It’s out with the old and in with the new. Last year, Acura shocked consumers when it announced it would be replacing its flagship sedan, the Acura RL, with a completely redesigned successor, the Acura RLX. The changing of the guard was understandable. 2012 was a difficult year for Acura’s RL, whose monthly sales only reached double digits.
For those mourning the loss of the Acura RL, dry those eyes. The RLX is the RL’s sexier daughter – a little wilder, but mature enough to take out to respectable places.
The Acura RLX has lost some weight, slimming down 160 lbs from its predecessor. The secret to its rapid weight loss is its aluminum body, which makes the RLX the “most aluminum-intensive Acura” since the much beloved Acura NSX.
Keeping with the rest of its brood, the Acura RLX’s styling is paired down and elegant. The multifaceted LED lamps are encased in a pair of brushed back headlights. Throughout the exterior, smooth and prominent horizontal lines shape the panels, giving the Acura RLX a strong yet sleek appearance.
The whisper-quiet Acura RLX interior is completely redesigned, cradling impressive features in carefully stitched premium leather. Some features include knee airbags, Active Lane Keeping, and Low-Speed Cruise Control. However, the most notable of these elements is the duo of color touchscreens. The topmost screen handles navigation, while the bottom controls music, replacing the monotone display of the previous model.
The 3.5L, V-6 engine churns out 310 horsepower with 272-lb-ft of torque. Although it may seem like a downgrade from the RL’s 3.7L at first glance, the Acura RLX actually puts out 10 more horsepower than its predecessor and helps the RLX go from 0-60 in 6 seconds flat. The V6 engine features both direct injection and cylinder deactivation (aka Variable Cylinder Management.) The estimated MPG of the Acura RLX is 20 city and 31 highway, with a combined MPG of 24. This is a 22 percent improvement over the previous model.
Not surprisingly, a hybrid version of the RLX is in development, which strives to bring up the combined MPG to 30.
The Acura RLX is comfortable enough for aging baby boomers, but still edgy enough for the original counterculture generation. With these significant design updates, Acura hopes baby boomers will bite and end the RL line’s dry spell.
The Acura RLX will go on sale in March, with the base price starting at $49,345.