The 377-horsepower Acura RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD luxury-performance sedan will be on public display for the first time this week at the Los Angeles International Auto Show, showcasing Acura’s dynamic new three-motor hybrid system.
The 2014 Acura RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD, which launches next spring, is the first vehicle to deploy Acura’s new three-motor hybrid powertrain technology. The system combines a highly efficient, direct-injected V-6 engine with an all-new, Acura-designed, 7-speed dual clutch transmission with built-in electric motor and an electrically powered variant of Acura’s highly regarded torque-vectoring Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD).
This advanced new hybrid powertrain delivers exhilarating driving performance with incredibly responsive power delivery and precise, sure-footed handling performance like no other vehicle in its class. Supported by the instantaneous torque delivered by its high-output electric motors, the RLX Sport Hybrid runs a 0-60 mph time comparable with competitor’s V8-powered machines. This performance, however, is coupled with a 28/32/30mpg (city/highway/combined) EPA fuel economy rating1, which is in the range of 4-cylinder-powered luxury sedans.
Powertrain and Drivetrain
The RLX Sport Hybrid’s 3.5-liter, 310-horsepower, i-VTEC® V-6 engine with Variable Cylinder Management™ (VCM™) includes an idle-stop feature to help maximize fuel efficiency. The engine is mated to an all-new, 7-speed dual clutch transmission with built-in electric motor. In automatic mode, the transmission provides highly responsive and intuitive gear selection, including matching engine revs during downshifts, in manual mode, the Sequential SportShift paddle shifters give the driver gear selection control to make virtually seamless ratio changes.
The electric SH-AWD system on the RLX Sport Hybrid eliminates the conventional drive shaft and rear differential, replacing them with two high-output 27-kilowatt electric motors. The rear motors dynamically distribute both positive (drive) and negative (regenerative braking) electric-motor torque, depending on driving conditions, and which torque vectoring assists in cornering. The system is further aided by a 35-kilowatt front electric motor that supplements engine torque to the front wheels and provides regenerative brake torque to charge the vehicle’s 260-volt lithium-ion battery pack.
Body and Chassis
With a longer wheelbase and wider greenhouse than competing mid-luxury sedans, the RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD delivers full-size interior space in a nimbler, mid-size luxury sedan package. The RLX boasts the longest rear-seat legroom (38.8 inches), and best front (59.6 inches) and rear (57.0 inches) shoulder room in the mid-luxury class. The RLX advanced body design makes extensive use of high-strength steel and aluminum, further aiding its outstanding fuel efficiency, straight-line performance and superior handling agility.
In front, the RLX’s double-wishbone, lower double-joint front suspension with Amplitude Reactive Dampers significantly improves handling agility, driver confidence and security, and ride sophistication. In back, the RLX’s multi-link rear suspension is optimized for a flat ride during cornering, confident turning capability, and a smooth ride in a variety of urban, highway and open road scenarios.
Acura technology firsts on the 2014 Sport Hybrid also include the Acura electronic gear selector and Acura Head-Up Display System. The Acura electronic gear selector replaces the conventional, center console-mounted shift lever with an efficiently packaged push-button array that allows the driver to easily select the desired drive mode—Park, Drive and Reverse, as well as Sport and Normal driving modes. The Acura Head-Up Display System provides the driver with at-a-glance access to key driving information projected on the windshield. Display modes include Sport Hybrid system operation, turn-by-turn navigation, speedometer and compass, as well as alerts from various driver-assistive systems.
The RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD features Acura’s signature Jewel Eye™ LED headlights, which offer outstanding light distribution and excellent down-the-road illumination performance and light characteristics. The RLX taillights utilize periphery LED illumination that is both effective and highly distinctive.
With the expanded range of standard and available technology features built into the RLX, substantial engineering effort was put into making each feature intuitive and easy-to-use. The focal point of the new instrument panel is a large, 8-inch color screen that combines audio/information and navigation functions and provides access to an array of customizable features. An additional 7-inch color On Demand Multi-Use Display™ (ODMD) touchscreen is positioned within easy reach and controls the audio system and many other features.
Audio and Connectivity
Exceptional audio performance has long been an Acura hallmark, and in the RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD, two audio systems are offered. The Technology package includes the Acura/ELS Studio® Premium Audio System with an advanced 14-speaker array. In the Advance package, the 14-speaker Krell system — with speakers and amplifiers engineered by Krell, one of the most respected audio companies in world — sets a new benchmark in automotive audio performance.
The RLX is equipped with the next-generation AcuraLink® cloud-based connected car system, delivering a comprehensive array of media, convenience, and security services via embedded two-way communications and web-enabled devices. AcuraLink® leverages Pandora® interface for streaming audio and the Aha™ by Harman cloud-based interface to provide users with thousands of customizable cloud-based news, information and media feeds. The next-generation AcuraLink® also delivers an array of available, subscription-based, security and convenience features, such as AcuraLink Real-Time Traffic™ featuring freeway traffic and, for the first time, surface street traffic information.
Safety and Driver-Assistive Technologies
The new RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD offers an extensive array of advanced safety, visibility and driver-assistive technologies that put the RLX on the leading edge of collision avoidance and assisted driving capability. Standard and features include a Multi-Angle Rearview Camera, Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS), Forward Collision Warning (FCW) and Lane Departure Warning (LDW), along with Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS), Adaptive Cruise Control with Low-Speed Follow and Blind Spot Information (BSI) system.
Utilizing Acura’s next-generation Advanced Compatibility Engineering™ (ACE™) body structure, along with seven airbags (including a driver’s knee airbag), the RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD is anticipated to earn top-level safety ratings, including a 5-star NCAP Overall Vehicle Score and an IIHS “TOP SAFETY PICK+” rating, plus a GOOD rating in the IIHS small overlap front collision test.