The 2018 Acura RLX has arrived with a more simplified lineup and a reduced MSRP for prospective buyers. The RLX now offers only two models, although both are well equipped: The RLX P-AWS starts at $54,900 while the Sport Hybrid SH-AWD starts at $61,900. Hybrid buyers will see a $4,050 starting price reduction when compared to the outgoing model with the Advance Package.
Styling & Design
Acura says the 2018 RLX reflects its latest design direction, particularly in the front and rear. The new RLX carries the signature diamond pentagon grille with a more sculpted hood and new wheel designs. At the rear, the 2018 RLX is characterized by newly designed LED taillights, a gloss black rear diffuser, and dual exhaust. There are seven total exterior colors and two new premium colors: Brilliant Red Metallic and Majestic Black Pearl.
Power & Performance
The 2018 Acura RLX P-AWS (Precision All-Wheel Steering) is powered by a 3.5-liter SOHC V6 engine. The plant features direct injection, an idle-stop feature for increased fuel efficiency, revised cam timing, and the evergreen i-VTEC technology. When mated to a new 10-speed automatic transmission, this RLX variant delivers 310 horsepower and 272 lb-ft. of torque to the front wheels. EPA fuel economy ratings are 20/29 city/highway and 23 combined.
The 2018 RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD (Super Handling All-Wheel Drive) shares much of its engine architecture with the RLX P-AWS. However, in this variant, the V6 combines with three electric motors and the aforementioned SH-AWD system to enhance acceleration on dry surfaces while providing additional traction in bad weather. The RLX Sport Hybrid delivers 377 total system horsepower and 341 lb-ft. of total system torque. EPA fuel economy ratings are 28/29 city/highway and 28 combined.
The 2018 Acura RLX Sport Hybrid shares a handful of concepts and components with the NSX supercar.
Drivers will see newly updated touch-points, redesigned Milano leather seats with contrast piping and stitching, and a new Expresso interior theme. Standard features for the RLX Sport Hybrid include a heads-up display, 14 speaker Krell audio, Surround View Camera, front and rear parking sensors, remote engine start, ventilated and heated front seats, heated rear seats, and a heated steering wheel.
Safety & Security
Both RLX models come with AcuraWatch which now includes Traffic Jam Assist. The feature works with Adaptive Cruise Control and Low Speed Follow to reduce stress and fatigue in congested traffic. Traffic Jam Assist helps keep the RLX centered in its lane at a specific interval from the vehicle ahead. AcuraWatch also includes Collision Mitigation Braking, Lane Keeping Assist, and Road Departure Mitigation among others.
Arguably the car’s most vital safety feature is the ACE (Advanced Compatibility Engineering) body structure. The vehicle architecture uses interconnected front frame members to absorb and redirect crash energy around the occupants in the event of a frontal collision.
The 2018 RLX is now available at Acura dealerships nationwide.
Carl Anthony is Managing Editor of Automoblog and resides in Detroit, Michigan.