Monday, July 16, 2012

Acura RLX Concept Previews Next Acura Flagship Sedan


Acura has dropped the unloved RL name. Finally. However, they did not bring back Legend. Instead, they added an X to create RLX. We’re not sold on the name, nor frankly the looks, but there are things we do like. For instance, the combined MPG rating is 30. But get this, the city and highway ratings are both 30. And the RLX is about the size of a 5 Series.

2012 New York: Acura RLX Concept Previews Next Acura Flagship Sedan image 

The coolest thing at the 2012 New York auto show might just be the bilateral torque adjustable control system on Acura’s RLX Concept. In a nutshell, there are two electric motors powering the rear wheels. What’s the big deal? Well, not only can one wheel spin faster, one wheel can actually be slowed down. Picture the way a Segway turns. It’s kinda like that, only with a big sedan attached. It’s the same technology, in fact, as the upcoming NSX. It’s all part of Acura’s Sport Hybrid SH-AWD, along with rear toe-angle control.

Acura hopes to free the renamed RLX from its wallflower status with sharper sheetmetal and its all-new powertrain highlighted by a dual clutch automatic transmission. The Acura RLX’s design is clean, with a simple character line in the profile that gradually drops at the front fender. The over-stylized rims won’t make it to production, though the taillights – which feature an LED or fiber-optic border – should. Also visible are the all-LED headlights, technology that befits the RLX Concept’s flagship status. And whether you like it or not, Acura’s beak-style grille is here to stay.

The RLX will be offered with two powertrains. First up is a new 3.5-liter direct-injection VTEC V-6 engine and Sport Hybrid SH-AWD system with a combined output of 370 hp. It’s mated to a 7-speed dual clutch automatic transmission. The second powertrain is a 310-hp front-drive version, which features Acura’s new Precision All Wheel Steer. Topping off the mechanical highlights are a revised suspension with Amplitude Reactive Dampers, a stiffer body with more high-strength steel and aluminum, and revised electric steering.

2012 New York: Acura RLX Concept Previews Next Acura Flagship Sedan image

Inside, the RLX will be loaded with a long list of flagship goodies including not one, but two LCD screens—one used as a display and one touch screen to control audio, navigation, and climate controls. The 14-speaker audio system will be capable of streaming Internet radio. Modern safety features include Collision Mitigation Braking System, Acura’s first Lane Keep Assist System, Forward Collision Warning, and Lane Departure Warning.

Acura says the RLX is scheduled for an on-sale date at the beginning of 2013. As always, stay tuned to Motor Trend for complete coverage of the 2012 New York auto show.


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