LA: 2014 Acura RLX

Competing in the luxury segment is no easy task. When you’re up against established competitors like Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz, it can be hard to establish a foothold. Particularly BMW and Mercedes-Benz have had years to build up cachet and prestige.

The manufacturers who have succeeded in some regard, like Infiniti, have done so with engaging to drive rear-wheel drive cars. Acura is a brand that has clearly lost its way for the past few model generations. Acura has shown that it doesn’t clearly know what it wants to be, and without an established premium image, the brand has floundered in the marketplace.

Recently we have seen a repositioning of sorts toward more entry-level luxury rather than trying to take it to BMW and Mercedes. With a lineup based on front-wheel drive Hondas, that is more of a necessity than anything. Latest models, like the ILX and RDX, are undoubtedly better looking than their predecessors, but is that enough? In the same vein comes the all-new 2014 Acura RLX. The RLX was previewed by a thinly veiled concept and is now being introduced in production form. It is a replacement for Acura’s flagship RL – they have added an X to the name so it will ft in with their naming convention.

One way Acura has wanted to differentiate itself is through technology, and that is perhaps where the RLX makes its biggest impact. RLX debuts Precision All-Wheel Steer™ (P-AWS), a world-first. This system offers the ability to adjust the angles of the left and right rear wheels to “achieve new levels of handling, agility (and) high-end low-speed maneuverability.” Also new is a follow function for the adaptive cruise-control system that will enable it to be used in low-speed and city-driving situations.

The standard car will offer the choice of one engine at first: a 3.5-liter direct-injected V6, making 310 horsepower and 272 pound-feet of torque. It offers cylinder shut-off in order to increase fuel efficiency. Later on, Acura’s new Sport Hybrid Super Handling All-Wheel Drive® (Sport Hybrid SH-AWD®) technology, producing 370 horsepower, will debut. This system will be the RLX’s biggest trump card, as it is an advanced system that uses electric motors to provide an all-wheel drive system with torque-vectoring. Visually, the most unique item on the RLX is Acura’s new Jewel Eye headlights. We’ll let you decide for yourself what you think of it in our gallery below. The 2014 RLX goes on sale next spring.

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