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post #1 of 249 (permalink) Old 09-21-2012, 06:15 AM Thread Starter
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Info Acura RLX Thread


The production model of the all-new 2014 Acura RLX will debut on November 28, 2012, the 1st press day of the 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show, it was announced today. The new Acura flagship sedan will employ an array of new technologies unique to Acura, including the Precision All Wheel Steer™ system, the next-generation AcuraLink® Communication System, and the all-new Jewel Eye™ LED headlamps to deliver an entirely new level of performance, sophistication and comfort.


The front-wheel-drive version of the 2014 RLX will utilize Acura’s new Precision All Wheel Steer™ system. This system automatically makes slight adjustments to the relative rear wheel (toe) angles by utilizing electrically controlled actuators to deliver an extraordinary level of cornering control and steering precision. The front-wheel-drive RLX will come equipped with an all-new 3.5-liter direct-injected VTEC® V-6 engine producing 310 horsepower (SAE net).


The RLX will feature the 1st application of the next-generation AcuraLink®, which incorporates built-in 2-way cellular communication to deliver a variety of new convenience features, including airbag deployment notification, stolen vehicle tracking, remote locking and unlocking, security alarm notification and concierge service. Acura’s exclusive Jewel Eye™ LED headlamps use a dual-stacked array of multiple high-intensity LED lamps, with ultra-reflective optical lenses and high-gloss trim, to provide powerful down-the-road illumination, while simultaneously giving the RLX a distinctive and bright-eyed look in both daytime and nighttime conditions.


The Acura RLX will offer an extensive array of passive and active safety features. These include a Collision Mitigation Braking System™ and the 1st application of Acura’s Lane Keep Assist System. In addition, Forward Collision Warning and Lane Departure Warning will be offered as standard equipment on the RLX. Passive safety features will include front, side and side-curtain airbags for the driver and front passenger, and a driver’s knee airbag. The RLX also incorporates the second generation of Acura’s Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure, with reinforced front frame members for further enhanced frontal crash energy management. The RLX is expected to achieve a 5-Star Overall Vehicle Score from NHTSA and the new TOP SAFETY PICK PLUS status from IIHS.


Press materials will be posted on Acura Media Newsroom - Headlines immediately following the press conference.

About Acura
Acura offers a full line of technologically advanced performance luxury vehicles through a network of 272 dealers within the United States. The Acura lineup features 7 distinctive models including the RL luxury performance sedan, the TL performance luxury sedan, the TSX Sport Wagon and sedan, the ILX compact luxury sedan, the RDX luxury crossover SUV, the MDX luxury sport utility vehicle and the ZDX 4-door sports coupe.


Ways to connect with Acura:
Media Information: Acura Media Newsroom - Headlines
Consumer Information: Acura.com ? Official Home of Acura Cars and SUVs
Facebook: Acura | Facebook
Twitter: Acura Insider (Acura_Insider) on Twitter
YouTube: Acura - YouTube
Google+: https://plus.google.com/+acura


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post #2 of 249 (permalink) Old 09-22-2012, 10:47 PM
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post #3 of 249 (permalink) Old 09-23-2012, 06:53 PM
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Those better not be the actual wheels.
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post #4 of 249 (permalink) Old 09-24-2012, 07:02 AM Thread Starter
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I highly doubt that those will actually be the production wheels. I would be surprised if they were even an optional upgrade.

I did see some closeup pics that made them look better than these would suggest but still a bit much for this car.

This is ear-marked as my next ride as long as Acura does not do anything too crazy like jack the price up.
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post #5 of 249 (permalink) Old 09-24-2012, 12:31 PM
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the grille not lining up with the headlamps, like the TL, still bothers me.

also, that close up of the car makes it look like a spider.

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post #6 of 249 (permalink) Old 09-28-2012, 10:31 PM
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I highly doubt that those will actually be the production wheels. I would be surprised if they were even an optional upgrade.

I did see some closeup pics that made them look better than these would suggest but still a bit much for this car.

This is ear-marked as my next ride as long as Acura does not do anything too crazy like jack the price up.
I just think those wheels should never be made, ever.
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post #7 of 249 (permalink) Old 11-05-2012, 09:45 AM Thread Starter
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We first saw the 2013 Acura RLX in concept form at the 2012 New York auto show back in April. And with less than 2 months left in the year, Acura appears to be putting the finishing touches on its upcoming flagship sedan.

This black prototype was snapped earlier this week, wearing less camouflage than the test mule we caught during the summer. As with most Acura spy cars we’ve seen, the biggest give-away is up front where the automaker’s signature power plenum grille (notoriously referred to as the “beak”) is completely distinguishable. Acura stated the RLX would come standard with all-LED headlights, and those are visible in the photos, too. The side character lines are heavily disguised, so we can’t say for sure how the production car’s profile will compare to the concept. However, we do see rims that are much tamer than the large pinwheel-style design used on the concept. In back, things look pretty close to the concept, with similar, heavily stylized headlights.


Also unknown is what powertrain this prototype is packing. As previously reported, the new RLX will come with 2 drivetrain choices. The 1 most enthusiasts are excited about is the Sport Hybrid SH-AWD, which will include a 3.5-liter V-6 and 1 electric motor at each rear wheel. At the rear axle, each wheel will have the ability to turn at different speeds, improving the RLX’s handling through corners. The technology is similar to what will be used in the upcoming NSX supercar. Details about the base powertrain are not out yet, but it’s rumored to be a front-drive 310-hp V-6.

Expect the RLX to come standard with a long list of tech goodies such as an infotainment system with 2 LCD screens, Collision Mitigation, and Acura’s first Lane Keep Assist system. Once the RLX arrives early next year, it will be Acura’s 2nd hybrid offering — the 1st being the compact ILX that went on sale a few months ago.

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post #8 of 249 (permalink) Old 11-05-2012, 09:51 AM Thread Starter
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post #9 of 249 (permalink) Old 11-05-2012, 02:06 PM
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I don't get it... it looks way more like an Accord than the TL does. The looks need to be better differentiated more than what Honda is doing.

When it comes to Toyotas, ALL acceleration is unintended.

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post #10 of 249 (permalink) Old 11-12-2012, 03:05 PM Thread Starter
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We have a pretty good idea what the new Acura RLX looks like based on the concept shown at this year’s New York auto show. And now we’ve test-driven both versions of the RLX’s powertrain at Honda’s Tochigi, Japan, proving grounds. Our test cars were previous-generation Accords equipped with RLX running gear.

The front-wheel-drive version debuts 1st next spring. It’s powered by a direct-injection version of Honda’s 3.5-liter V-6 making at least 310 hp and 265 lb-ft of torque, which is basically the same output as the 3.7-liter in the outgoing RL sedan with a claimed 10% increase in fuel economy. A 6-speed auto manages the gear swaps. Key to the front-wheel-drive RLX is what Acura calls Precision All-Wheel Steer (yes, animal lovers, it spells PAWS). This system has 2 electric motors built into the rear toe link, and each link can act independently, a world 1st. Under braking, PAWS will increase toe-in for enhanced stability. In a lane-change maneuver, the rear wheels will steer in the same direction as the front wheels, whereas the rear wheels turn opposite of the front in tighter corners. The total adjustment is roughly 2 degrees in each direction, and a Honda engineer on hand said it acts in less than a second. It also works at all speeds.

On our test drive, a few laps around a 0.8-mile handling course, the RLX exhibited much less understeer than we expected from a large front-wheel-drive sedan. Turn-in was especially sharp, and the car held the line particularly well in sweeping corners. When coming out of corners, we did notice a slight bobble as PAWS adjusted, not enough to upset the chassis but enough to tell that the system was working.

The all-wheel-drive RLX forgoes the rear-wheel steering and instead employs what Acura calls Sport Hybrid Super Handling All-Wheel Drive. This new version of SH-AWD uses two 27-hp electric motors at the rear wheels instead of a driveshaft and clutch packs. The 3.5-liter V-6 still is present under the hood, but paired to a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic with an integrated 40-hp motor that also acts as a generator. Peak total system power is about 370 hp, but the car feels stronger thanks to the instantaneous torque of the electric motors, which assist propulsion up to 75 mph. The rear motors also provide torque vectoring in corners, putting resistance on the inside wheel (which generates electricity for instantaneous use, lessening the draw on the 6.7-kWh battery) and driving the outside wheel to minimize understeer. Track performance is impressive, with instantaneous turn-in and grip that seems to transcend the abilities of the Michelin Pilot Sport 3 tires. We didn’t have the chance to mess around too much, but there is no power oversteer. Jam on the gas and the car simply follows exactly where you point it with a neutral attitude.

There are other benefits to the system, as well. Not counting the batteries, the rear motors weigh less than the driveshaft and clutches in the mechanical SH-AWD system. Those motors, which can provide silent EV-style propulsion at low speeds have the side benefit of smoothing out the engagement of the dual-clutch transmission when pulling away from a stop. And the hybrid system helps fuel economy—we estimate EPA figures of around 30 in both city and highway driving, a big jump from the current RL’s 17/24 sticker.

Our brief preview has us eager to drive the full-production RLX, even if we’re not too excited to spend any time gazing at the, um, polarizing design. While the front-wheel-drive version offers interesting new technology with the all-wheel steering, we’re enthusiastic about the Sport Hybrid SH-AWD, a far more revolutionary concept in terms of performance. Stay tuned.
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post #11 of 249 (permalink) Old 11-12-2012, 11:01 PM Thread Starter
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When my colleagues learned I would be interviewing Takanobu Ito, Honda’s CEO and former engineer, most of their questions were some variation of, “When will Honda make a fun car again?”

Honda appears to have taken notice of such criticism, because before we got behind the wheel of a 2014 Acura RLX development mule, the automaker’s pre-drive presentations were full of big, bold examples of “FUN.” This being contemporary Honda, though, “ENVIRONMENT” and “SAFETY” weren’t far behind. The 2013 Honda Accord sedan is capable enough when it comes to safety and efficiency, but the car placed 2nd out of 6 cars in a recent comparison because it wasn’t as fun to drive as our 1st-place finisher. So does the Acura RLX bring the fun back to the Acura lineup?

Yes. Well, mostly yes. With the same basic drivetrain approach as the radical new NSX – dubbed “Sport Hybrid All Wheel Drive” – the top-of-the-line RLX is fun, based on our time driving a development mule. Whereas the NSX uses 2 unique motors to send power to the front wheels and a Hybrid V-6 to motivate the rear wheels, the RLX’s flips the system, with the fronts powered by a direct-injected 3.5-liter V-6 coupled to a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission with a built-in electric motor, and the rears by 2 individual electric motors that send instant torque to the outside wheel while regenerating (slowing down) the inside wheel. Think of the brake-steer system on a McLaren 12C and you’re halfway there.


The system doesn’t quite deliver the “on-rails” driving experience promised in the briefing, but it does perform some neat tricks. On the short course provided for evaluation, it was easy to push the RLX mule into a corner with understeer, let off the brakes to induce oversteer, and then feel the 2 motors work their magic and wiggle the butt back in line. Sport Hybrid SH-AWD (not to be confused with normal SH-AWD) is actually what Acura thinks will be the less popular of the 2 drivetrains offered when the RLX hits showrooms; the less expensive and less tech-heavy front-drive variant will be the volume RLX, which is powered by a 310-hp 3.5-liter V-6 and debuts at the 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show.

After driving the Sport Hybrid SH-AWD RLX and then the front-drive version, I walked away just as impressed with the base 2014 RLX mule, thanks to its new Precision All Wheel Steer system. Various forms of all-wheel steering have been around for some time; Nissan had it on the GT-R in 1986 and even Honda offered it on the Prelude starting in 1987. While Acura’s new system does all the old tricks – rear wheels mimicking the fronts during lane changes for high-speed stability, and aiming opposite the fronts for a hard corner to increase handling prowess – it offers a few new moves as well. For example, the precision actuators positioned in the toe control link use an electric extending and retracting arm to achieve an industry 1st “toe-in” position, which improves stability under hard braking.

Maybe it’s because I usually have a pessimistic approach to front-drive cars and their natural tendency to understeer, but I was pleasantly surprised with the PAWS’ aptitude around the handling course. The PAWS car, which felt like it was pushing around less weight up front, actually carries a higher percentage of its curb weight over the front wheels compared to the SH-AWD car. Bottom line: the system works. So for those who won’t be willing to spend the premium on the Sport Hybrid SH-AWD RLX, the front-drive version with PAWS will have little trouble prompting smiles from enthusiasts.


If the production RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD really returns the “dynamic performance equivalent to a V-8 with higher fuel efficiency than an in-line 4” as Acura says it will, then the brand’s upcoming flagship sedan will not only be an impressive handler, but also a drag strip and fuel economy champ. Based on our short and very early drive in Japan, it’s too early to validate those facts just yet, but we’re happy to report Acura’s on the right track. Systems such as Sport Hybrid SH-AWD and PAWS are steps in the right direction for heightening the fun factor. Perhaps the biggest takeaway from our time in the RLX is knowing that the next NSX, which will get a more potent version of Sport Hybrid SH-AWD, could very well take the fun factor off the charts.

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Acura may not quite have the prestige or the cachet of longtime luxury marques like Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar, or even Lexus, but it does have top-drawer access to the most innovative powertrain and chassis engineering developments from Honda. And with Acura’s upcoming flagship sedan, the 2014 RLX, it may very well make up for that with several breakthrough technologies that—based on what we’ve just experienced in some short road-course exercises—safer, more responsive, and a heck of a lot of fun to drive.

The most noteworthy of those technologies in the upcoming RLX is the so-called Sport Hybrid version of Acura’s Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) system, which uses 3 electric motors in all. That includes 1 high-power (30 kW or greater) motor built into a 7-speed automated dual-clutch gearbox, as well as 2 20-kW motors—each 1 individually powering the rear wheels.

This new powertrain promises much-improved acceleration and fuel economy versus the outgoing model, and it should put the new RL at the head of the pack for gas mileage among large, performance-oriented luxury sedans. In short, it promises acceleration and output (370 horsepower) on the level of a modern V-8, with better fuel efficiency than a 4-cylinder models.

Rear wheels push and pull around corners

While that’s the straight-line story, the real advancement in this system (which uses some technology that will also be used in the upcoming NSX supercar) is in handling. With the electric motors, you get power delivered to the rear wheels to aid traction in bad weather or to help neutralize understeer during handling. But it’s better than that; each of those rear-wheel motors operate fully independently, meaning that 1 of them can deliver positive torque while the other can generate torque in the opposite direction—generating a yaw moment and making a more effective correction to vehicle stability than a brake intervention alone.

Acura just this week allowed us the chance to get a preview of how this system will feel from the driver’s seat. Driving an advanced RLX development mule—within a Honda Accord—we were able to negotiate a tight road course extremely quickly. The system showed its strengths both in tight corners and in more gradual, higher-speed corners. At the tightest corners we could feel power being applied to the outer rear wheels while the inner rear wheel opposed or ‘pulled back’—helping to rotate the car and seamlessly minimize understeer. Right at the limit the angles could very gently and safely be altered with the accelerator.

Although we didn’t get a chance to experience the hybrid system under gentle, more ordinary driving, we did notice, as we did in our drive of the new i-DCD system for small cars, that the electric motor in front helps smooth shifts of the 7-speed dual-clutch transmission by providing an added kick of power just before and during shifts.

Motor system ready for a workout

Judging not only by what we felt ‘by the seat of the pants’ but also by an interactive display mode showing power flow, the system gets a workout on the track. Engineers said that they’ve put the system to the test in some demanding high-temperature conditions. The electric motors at the rear wheels are oil-cooled, and they’ll only reduce their torque output somewhat if they do rise above a particular temperature. Meanwhile, of course, the new system makes even ham-fisting more fuel-efficient.

Front-wheel-drive versions of the 2014 RLX aren’t left out; they get their own all-new handling-oriented technology, called Precision All Wheel Steer. The idea builds on decades of development of rear-wheel steering systems and is quite simple: a special actuator is placed along the toe-control link for the multi-link rear suspension. Through it, the system can electronically manage rear toe-in—adding varied amounts of it to the inside rear wheel (up to 2 percent)—to increase stability during abrupt handling maneuvers, like high-speed lane-changes, or to reduce understeer during other higher-speed corners.

A ‘nudge’ into a more confident line


The effect of this technology (and its advantages) is more straightforward than that of the hybrid system (which we look forward to revisiting when it’s close to production), and it’s easy to feel in both tight corners and high-speed sweepers. It’s especially pronounced in tight corners and in high-speed lane-change maneuvers, where it provides a subtle yet noticeable ‘nudge’ of the back end—not widening its line, but making it feel more neutral near the limit, and more like the front and rear wheels are following your intended line. It’s all very fluid and there’s nothing digital in the way the system deals with transitions.

There’s 1 other big advantage of Precision All Wheel Steer: more stable braking. On abrupt stops, no matter the speed, the RLX system kicks the toe in smoothly up to a maximum, to help keep the rear wheels more stable.

Between these 2 breakthrough technologies, we already anticipate that the 2014 Acura RDX will be more responsive and enjoyable to drive—as well as more efficient—than a number of those top-shelf luxury sedans. And with these technologies here, and perhaps further developed in the NSX, we wouldn’t be surprised if the Acura name does some status-climbing in the next few years.
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post #13 of 249 (permalink) Old 11-14-2012, 09:37 AM Thread Starter
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Tokyo — They may look like regular 2008 Honda Accord sedans, but the cars seen here are actually engineering mules for chassis and powertrain technologies that will underpin the 2014 Acura RLX luxury sedan.

The 1st technology is Precision All-Wheel Steering for front-wheel-drive versions of the 2014 Acura RLX. PAWS consists of 2 electrically adjustable suspension links, 1 at each rear wheel, that can adjust the alignment of each wheel by up to about 2 degrees. Steering the rear wheels isn’t a new idea in itself, but while previous systems moved the rear wheels by the same amount, Honda’s PAWS is claimed to the 1st that can operate the wheels independently on each side, allowing for better control.

PAWS has 3 primary procedures: Under hard braking, it angles both rear wheels inward slightly (toe in) to improve stability; in normal cornering, the rear wheels are angled opposite to the front wheels to reduce the car’s turning circle (in right turns, the rear wheels point toward the left of the car); and in some high-speed lane-change maneuvers, the rear wheels move in the same direction as the front wheels to improve stability.

We tested an Accord with the system on a 0.8-mile handling loop at Honda’s R&D facilities here in Japan and found it promising. When you enter a corner and add steering input, there’s a miniscule pause before you feel the car tighten its line slightly as the rear wheels add more steering. It produces a sensation of rotation that gives the car a livelier feel than is typical of front-wheel-drive cars. At lower speeds, PAWS makes for easier maneuvering because of the reduced turning circle. PAWS also can correct under- or oversteer by adjusting the line of the rear wheels, which means sometimes PAWS can fix small slides without any need for the brake-based electronic stability control to activate.

Torque-Vectoring Hybrid System

We then had a chance to sample an Accord mule with what Honda calls Sport Hybrid Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (Sport Hybrid SH-AWD), which will be the upgrade powertrain choice on the 2014 Acura RLX. It uses a 3.5-liter V-6 engine and 7-speed dual-clutch transmission, augmented by a 30-kW electric motor/generator, to power the front wheels. A separate pair of 20-kW electric motors powers the rear wheels.

In general, the Sport Hybrid SH-AWD mule behaved like a normal hybrid car. In electric driving, only the rear motors are used. The front motor acts as a starter for the V-6 engine, a generator under braking, and also provides extra torque for hard acceleration. Acceleration was brisk and smooth, although we think Honda is over-promising when it says the setup provides V-8-levels of thrust. The dual-clutch transmission shifts promptly and smoothly, and even blipped the throttle to downshift as we braked for turns — although engineers later confessed that was because the transmission was locked in a sport mode.

The rear motors, meanwhile, provide torque-vectoring during cornering. As shown by a power-flow animation in the car’s head-up display, the outer wheel is overdriven while the inner rear wheel acts as a generator, sapping power and dragging to help turn the car. The goal, like with PAWS, is to provide sharper turning and more lively handling by using the rear wheels to help influence the car’s rotation. It’s quite successful in making the car turn in quickly, although the added weight of the motors and batteries mean the Sport Hybrid SH-AWD mule felt a lot less nimble than the PAWS car.

The torque vectoring still works if the main hybrid battery is depleted because power from “dragging” the inner wheel powers the outer wheel. The function works at all vehicle speeds, even at parking lot speeds. A more powerful version of this powertrain will be used in the 2015 Acura NSX, but it will be reversed so that V-6 powers the rear wheels and the 2 electric motors power the front wheels.

Honda and Acura hope that the development of these 2 systems will help imbue new cars, starting with the 2014 RLX, with a sportier driving dynamic that will help them compete with the best German and Japanese luxury cars. We’ll put that to the test in the real world when we drive the Acura RLX sometime next year.
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What is it?

While Acura's RLX flagship sedan isn't slated to arrive in dealerships until next spring, we had an opportunity to sample the new car's 2 drivetrain setups installed in previous-generation Honda Accord bodies. Our test venue was a short handling course at Honda's Tochigi research and development center in Japan.

The RLX will launch with front-wheel drive. It will be powered by a 3.5-liter direct-injected V6 delivering 310 hp and 256 lb-ft of torque, and is mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission. Standard is Honda's new "precision" all-wheel-steer system, which uses actuators in the rear suspension to adjust wheel toe angles independently. Acura says the system works with stability control and the variable gear-ratio steering to improve cornering ability and steering response. Additionally, the system provides better stability under hard braking, when both the rear wheels toe in. According to Acura, the system is the world's 1st independent left and right rear toe-control system.

Customers looking for all-wheel drive in their RLX will have to wait until next fall and will also have to want a hybrid. The range-topping RLX will feature the Sport Hybrid SH-AWD system, 1st shown on the NSX concept. It uses the 3.5-liter V6, an in-house developed seven-speed dual clutch sequential manual transmission with a built-in motor, 2 20-kilowatt motors at the rear to distribute variable torque to the right and left wheels and a lithium-ion battery pack. Acura is aiming to provide V8 performance with at least 370 hp and 4-cylinder fuel economy with an estimated EPA combined fuel economy of 30 mpg.

While the upcoming NSX production car employs the same Sport Hybrid SH-AWD system as the RLX, the major difference is that the mid-engine supercar's gasoline engine will drive the rear wheels and the 2 electric motors will power the front wheels and deliver more power.

What's it like to drive?

We first set sail around Honda's Tochigi test track with the front-wheel-drive drivetrain and "precision" all-wheel-steer system. In the 4 laps allowed, we were impressed with the car's tracking ability through corners. Where most front-drive Acura vehicles have the tendency to understeer through slow- to medium-speed corners, the RLX drivetrain mule offered plenty of control. At turn-in there is the slightest bit of push in the car before the rear end falls in line and scoots itself around. We even dialed-in more steering angle mid-corner to see what the car would do and were surprised to have the car quickly respond and go where pointed.

The 3.5-liter V6 delivered power smoothly and pulled nicely through the rev band, with a decent sounding exhaust note to boot. The 6-speed automatic performed crisp shifts and was well-tuned for quick downshifts when more power was ordered.

Next we hopped into the Sport Hybrid SH-AWD and immediately picked up on the dual-clutch's incredibly quick upshifts and aggressive downshifts with rev-matching. When diving into corners under braking, it almost felt like the gearbox was downshifting a hair too early when left in full automatic mode. However, when we opted to shift gears ourselves with the steering wheel-mounted paddles, shift response was a bit sluggish in the prototype.

During our 4 laps, the SH-AWD system allowed for some rear slip angle that was entertaining before stability control jumps in to bring things back in line when you push it too hard, but it takes a lot of pushing. There's a heavy dose of grip available in track situations, which means the RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD should be incredibly sure-footed on regular roads. Acceleration is brisk from launch and out of corners with all 4 tires clawing the pavement.

Speaking of tires, the prototype mules were outfitted with some serious performance tires-Michelin Pilot Sport 3s to be exact-that contributed some to both cars' nice steering response and high grip levels. It's doubtful that production RLXs will come from the factory equipped with this type of performance rubber, but we expect it to still perform well with higher-performance all-season rubber.

Braking in both cars was strong and easy to modulate, featuring a pleasing, firm pedal feel, which is especially nice on the hybrid-since the brakes on most hybrids often operate like on/off switches.

Do I want it?

There are many interesting aspects to Acura's new top sedan, but we don't expect people to cross shop it between other luxury flagships such as the Mercedes-Benz S-class, BMW 7-series, Audi A8 and Lexus LS. Even though the RLX's wheelbase is stretched 2 inches over the outgoing RL, it still lacks the dimensions to compete in that field. Instead, look for the RLX to play with the likes of the Mercedes E-class, BMW 5-series, Audi A6 and Lexus GS. From that perspective, the RLX could well entice some buyers with the innovative features such as the all-wheel-steering system on the lower end and the hybrid system at the top.

Unlike other hybrids, such as the BMW ActiveHybrid 5 which is geared toward fuel economy, the Acura RLX's hybrid is there for efficiency and improved handling performance. Acura is trying to break from the notion that hybrids are only there to satisfy green weenies, and the Sport Hybrid SH-AWD makes a strong case on both accounts with its handling prowess and fuel economy expected to punch in at 30 mpg.

More details and the final styling of the production model will be revealed at the Los Angeles auto show on Nov. 28. Expect the Jewel Eye LED headlamps from the RLX Concept that debuted in April at the New York auto show to make it to production, along with a slew of other available features such as a collision-mitigation braking system and lane-keeping assist. Forward-collision warning and lane-departure warning will be standard.
2014 Acura RLX

On Sale: Spring 2013 (FWD)/ Fall 2013 (SH-AWD) Base Price: $55,000/$62,000 (est)

Drivetrain: 3.5-liter, 310-hp, 265-lb-ft V6; FWD, 6-speed automatic/3.5-liter, 370-hp, V6 hybrid; AWD, 7-speed dual-clutch sequential manual

Curb Weight: 3,700 lb/4,000 lb (est)

0-60 mph: n/a

Fuel Economy: 32 mpg (est)/30 mpg (mfr est)
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