Auto Review: Acura RLX: Luxurious technology

By Bill Heald - ReminderNews
Featured Article - posted Thu., May. 23, 2013
2014 Acura RLX - Contributed Photo

It’s easy to call a lot of new cars futuristic, because the inclusion of new features and advanced safety technology has been inundating the marketplace at a stunning pace. Case in point: Acura’s all-new 2014 RLX is designed to combine all the latest engineering into a package that gives unprecedented control to the driver. At the same time, the car provides the latest tools to keep you informed and entertained while pampering you in a luxurious cabin. When I say latest tools, you have to remember that as Honda’s upscale nameplate, Acura already has a reputation for incorporating the company’s latest engineering accomplishments into refined, luxurious cars. This flagship is Acura’s ultimate expression of what’s possible in a performance sedan, and the result is an entertaining automobile that proclaims the future is here now (and even welcomes in the 2014 model year a bit early).

The RLX is the most powerful production sedan Acura has ever built, courtesy of a 310-horsepower, 3.5-liter Direct Injection V6 engine. In addition to being potent, this engine also has Variable Cylinder Management that deactivates some cylinders when appropriate to increase fuel economy.

The lone transmission is a six-speed automatic with a sequential-shift manual mode that’s operated with paddle shifters located on the steering wheel.  Front-wheel drive is the standard drive format, with an all-wheel drive model arriving later this year. There are five trim levels available and we tested the top-of-the-line Advance version that was loaded with innovative electronics. This included Acura’s standard Precision All Wheel Steering (P-AWS), which allows the rear wheels to change their toe angle and therefore work in concert with the front wheels to steer the car through curves. “P-AWS uses an all-electric system that enables crisper lane changes, more nimble turning in sharp curves, and enhanced dynamic response at higher speeds,” says the Acura release on this system. The car is quite stable during aggressive cornering, although the operation of the rear wheels is so subtle most drivers likely won’t notice they’re involved.

With a longer wheelbase than the RL (which the RLX replaces), interior room is improved, especially in a back seat that pampers passengers with limo-like surroundings. In addition to the latest in luxury coachwork, the RLX Advance is loaded with electronic aides (and therefore has an enormous number of acronyms on its equipment manifest), including Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), Lane-Keeping Assist System (LKAS), Forward Collision Warning (FCW) and Lane Departure Warning (LDW). This is just a sampling of the advanced electronics on this car, and all these systems are designed to help the driver to avoid accidents, rather than just protect the occupants in the event they occur.

All this technology comes at a price, of course, and the RLX is no bargain, but it certainly feels like you get what you pay for. The 2014 Acura RLX is EPA rated 20 MPG city/31 highway and our sticker came to $61,345.

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