The Acura RL was re-introduced as an all-new model for 2005 featuring a new 3.5L V-6 engine and what Acura calls "SH-AWD" (the "SH" stands for "Super Handling"), which helps steer the vehicle and enhance its maneuverability by compensating for understeer and oversteer while cornering. There are few changes for 2006, most notably the addition of Michelin PAX run-flat tires as well as an optional Technology Package that includes CMBS (Collision Mitigation Braking System) that employs a radar unit in the car's grille to monitor distance and the closing rate between the RL and the vehicle ahead of it. The system then calculates the likelihood of a collision and can intervene to avoid the accident. Also part of this package is adaptive cruise control that uses the same components to maintain distance when cruising down the road.
In addition to being all-new for 2005, the RL is the first Acura to utilize an Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) body structure designed to enhance occupant safety by dispersing collision forces over a larger frontal area. The car's lightweight chassis and four-wheel independent suspension components are designed to work with the "Super Handling All-Wheel Drive" (SH-AWD) system to provide linear cornering feel, optimized cornering traction, and a smooth ride. Propulsion comes from a 290-hp, 3.5L V-6 engine; power flows to all four wheels through a five-speed sequential SportShift automatic transmission with paddle shifter on the steering wheel.
The RL's exterior features a sporty, wedge shape. The interior adds luxurious touches with leather, real wood, and leading-edge technologies such as real-time traffic information integrated into the standard satellite navigation system and XM Satellite Radio for 22 major metropolitan areas. The car also comes with a Bose DVD/audio system with surround sound.
Michelin's PAX tire system, introduced earlier on Honda minivans, allows the RL to drive up to 125 miles at 50 mph after losing tire pressure. Standard safety features on the RL include a tire pressure monitoring system and front, side, and curtain air bags. The RL, like all 2006 Acura models, is covered by a new 6-year/70,000-mile powertrain warranty in addition to the regular 4-year/50,000-mile standard warranty.
The Acura RL competes in the Midsize Premium Conventional segment of the U.S. light-vehicle market. This segment accounts for little more than 2 percent of all sales, but is a highly competitive and prestigious category.
According to the J.D. Power and Associates Sales Report,SM the Lexus ES leads this category with 67,577 sales in calendar year 2005. Next are the BMW 5 Series (52,722 units in 2005), Mercedes-Benz E-Class (50,383), Cadillac STS (33,497), and Lexus GS (33,457). Acura sold 17,572 units of the RL in calendar year 2005.