Acura is altering its flagship sedan for 2018 with a brief record of essential digital upgrades and a much-needed makeover. Most evident is the absence of the chrome break the model tried to make synonymous with its lineup for a decade. The RLX’s new hallmark is a diamond pentagon grille, already seen on the TLX and MDX.
It nonetheless seems like a fowl of prey, however perhaps one higher fitted to swooping down and plucking Acura’s tanking gross sales from the water like a recent salmon — or maybe a barely smaller fish.
Mechanical enhancements are restricted to a brand new 10-speed computerized fitted onto the 310-horsepower front-wheel drive mannequin. Acura claims the brand new transmission delivers a extra refined driving expertise, in addition to improved acceleration and passing occasions. The RLX now is available in simply two trims: the beforehand talked about base mannequin and the Sport Hybrid, which provides all-wheel drive and a trio of electrical motors to extend the usual three.5-liter V6 powertrain’s output to 377 horsepower.
The bottom mannequin now comes with four-wheel steering, however neither mannequin represents a lot of an improve in energy from the earlier yr. Acura’s 310 horsepower three.5-liter may rush the automobile to 60 mph in 5.eight seconds in 2017, and the addition of a brand new transmission is unlikely to stray it too removed from that benchmark. The automaker claims the Sport Hybrid’s Tremendous Dealing with all-wheel drive system has been “additional optimized based mostly on NSX learnings” however didn’t specify how the digital torque-vectoring differs from the earlier mannequin yr.
Nonetheless, dealing with must be greater than competent with each fashions, and the RLX does supply among the greatest entry degree energy in its phase — however that benefit disappears the second you begin shelling out more money on its opponents. Nonetheless, in case you’re trying to set spectacular quarter mile occasions, you most likely aren’t out there for an Acura. The RLX is extra about understated luxurious and tech, which is the place the corporate spent most of its cash.
AcuraWatch now comes commonplace, outfitting every RLX with a collection of security options — together with computerized emergency braking, adaptive cruise management, and lane help. It additionally provides visitors jam help to develop its adaptive cruise management operate to low-speed driving eventualities. The brand new RLX retains the dual-stack heart console however seems to be missing an up to date infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which may show a deal-breaker for some.
Customary tools grows on the Sport Hybrid to incorporate a premium Krell sound system, surround-view digicam system, fog lamps, parking sensors, distant begin, heated and ventilated entrance seats, and heated rear seats.
New entrance seats get contrasting piping and stitching, whereas the automaker guarantees cabin supplies and contact factors are nicer than earlier than. There’s additionally a brand new “Espresso” inside colour choice, if you’d like one thing much less vivid than “Seacoast” (pictured) with out dropping its earthy attraction. After all, black and grey persist — neither of which is able to make the within of the automobile even remotely claustrophobic, because the RLX has at all times been fairly roomy.
Anticipate higher alternative in exterior colour choices. Beforehand, Acura offered the sedan with an array of off-whites, a reasonably expansive record of grey, and “Pomegranate.” Three new colours be a part of that record, together with an exceptionally vibrant pink. A lot of the noticeable modifications, in fact, are seen on the skin of the automobile. The brand new grille and hood makes the sedan seem way more aggressive, whereas the new wheel designs, LED taillights, twin exhaust finishers, and a black rear diffuser are first rate ending touches.
Whether or not this all provides as much as improved gross sales stays to be seen, however the firm appears to assume revising the model’s picture drawback is crucial to boosting quantity. “This redesign of the 2018 Acura RLX is transformational, creating street presence and styling that higher mirror underlying efficiency capabilities of the automobile,” mentioned Acura vp and common supervisor John Ikeda in a press release.
The RLX has seen considerably weaker gross sales yearly because it got here out in 2013 and solely offered 1,585 models in 2016.
Occurring sale in November, the 2018 Acura RLX’s pricing has but to be introduced. For comparability, a 2017 base RLX begins at $54,450, whereas the hybrid is available in at $59,950. Acura says it will make its debut at Monterey Automotive Week on August 15th.