2012 Acura RL Replacement Named RLX, Coming to New York

The confirmations of new product at the New York International Auto Show keep coming. This year the show is set to play host to a whole slew of important debuts. SRT Viper, Fisker Nina, Honda Crosstour Concept, Hyundai Sante Fe, the 2013 Chevrolet Impala and Traverse have all been confirmed. Earlier today Toyota released a teaser of what is likely to be the new Avalon.

Particularly in the full-size sedan arena the show will be an interesting one – Chevrolet Impala, Toyota Avalon (likely) and now the replacement for the Acura RL. Wards Auto has confirmed that the new sedan will be getting a name change, dubbed RLX. RLX? What is it with Acura these days sticking X on everything? We thought X was supposed to mean crossover, or at least all-wheel drive. Regardless, RLX it is. As far as full-size sedans go, the current RL is just about as uncompetitive as they come.

First introduced in 2004 as a 2005 model, the RL is overdue for a replacement. The mid-cycle enhancement it received for 2009 did it no favors, only making it look more dated (in our humble opinions). According to Acura’s vice-president Jeff Conrad, the redesign will be a total one. That is good news. Past reports have pointed to the new car being the first to debut Honda’s new hybrid Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive technology.

The system would eliminate the usual AWD driveline because the rear wheels would be powered by electric motors. This would enable the SH-AWD’s usual front-to-back side-to-side distribution of power. If true, that’s what we like to hear – innovative technology to differentiate Acura from the rest. Acura is near-luxury, and it has adopted that role wholeheartedly with the new ILX and redesigned RDX. It remains to be seen where the new sedan will be positioned. Without rear-wheel drive or V-8 power though, we don’t expect it to make much of an impact.