuverability, according to the maker.

The RLX is also offered with Amplitude Reactive Dampers for the suspension, and an Agile Handling Assist system, which is a dynamic braking technology designed to improve the car's handling.

After the new RLX model's initial launch, the RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD (Super Handling All-Wheel Drive) will debut. It will contain Acura's new Sport Hybrid gas-electric drivetrain, which generates 370 combined horsepower and drives all four wheels. Not only is the RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD expected to be quicker and more agile than the standard model, but also it will be more fuel-efficient with a projected 30 mpg rating for both city and highway driving, according to Acura.

Safety
The new Acura RLX is constructed around a next-generation version of the automaker's Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) body structure, which is designed to deflect crash energy away from the car's cabin and occupants.

Several safety technology options are offered for the new RLX, including forward-collision warning with Collision Mitigation Braking, adaptive cruise control system with Low-Speed Follow, lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assist system, blind-spot information system, and a multi-angle reversing camera.

AcuraLink service includes an air bag notification system that automatically contacts authorities should the air bags deploy, helping to speed rescuers to the scene of the accident.

As this preview is written, the 2014 RLX has not been crash-tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

Technology
The new 2014 RLX is equipped with a 7-inch LCD touch screen used to operate audio, climate and connectivity systems. AcuraLink, a cloud-based smartphone integration and telematics system that allows the owner to run applications right on the RLX's touch screen, is standard and includes a free limited-time trial subscription.

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