Acura is stepping out of the regular woods and stepping into the deep forest of luxury haulers where it hopes to give the likes of BMW, Audi and Mercedes a run for their money. The flagship sedan is the automaker’s most powerful sedan as well as the most refined. Ever since the debut of the RLX, the automaker has been upgrading it to make it look and feel as a first-rate sedan and it is working. The automaker recently released photos of the upgraded sedan which has just entered its fourth year in the market. Upgrades for the 2018 model year include an exterior refresh, mechanical upgrades as well as enhanced safety features. The upgrade is in-line with Acura’s new strategy christened “Precision Crafted Performance”. This time round, the 2018 Acura RLX will only be offered in two trims, the standard RLX and the performance-oriented RLX Sport Hybrid. Acura is currently showcasing the model at the ongoing Monterey Automotive Week in California.
2018 Acura RLX Exterior
Acura is really trying to make a name for itself in this segment if the latest upgrades are anything to go by. The new design seems to borrow much from the Precision Concept that was showcased at the North American International Auto Show last year. Among the new changes is a diamond pentagon grille which wears a huge Acura badge at the center. The grille is flanked by LED headlights with a Jewel Eye-like shape. The hood is also new and is more sculpted.
On the sides, the model features new design for the wheels. The rear also comes with new upgrades that include a new diffuser. The taillights have also been revised and flaunt new LED design that makes the RLX a spectacular beauty at night. The RLX also comes with two new exterior colors; they are Majestic Black Pearl and Brilliant Red Metallic.
The sprucing continues in the cabin where the model comes with new seats. The cabin is also fitted with upgraded materials and like on the previous model, heated and ventilated front seats, as well as heated rear seats, are standard. The seats now feature contrast stitching and piping. Other features offered as standard include a heated steering wheel, a keyless start, a surround view camera as well as a Krell sound system.
An Espresso-colored interior theme is also offered to make the cabin look a first class.
However, the most notable improvement in the cabin is the upgrade of the model’s AcuraWatch suite of driver assist systems. The new suite adds a Traffic Jam Assist system that makes it a lot easier to drive in gridlock traffic. This is in addition to the suite’s auto emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane departure mitigation and lane-keep assist systems.
Engine and performance
The standard 2018 Acura RLX is powered by a 3.5 L, V-6 gasoline engine that produces 310 horsepower. All the power is conveyed to the rear wheels using a 10-speed automatic gearbox rather than a 6-speed system used by the outgoing version. This model also features rear-wheel steering that enables the rear wheels to move in the opposing direction of the front wheels. This enhances low-speed maneuverability for the sedan.
The top trim i.e. the RLX Sport Hybrid uses the same 3.5 L, V-6 but adds 3 electric motors. Two of the electric motors send power to the rear wheels. The setup produces 377 hp. The trim also comes with Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD). This system is actually borrowed from the all-famous NSX supercar.
Price and release date
Acura plans to deliver the sedan to its dealerships this November. To get yourself a RLX, you will need around $55,000 for the standard, gasoline-powered RLX and around $60,000 for the Sport Hybrid. These prices are in the same region with its German-made rivals.
As said earlier, the 2018 Acura RLX takes the fight right to the door step of German-made luxury haulers in the likes of Audi A6, BMW 5 Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class. The RLX will also have to contend with another outsider with similar intentions i.e. the Infiniti Q70.