The Acura RLX is a full-size luxury sedan manufactured by Honda and sold under their Acura division, released in 2013. Succeeding the Acura RL, the RLX offers two versions, a front-wheel drive base model equipped with Acura's Precision All-Wheel Steer (P-AWS) four-wheel steering system, and a hybrid variant featuring SH-AWD that serves as Acura's flagship.
An October 2009 Car and Driver blog cited a dinner with Acura executives who acknowledged that the introduction of the new, larger, and in some guises, more powerful, fourth generation Acura TL made it difficult to market the then-current RL. In November 2009, an Autoweek article reported that new Honda CEO Takanobu Ito told Automotive News that Acura is going to change course. Speaking of the worldwide economy before the collapse of investment bank Lehman Brothers, Ito said through an interpreter, "Pre-Lehman, we did have the idea to produce more multicylinder engines... I see the future of Acura as a merger of BMW and Audi -- something between high performance and high technology." As a result of this midstream change, Acura will be in a "low-growth period of developing new products," Ito said. "We were thinking that we could come up with glamorous, gorgeous products that would sell. Now, our premium products will be expressed in advanced environmental technologies, rather than glamorous things attached to the product," he said.
On April 4, 2012, Acura unveiled the RLX Concept, a replacement for the RL sedan, at the 2012 New York International Auto Show.
The RLX was unveiled at the 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show and went on sale on March 15, 2013. Production of the RL ended at the Saitama facility on June 16, 2012, to begin factory changeover to the RLX.
The RLX Sport Hybrid was debuted at the 2013 Los Angeles International Auto Show. Overall vehicle weight is up 357 lbs, with weight distribution (front:rear) improved from 61:39 in non-hybrids to 57:43 in hybrid models. It is offered as the Honda Legend in Japan. US sales began during September 2014, with 250 models produced for the 2014 model year and an additional 250 produced for the 2016 model year.
A direct injected 3.5-liter "Earth Dreams" V6 using VTEC and Variable Cylinder Management (VCM) coupled with a 6-speed automatic receive an EPA-estimated fuel economy of 20/31/24 mpg (city/highway/combined) and the maximum output is 310 hp and 272 lb-ft of torque. The fuel saving VCM system works in either 6 or 3 cylinder configurations, the new model uses more sophisticated engine mounts which bypasses the need for a 4-cylinder mode which would result in a lower NVH.
Hybrid models feature the VCM capability as well, with an added start-stop system to boost fuel economy further as well as the ability to operate entirely on electric power up to 58 miles per hour with light throttle usage. The hybrid also uses a 7-speed dual clutch transmission using an integrated 35 kW (47 hp) electric motor, with each rear wheel being powered by a 27-kilowatt (36 hp) electric motor, with 2 rear electric motors total. This setup gives the hybrid a torque vectoring all-wheel drive system with rear wheels strictly electrically powered.
A 72-cell 1.3 kWh 66 pound lithium-ion battery pack is placed behind the rear seat. Total power output is rated as 377 hp and 341 lb-ft of torque on hybrid models. EPA estimated fuel economy is improved to 28/32/30 mpg. It is given a CARB emissions rating of LEV III SULEV30 compared to the non-hybrids ULEV-2 ranking.
The front subframe is made from aluminum. Front suspension uses a double wishbone layout, while the rear is a multi-link with a Precision All Wheel Steer (P-AWS) system. ZF Sachs (ZF) supplies the "Amplitude Reactive Dampers" with two piston valves per damper. 18-inch wheels are standard, and 19-inch wheels with a noise reducing harmonic construction feature are optional for non-hybrids and standard on hybrids, a feature similar to that used in the previous face-lifted 2011 Acura RL. Suspension tuning is oriented towards the sportier side of comfort.
Standard perforated leather 12-way (4-way lumbar) front seats are heated and on advance package models cooled, and rear seat room has been significantly improved. Rear legroom is similar to full size luxury flagship sedans (non-extended wheelbase versions). An 8-inch navigation screen along with a 7-inch touch screen display for audio, climate, and various shortcut controls with AcuraLink are also standard.
An optional flagship 14-speaker Krell audio system replaces the Bose system used on the previous model RL. A mid-level 14-speaker ELS Studio Premium system using Panasonic components is also optional. The base ELS Premium system uses 10-speakers.
Hybrid models include an electronic transmission gear selector, head-up display, use acoustic (PVB layered) glass for all doors and the windshield, and navigation is standard. The 14-speaker ELS Studio Premium system is standard and Krell system optional. GPS-linked climate control, voice recognition, and a keyless access system with a push-button start are also standard.
The standard Jewel-Eye LED headlamps each use 5 separate LED light sources (4 low beam, 1 high beam) with 10 polished lenses (8 low beam, 2 high beam). The headlights no longer swivel through corners as they did on the previous generation RL. The hood, front fenders, and outer door panels are made from aluminum, aluminum use in the RLX saves a total of 79.1 lbs over steel components.
The hybrid comes standard with LED foglamps.
All models come standard with a multi-angle rear-view backup camera, Forward Collision Warning system (FCW) and lane departure warning. An automatic braking front precrash system with electronic front seatbelt pretensioners is available, as is a lane keeping assist system and adaptive cruise control. Optional Adaptive Cruise Control with Low-Speed Follow, Blind Spot Information System and automotive head-up display are available.
Brakes with Brake Hold Control holding the car at a stop without the use of a brake pedal, Electronic Brake Distribution, Brake Assist, an Agile Handling Assist that applies the brakes on the wheels inside a curve, and Vehicle Stability Assist are standard.1 vehicle structure also rated "Good"
2 strength-to-weight ratio: 5.18