The 2014 Acura RLX strengthened its role as the Acura brand luxury flagship sedan earlier this year when Acura introduced what they call the all-new Acura RLX saying it is the most powerful, spacious and technologically advanced sedan in the history of Acura.
Based on our recent opportunity to drive the top-of-the-line model - the Acura RLX Advance - for a full week around Central Texas, we think they have really nailed it.
The new Acura RLX is beautifully styled, nicely tuned and solidly engineered to deliver performance in a very well executed premium luxury package that does not break the bank.
The 2014 Acura RLX comes in five models starting with the RLX (MSRP $48,450) running through the RLX with Navigation ($50,950), RLX with Technology Package ($54,450), RLX with Krell Audio Package ($56,950) to the top-of-the-line RLX with Advance Package with an MRSP of $60,450.
Our test car - the RLX Advance - came with everything a premium luxury sedan should have and nothing it does not need - in a Crystal Black Pearl with Ebony interior and Milano Leather seating - running on 19-inch noise reducing alloy wheels with Michelin 245/40 R19 All -Season tires.
The delivered price for our 2014 Acura RLX Advance - it did not need any other options even if they were available - was $61,345.
At first look, we felt this new Acura luxury sedan for 2014 was something special - it did not disappoint.
Our first glance, of course, noted the distinctive exclusive Jewel-Eye LED headlights that were our first indicator that the RLX was special and, we later found, provided excellent light distribution with notably clear down-the-road illumination.
But getting behind the wheel is where we found the new Acura RLX to be really special.
The 2014 Acura RLX experience begins with the all-new front-wheel-drive power train that features Acura's first direct injected engine, the 3.5L SOHC i-VTEC V-6, with Variable Cylinder Management (VCM) cylinder deactivation system that enables it to run on four cylinders in certain conditions and still deliver all the performance needed on the highway with additional fuel economy. The new V-6 is mated to the re-engineered Sequential SportShift 6-speed automatic transmission with SportMode and paddle shifters for drivers wanting the sport drive experience and convenience.
This 2014 RLX power train is not only powerful but we found it also gets good fuel efficiency for a luxury sedan - delivering 310 horsepower and 272 lb.-ft. of torque and getting 20/31 MPG with an average of 24 MPG city/highway.
We took the opportunity to put 350 miles on the new RLX on a long day trip into the country that took us along four-lane state highways, two-lane country roads and even a stretch on the new 85 mph toll-way between Austin and San Antonio.
Our fuel economy for this day-long journey into the country, for a piece of pie (there is another story there), was an impressive 25.7 MPG.
The Acura P-AWS (Precision All-Wheel Steer system) adds to the road handling performance of the RLX by continuously monitoring and calculating the correct amount of independent rear-wheel steering (toe angle) necessary to help the RLX meet driving conditions with the utmost ease and stability. In plain English, it turns your rear wheels for you to improve the handling.
The ride was not only fast and efficient, but it was exceptionally comfortable and relaxing - with a remarkable cabin quietness that was worthy of luxury sedans costing $20,000 more.
The choices of premium materials, textures and surface touches blended nicely into a quiet elegance that, coupled with the very generous front and rear 5-passenger seating room, made us feel as if we were in salon of a very high end club. It is worthy of note that, in particular, the leg room in the rear seating is very much the equivalent of executive sedans costing thousands more.
The Acura RLX is also the hub of significant infotainment technology that more than meets the needs of today's busy executive and family.
The RLX is equipped with the next-generation of the AcuraLink connectivity system, delivering a bevy of new information, media, convenience, and security services via embedded two-way communications and web-enabled devices.
The new AcuraLink system is the first Acura to apply Aha by Harman, a cloud-based interface that provides users with thousands of customizable media and connectivity choices. The next-generation AcuraLink also delivers an array of available security and convenience features, such as AcuraLink Real-Time Traffic with the all-new surface street traffic information, airbag deployment notification, stolen vehicle tracking, remote locking and unlocking, security alarm notification and 24-hour personalized concierge services for restaurant reservations and more.
A couple of the unique features that significantly enhance the technology experience are the impressive audio system and the dual screen display system in the center stack.
Acura has partnered with Krell Audio to offer a home audio system quality system in the RLX Advance that includes a CD/DVD-Audio player, satellite radio, an iPod/iPhone/iPad interface, a hard drive, Bluetooth, and Pandora.
The Krell incorporates six main speakers, each comprising a 6.5-inch Zylon midwoofer and a 1-inch magnesium dome tweeter. There are two in the front positions, two in the rear doors, and two on the back deck. A 3-inch Kevlar midrange works as the center speaker, and an 8-inch carbon-fiber subwoofer on the back deck provides the bass. Each has a metal grille, which allowed Krell to use larger perforations and reduce the internal reflections than can make plastic-grilled speakers sound - well, so plastic. Each of the six main speakers has its own Krell-designed 50-watt amp, and the subwoofer has its own 100-watt Class D amp.
It should go without saying that the listening with the Krell system is simply amazing.
The dual display information screen system consists of an 8-inch unit that serves as a vivid display screen mounted at the top of the stack that is well shrouded to reduce glare and a 7-inch haptic (touchscreen) unit at the midlevel of the stack for the driver to access as desired to make adjustments to audio, telematics or information systems.
And last, but not least, the new RLX comes with an incredible array of advanced driver assistive and visibility technologies, including a Multi-Angle Rearview Camera, Forward Collision Warning (FCW) and Lane Departure Warning (LDW); along with available Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS), Adaptive Cruise Control with Low-Speed Follow, Blind Spot Information (BSI) system, and Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS).
If you are in the market for an affordable premium luxury sedan, the 2014 Acura RLX Advance is a must to see and drive.