Overview: The RLX was a huge leap forward for Acura in terms style and content, but the Sport Hybrid SH-AWD version delivers the performance that customers expect.
Drivetrain: A 3.5-liter V6 makes 310 horsepower and 272 pound-feet of torque; six-speed automatic transmission directs power to the front wheels; Sport Hybrid SH-AWD employs the same V6 plus three electric motors to deliver 377 horsepower to all four wheels.
The RLX caters to Acura fans wanting something a bit bigger, more luxurious and more technically proficient than the smaller TLX. The standard RLX comes with a 310-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 backed by a six-speed automatic transmission with paddle-shift controls. It also features Acura’s Precision All-Wheel Steer. When cornering, the rear wheels point slightly in the direction of the turn, thus reducing the front-wheel-drive’s tendency to continue in a straight line, even with the steering wheel turned (called understeer). During braking, however, both rear wheels are automatically angle toward the center of the car for maximum control. For more performance, the Sport Hybrid SH-AWD model has the same 310-horsepower V6 as the regular RLX, but uses a seven-speed transmission with an integrated electric motor/generator along with a standalone electric motor behind each of the rear wheels. The combined output is 377 horsepower and 341 pound-feet of torque. Unlike previous systems, the SH-AWD uses electricity to determine exactly how much power should go to each rear wheel. That means no heavy driveshaft or rear differential to worry about, but the lithium-ion batteries, motors and other bits balance things out in the end with a 330-pound increase over regular models. Befitting of its hybrid technology, the Sport Hybrid achieves a major jump in fuel efficiency, most notably in the city (28 mpg for the hybrid versus 20 for the gas-only version). The RLX arrives with plenty of content, but you will need to shell out more than the $55,400 base price to add the full suite of collision-mitigating features plus a navigation system, premium leather package and your choice of two high-end audio systems.