The 2014 Acura RLX replaces the RL, and offers a completely new approach for the automaker. It is powered by a 3.5-liter V-6 engine that makes 310 horsepower and is linked to a six-speed automatic transmission.
The RLX is front-wheel drive, but offers four-wheel steering, meaning the rear wheels can be turned in both directions, providing improved handling and agility.
The RLX also features Agile Handling Assist, which creates smoother steering and can apply brakes to individual wheels.
The ride was sportier than what we've become accustomed to in Acuras, while remaining quite refined. Engine noise was virtually nil, and acceleration and braking were handled simply and comfortably.
On the outside, the RLX offers a sweeping front-to-back design that addresses some of the criticism that Acura has received in the past for boring designs that were basically glorified takes on its sister brand Honda's styles.
The LED headlights offer new styling, with bulbs clustered in each lamp. The RLX comes with 18-inch alloy wheels, but 19-inchers are available.
We got a few head turns from bypassers when driving the car, from folks who might not have realized at first glance that they were seeing an Acura.
On the interior, leather seating is standard, with fancy perforated leather seats optional. Metal and imitation wood trim combine nicely throughout to present a classy, but not overstated look.
There are two display screens on the center console, with the larger one on top showing navigation or audio information and the smaller one below showing controls for climate and audio systems.
All the luxury technology you would expect is present, including three-zone climate control, Bluetooth connectivity and USB/iPod docking. Safety technology is also abundant, including blind spot monitoring and automatic braking if the sensors detect a crash that is about to occur.
This terrific package of luxury, technology and performance comes with a steep price tag - starting at around $50,000 and ranging into the $60,000 neighborhood.
But get a look at this ride up close, then get behind the wheel, and you'll see that it is a worthy offering indeed.