2014 Acura RLX Research Click to hide
Acura has taken us by surprise with the new RLX Sport Hybrid flagship sedan. Typically known for its emphasis on comfort and value, Acura is heading in a bold direction with its emphasis on fiendish performance. While it is unlikely to go against major rivals from BMW and Mercedes-Benz, this new model puts Acura on the map with buyers looking for more than just a practical luxury car.
The Acura RLX Hybrid is meaner than it looks. In what Acura calls "the most powerful and technologically advanced Acura sedan ever made," the RLX Sport Hybrid features a 3.5-liter direct-injected V-6 paired with three electric motors. It delivers 377 horsepower, or around 70 more than the traditional RLX. Despite its power , the hybrid is expected to achieve a combined 30 mpg rating.
Who It's For
The RLX lineup is not a huge seller for Acura, and the all-new Sport Hybrid version is expected to be even more of a niche product. We have seen luxury automakers try and balance incredible amounts of horsepower and fuel economy, with mixed success (ahem, BMW). While it will not appeal to most Acura buyers, the RLX Sport Hybrid will likely catch the attention of consumers looking for speed and power in a more sedate, less flashy package. Buyers who are looking for a comfortable luxury cruiser, but are unwilling to compromise on performance, may find their elixir in the RLX.
One advantage Acura holds with this vehicle is that there is limited competition in this space. Acura's closest competitor in this field is probably the Lexus GS 450h, which features a similar balance of power and fuel economy. Other competitors may include the Infiniti M35h or Audi A6.
Thankfully, Acura doesn't stray too far from its roots. The RLX Sport Hybrid retains all the things we love about Acura, including its generous technology features.
- Precision All-Wheel Steer , which allows the left and right rear wheels to steer independently of each other to improve handling
- Acura Sport Hybrid Super Handling all-wheel drive
- Aha personalized radio
- Jewel eye headlights, a new design feature that Acura has made its hallmark
What We Think
Although we have always thought the RLX is a worthy entry among sedate luxury cars, we have long been looking forward to the souped-up hybrid version and its promised power. We're not quite sure, however, if the market is large enough for a 377-horsepower hybrid luxury sedan. We have a feeling we need to sit down and drive this car to make our final conclusion.
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