ACURA ADDS THE X FACTOR
2014 Acura RLX
This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!
Published on Fri, Dec 6, 2013
By: The LACar Editorial Staff
Back in 1986, Honda was the first of the Japanese automakers to venture into the luxury market with the Acura Legend. Thereafter, Toyota and Nissan followed in Honda’s footsteps with the Lexus and Infiniti brands, respectively. The Legend went out to pasture when Honda decided it wanted people to focus on the Acura name. Accordingly, the Legend became the RL. After being overshadowed by Lexus and Infiniti, Acura decided earlier this year that the RL needed the X Factor. Harvey Schwartz tests the all-new 2014 Acura RLX. By Harvey Schwartz The all-new 2014 Acura RLX with the Advance Package adds more power, performance, comfort, luxury, high-tech connectivity and safety systems that take this all-new top-of-the-line Acura into a higher position competing against the best mid-size luxury sport sedans on the market. The RLX is the most powerful, spacious and technologically advanced Acura sedan ever. It’s powered by a new 3.5 liter SOHC “Earth Dreams Technology” V6 engine, featuring an aluminum block and heads, direct injection, intelligent VVT + Lift electronic control, and four-valves per cylinder, generating a healthy 310 horsepower at 6,500 rpm and 272 pound-feet of torque at 4,500 rpm. It also features variable cylinder management cylinder deactivation system that is said to improve fuel economy when cruising. This engine is mated to a re-engineered, six-speed automatic FWD transaxle with sequential Sportshift paddle shifter on the steering wheel including a Sport mode to remap for faster and higher RPM gear changes and tighten the dampers for more spirited handling. The new Grade Logic Control is designed to work with the transmission to keep it in the proper gear when driving up or down hilly terrain. The new fully independent suspension provides an amazing ride of a sport sedan and a luxury sedan all rolled into one. Up front is a double-wishbone, lower double-joint setup with telescopic gas-filled Amplitude Reactive shocks and a 33mm solid stabilizer bar. A multi-link rear suspension setup also features the telescopic gas-filled Amplitude Reactive shocks and a 25mm solid stabilizer bar to keep the RLX flat when attacking steep curving roads. It is tremendously responsive and flattens out the potholes on rough roads. Giving me an even more responsive feedback from my steering inputs is the electric power rack & pinion steering system, which features Acura’s Precision All-Wheel Steer (P-AWS) that continuously monitors and calculates the amount of independent rear-wheel steering (toe angle) necessary to help you maneuver through tough curving roads with ease and stability. With these systems and Acura’s Vehicle Stability Assist with Traction Control, I have found no hint that the all-new RLX is a front-wheel-drive sedan. There is no torque steer nor understeer with the P-AWS system. Steering is quick and responsive with a ratio of 13.9:1 and just 2.58 turns lock-to-lock. If you so choose, you can shut down the Traction Control system to let the rear slide out a little at the apex of the curve to got my pulse running higher. Quickly and safely slowing the all-new RLX down from speed are some big, powerful brakes. Up front are 12.3 inch vented discs clamped with large, Acura lettered single-piston calipers. The rear features 12.2 inch solid discs also clamped with large single-piston calipers. Keeping control of the RLX during hard braking on wet or slick pavement are standard ABS, EBD and BA systems. The RLX with Advance came shod with 19X8 inch noise-reducing alloy wheels wrapped with Michelin 245/40R19 inch Primacy MXM4 high-performance all-season tires. This returned a smooth ride with superb traction. The new RLX is larger than the previous RL in several key exterior dimensions, including width, wheelbase, and front/rear track. The wheelbase, at 112.2 inches, is two inches longer than before, providing more rear passenger legroom (the segment’s longest at 38.8 inches) and segment-leading front shoulder room in the mid-luxury class (59.6 inches front and 57 inches rear). At 74.4 inches wide, the RLX is also a substantial 1.7 inches wider than the last RL. Static and dynamic rigidity and rear lateral stiffness are significantly improved. To increase stiffness and rigidity in key areas with increasing weight, 55 percent of the RLX body is made from high-strength steel. Hot-stamped high-strength steel is used in key areas for enhanced safety collision performance, with the added benefit of anticipated high score in narrow offset, side impact, and roof strength tests. Extensive use of aluminum body components in key areas, such as the hood and trunk lid, saves 76.1 pounds compared to traditional all-steel construction. The all-new styling is beautiful with the ‘Jewel-Eye’ LED headlights that enhance the RLX’s appearance while providing outstanding light distribution and improved down-the-road illumination. Also up front is a new softer interpretation of the ‘overbite’ front grille that now is modernized with black lattice inside surrounded by two chrome bars and a chrome surround. Down below is another air-intake, also fronted with lattice to bring more air into the engine bay. At the sides are orange-colored driving lights, surrounded by chrome instead of fog lamps (the new LED headlights do such a great job of lighting up the view at night). Further down is a splitter with spoiler under the bumper and a flat underbody tray to help with airflow. The new hood shows a wave pattern over the flared front fenders to the steeply raked windshield A-pillars. From the side are pull-out door handles, aero-styled power-remote/power-folding/self-dimming/heated sideview mirrors, a full-perimeter chrome strip around the greenhouse, deep lower side extensions, a tapered roof, fast rear glass that leads to a short trunk lid with a lip spoiler. The rear features large, wraparound LED lamp clusters, and a chrome strip tying them together. Down below are reflectors instead of the conventional dual exhaust found on most other high-end luxury performance sedans. The all-new RLX hides the exhausts tips underneath located between the diffuser, for a cleaner finish in the rear. The best thing when I look underneath is that there isn’t just two exhaust tips but four, two at each end—presumably to better exit the hot exhaust gases generated from the high-tech V6 engine or at lease look cooler). This new look is taut and athletic, in motion when standing still. It’s just what you want to to expect from Acura designers: beauty and brawn. What clearly sets the all-new RLX apart from past Acura models is the sumptuous, comfortable and luxurious cabin. Each door opens wide to reveal a new design with the best interior materials and attention to detail. High-end premium elements like a carefully stitched leather instrument panel cover, soft-touch materials, leather-trimmed seats and door panels, premium aluminum and chrome accents and rich wood grain accents combine with an intuitive new control layout to create a distinctive environment in tune with this luxury performance sedan’s clearly defined sporting character. The RLX is a true five-seater with space increased in key dimensions as compared to the 2012 RL, with more shoulder room front and rear. Rear seat legroom has been increased a substantial 2.5 inches. Heated/cooled 12-way driver/eight-way passenger front seats also feature four-way lumbar support. Each Milano leather bucket seat is supremely comfortable for long or short drives and has abundant lateral support for aggressive driving times. The power tilt and telescoping steering wheel feels great in your hand and contains redundant controls for the high-end Krell audio system, radar-sensing cruise control, Bluetooth and trip computer. Standard tri-zone climate control ensures driver and passenger comfort front and back. With the expanded range of standard and optional technology features built into the RLX, substantial effort was put into making each feature intuitive and easy-to-use. The focal point of the new instrument panel is a large, eight-inch color audio/information screen that provides a range of useful information and access to an array of customizable features. When equipped with a navigation system like my Advance model, the screen positioned in this same location combines audio/information and navigation functions. A seven-inch color On Demand Multi-Use Display (ODMD) touchscreen is positioned within easy reach and controls the audio system and climate controls. The RLX is equipped with the next-generation AcuraLink cloud-based connected car system, delivering a comprehensive array of media, convenience and security services via embedded two-way communications and web-enabled devices. AcuraLink leverages Pandora interface for streaming audio and the Aha by Harman cloud-based interface to provide users with thousands of customizable cloud-based news, information and media feeds. The next-generation AcuraLink also delivers an array of available, subscription-based security and convenience features, such as AcuraLink Real-Time Traffic featuring freeway traffic and, for the first time, surface street traffic information. The new generation of the system makes its debut in navigation-equipped trims of the RLX and will be available with three-tiers of service: the Standard Package, which is complimentary for three years and the Connect and Premium Packages, which are subscriber-based services providing new levels of connectivity for the luxury customer. The incredible Krell Audio system features 14-speakers and amplifiers engineered over the last four years for the new RLX by one of the most respected audio companies in the world. It sets a new benchmark in automotive audio performance and I couldn’t rave more about this awesome system with such a clear and concert quality sound. More standard equipment, not mentioned above, with the Advance package inside includes a multi-angle rearview camera, XM satellite radio, HD radio, Bluetooth, SMS text messaging functionality, 2-driver memory system, push button start/stop, Homelink system, all express windows, power rear sunshade, manual side-window sunshades, map pockets behind the front seatback, remote trunk release, center console with dual cupholders, armrest and two-tiered storage box, auto-dimming reaview mirrors, four-grab handles, dual map lights, dual lighted vanity mirrors, rear pull-down armrest with dual cupholders, remote keyless entry with Smart Entry, rubber and aluminum door entry plates, front/rear floor mats, trunk underfloor storage and theater lighting. The Technology Package includes Blind Spot Metering and the Advance Package includes Collision Mitigation Braking system, Adaptive Cruise Control, Land Keeping Assist system, heated rear seats, parking sensors, and auto-dimming sideview mirrors. Standard safety equipment includes driver/front passenger’s dual stage airbags, driver/front passenger side airbags with SmartVent, rear outboard side impact airbags, side curtain airbags with rollover sensor, driver knee airbag, electronic parking brake, Lane Departure Warning, Tire Pressure Monitor, ACE II Body Structure LATCH System for child seats and five-3-point safety belts with front pretensioners and load limiters. The all-new 2014 Acura RLX is a luxury sport sedan that I didn’t want to give up after my seven-day test drive. It is the greatest Acura mid-size sedan ever with new levels comfort, luxury, performance, safety and innovation only found in the world’s best full-size sedans. I was very impressed with what Acura has accomplished on put on the market. © Story and pictures by Harvey Schwartz For more information about Acura products, go to acura.com SPECIFICATIONS Name of vehicle: 2014 Acura RLX Price: $48,450 (base) $60,450.00 RLX with Advance and Technology Packages (as tested) EPA mileage estimates: 20 mpg city/31mpg highway/24 mpg combined Engine type: 3.5 liter SOHC “Earth Dreams Technology” V6 engine, featuring an aluminum block and heads, direct injection, intelligent VVT + Lift electronic control, and four-valves per cylinder Horsepower: 310 horsepower at 6,500rpm Torque: 272 pound-feet at 4,500 rpm Transmission: 6-speed automatic transmission with Sequential SportShift paddle shifters and Grade Logic Control Drive configuration: Front-wheel drive Steering: Electric Power-Assisted Rack-and-Pinion Steering (EPS) Suspension 4-wheel independent double-wishbone, with split lower control arm front / multi-link rear Brakes Front Disc: 12.3-inch ventilated Rear Disc: 12.2-inch solid 4-wheel disc brakes with anti-lock braking system (ABS) Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD) Brake Assist Automatic Brake Hold Wheels and tires: 18” x 8.0” noise-reducing aluminum-alloy wheels (RLX) 19” x 8.0” noise-reducing aluminum-alloy wheels (RLX w/ Technology, Krell and Advance packages) P245/45 R18 high-performance all-season tires (RLX) P245/40 R19 high-performance all-season tires (RLX w/ Technology, Krell and Advance packages) Dimensions Total length: 196.1 inches Total width: 74.7 inches Total height: 57.7 inches Curb weight: 3,981 pounds