2012 New York Auto Show: Acura preview flagship sedan with RLX Concept

Article by Christian A., on April 4, 2012

Acura continues to reinvent itself and as a result it revealed today at the 2012 New York Auto Show the RLX Concept. Set to make its debut on the market at the beginning of 2013, the new RLX Concept will be the company’s new flagship sedan. According to Acura, the RLX Concept is powered by a new 3.5L direct-injected VTEC V-6 engine and Sport Hybrid SH-AWD system, with three electric motors which deliver a combined 370 hp.

The engine is mated to a 7-speed dual clutch transmission (DCT) and makes the car capable to deliver V8 performances with four-cylinder fuel economy (the RLX has an estimated EPA rating of 30/30/30 mpg city/highway/combined). The production RLX will be offered in a 310-horsepower, front-wheel-drive version.

Regarding the design, the car looks good but we can’t say it let us speechless. It features Acura signature Jewel Eye headlamps, new front and rear bumpers but also a new set of 20-inch forged aluminum wheels wrapped in 255/35 R20 high-performance tires. Acura says that the front-wheel-drive versions of the RLX will use its all-new Precision All Wheel Steer system, which provides for independent control of the steering (toe) angle of the right and left rear wheels by utilizing electrically controlled actuators. This system works in tandem with Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) and Variable Gear Ratio (VGR) steering to deliver an extraordinary level of cornering control and steering precision.

The all-wheel-drive RLX models will receive Acura's highly advanced Sport-Hybrid SH-AWD (Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive) introduced at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show on the NSX Concept. In terms of safety, the Acura RLX will offer Collision Mitigation Braking System and the first application of Acura's Lane Keep Assist System, but also the Forward Collision Warning and Lane Departure Warning. Passive safety features will include front, side and side-curtain airbags for the driver and front passenger, and a driver's knee airbag.

To make sure that the Acura RLX continues to follow the human-centered synergy principle, inside is one of the most advanced communications, infotainment, and navigation systems that come with controls that are both easy and intuitive. It offers dual LCD screens, with one having an 8-inch display and the other a 7-inch unit with touch screen capability.

The one-touch access ensures direct and easy management of important function that includes, among others, heating and cooling, navigation, and audio. This even allows access to the voice-to-text SMS function. A highlight in this model is that it has the latest AcuraLink Communication System. Through the two-way cellular communication built in, it manages to deliver a wide range of features aimed at convenience.

Features include airbag deployment notification, concierge service, remote locking and unlocking, and stolen vehicle tracking. That said, the Acura RLX also has a host of active and passive safety system equipped into it. It has the Collision Mitigation Braking System as well as the Lane Departure Warning and the Forward Collision Warning. The latter two in particular will be fitted as standard.

The RLX will also be the first time the Lane Keep Assist System will be included. Examples of the passive safety systems are the front and side airbags for the driver and the passenger sitting in the front. There will also be side-curtain airbags offered for these two and additionally, the driver will have the knee airbag as well.

As part of the safety systems, the Acura RLX will have the brand’s very own second generation of the Advanced Compatibility Engineering body structure. Through these different safety systems, Acura believes that the RLX will be able to get the TOP SAFETY PICK rating from the IIHS and likely even the 5-Star Overall Vehicle Score from the NHTSA.

Press Release

Acura RLX Concept Makes World Debut in New York

Acura today held the world debut of the Acura RLX Concept at the New York International Auto Show, providing luxury buyers with a first look at the design and engineering direction for its all-new Acura RLX flagship sedan, slated for launch at the beginning of 2013.   

The RLX Concept employs an extraordinary array of new Acura technologies, including the Sport Hybrid SH-AWD® system, in combination with sophisticated styling and smart packaging to deliver an entirely new level of performance, sophistication and comfort.

Utilizing highly efficient packaging, the RLX Concept delivers the interior space of a large luxury sedan with the footprint and agility of a midsize luxury sedan. The RLX Concept's all-new 3.5L direct-injected VTEC® V-6 engine and Sport Hybrid SH-AWD® system, with three electric motors, combine to generate more than 370-horsepower, and are paired with a 7-speed dual clutch transmission (DCT) and lightweight body to deliver V-8 acceleration with four-cylinder fuel economy—with an estimated EPA (city/highway/combined) rating of 30/30/30 mpg.

"We have created a true luxury sedan based on our Acura DNA," said American Honda president & CEO, Tetsuo Iwamura. "This means achieving advanced performance through engineering efficiency to create a unique synergy between the vehicle and its driver. Inside and out, on the open road or city streets, the sophisticated and elegant Acura RLX will offer a level of connectivity, comfort and advanced performance demanded by today's luxury buyers." 

Acura also announced that the production RLX will be offered in a 310-horsepower, front-wheel-drive version, which will also deliver superior handling performance through the application of another new Acura technology— Precision All Wheel Steer™.


The RLX Concept styling builds on Acura's 'Keen Edge' design motif with its taut and aerodynamic shape, carefully tailored proportions, and sophisticated and distinctive detailing.  Its athletic stance is accented by 20-inch forged aluminum wheels and 255/35 R20 high-performance tires.  Dimensionally, the RLX Concept is approximately the same length as the current RL, but with a two-inch longer wheelbase and two-inch shorter front overhang. Both the track and vehicle width increase by approximately two inches.

Acura's exclusive new Jewel Eye™ LED headlamps debut on the RLX Concept. The Acura signature Jewel Eye™ headlamps use a dual-stacked array with a total of ten separate high-intensity LED lamps, with ultra-reflective optical lenses and high-gloss trim, to provide powerful down-the-road illumination while simultaneously giving the RLX a highly distinctive and bright-eyed look in both daytime and nighttime conditions.

Body and Chassis

Through engineering efficiency, including substantial use of high-strength steel and aluminum, the RLX Concept achieves an ultra-rigid and light body design, with the front wheel drive version to weigh in at well under 4,000 pounds. An all-new double wishbone front suspension, multi-link rear suspension, Amplitude Reactive Dampers and electronic power steering with a variable gear ratio team to provide the foundation for the RLX's precise and intuitive handling control — termed by Acura as "Inomama" or "at the will of the driver."

Front-wheel-drive versions of RLX will utilize Acura's all-new Precision All Wheel Steer™ system. This system provides for independent control of the steering (toe) angle of the right and left rear wheels by utilizing electrically controlled actuators. Precision All Wheel Steer™ works in tandem with Vehicle Stability Assist™ (VSA®) and Variable Gear Ratio (VGR) steering to deliver an extraordinary level of cornering control and steering precision.

All-wheel-drive RLX models add even more handling performance with Acura's highly advanced Sport-Hybrid SH-AWD® (Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive), recently introduced at the 2012 North American International Auto Show on the NSX Concept. The performance hybrid system utilizes a front-mounted electric motor, located within the dual clutch transmission, and a unique dual electric motor drive unit with a bilateral torque adjustable control system to instantly generate negative or positive torque to the rear wheels during cornering. This provides a new level of agility and confidence to create an "on-the-rails-cornering" experience.


The Acura RLX will offer an extensive array of passive and active safety features. These include a Collision Mitigation Braking System™ and the first application of Acura's Lane Keep Assist System.  In addition, Forward Collision Warning and Lane Departure Warning will be offered as standard equipment on the RLX.

Passive safety features will include front, side and side-curtain airbags for the driver and front passenger, and a driver's knee airbag. The RLX also incorporates the second generation of Acura's Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure, with reinforced front frame members for further enhanced frontal crash energy management. The RLX is expected to achieve a 5-Star Overall Vehicle Score from NHTSA and TOP SAFETY PICK status from IIHS. 

Advanced Telematics

In keeping with the 'human-centered synergy' focus of Acura, the RLX will feature state-of-the-art communications, navigation and infotainment technologies with intuitive and easy-to-operate controls. Dual LCD screens (8-inch display and 7-inch touch screen) will provide easy and direct one-touch access to key functions — including audio, heating and cooling, navigation and voice-to-text SMS text message function.

The RLX will also feature the first application of the next-generation AcuraLink® Communication System, which incorporates built-in two-way cellular communication to deliver an array of new convenience features, including airbag deployment notification, stolen vehicle tracking, remote locking and unlocking, security alarm notification and concierge service.

An all-new, 14-speaker ultra premium audio system will be offered in addition to Acura's award winning ELS Surround® sound system. Both audio systems provide MP3 connectivity via USB along with integration of HD radio™, Pandora® internet radio interface and Aha Radio® interface via Bluetooth® smart phone pairing. Using Aha, RLX drivers  can choose from thousands of web-based audio stations, including music, live news, podcasts, audio books, personalized points of interest, and audio newsfeeds from Facebook and Twitter. In addition, a new Acura-exclusive smart phone application integrates smart phone functions (such as email, text messaging and contacts) into the RLX's on-demand touch screen functions. Bluetooth® HandsFreeLink® calling and pre-loaded text message replies provide for easy two-way communication.

The RLX also will be available with Acura Navigation System with Voice Recognition™. This innovative system offers the driver a wide range of search options including Bing™ search functionality and the option for an AcuraLink® concierge to send a destination to the vehicle's navigation system. In addition, the RLX navigation system will feature AcuraLink Real-Time Traffic™ for both highways and surface streets.

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