|2013 Acura RLX Concept. Click to enlarge.|
Acura held the world debut of the Acura RLX Concept at the New York International Auto Show. The concept provides a first look at the design and engineering direction for its all-new Acura RLX flagship sedan, slated for launch at the beginning of 2013.
The RLX Concept’s all-new 3.5L direct-injected VTEC V-6 engine and Sport Hybrid SH-AWD (Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive) (earlier post) system, with three electric motors, combine to generate more than 370 hp (276 kW), and are paired with a 7-speed dual clutch transmission (DCT) and lightweight body to deliver V-8 acceleration with four-cylinder fuel economy with an estimated EPA (city/highway/combined) rating of 30/30/30 mpg (7.8 L/100 km).
The Sport-Hybrid SH-AWD system was introduced at the 2012 North American International Auto Show in January on the NSX Concept. The performance hybrid system, one of Honda’s new “Earth Dreams” technologies (earlier post), utilizes a front-mounted 30 kW+ electric motor, located within the 7-speed dual clutch transmission, and a novel dual electric motor drive unit (independent 20 kW+ units on each side) with a bilateral torque adjustable control system to instantly generate negative or positive torque to the rear wheels during cornering.
Acura also announced that the production RLX will be offered in a 310 hp (231 kW), front-wheel-drive version, which will also deliver superior handling performance through the application of another new Acura technology: Precision All Wheel Steer.
Through engineering efficiency, including substantial use of high-strength steel and aluminum, the RLX Concept achieves an ultra-rigid and light body design, with the front wheel drive version to weigh in at under 4,000 pounds (1,814 kg). An all-new double wishbone front suspension, multi-link rear suspension, Amplitude Reactive Dampers and electronic power steering with a variable gear ratio team to provide the foundation for precise and intuitive handling control.
Front-wheel-drive versions of RLX will utilize Acura’s all-new Precision All Wheel Steer system. This system provides for independent control of the steering (toe) angle of the right and left rear wheels by utilizing electrically controlled actuators. Precision All Wheel Steer works in tandem with Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) and Variable Gear Ratio (VGR) steering to deliver an extraordinary level of cornering control and steering precision.
The Acura RLX will offer an array of passive and active safety features. These include a Collision Mitigation Braking System and the first application of Acura’s Lane Keep Assist System. In addition, Forward Collision Warning and Lane Departure Warning will be offered as standard equipment on the RLX.
Passive safety features will include front, side and side-curtain airbags for the driver and front passenger, and a driver’s knee airbag. The RLX also incorporates the second generation of Acura’s Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) body structure, with reinforced front frame members for further enhanced frontal crash energy management.
The RLX will also feature the first application of the next-generation AcuraLink Communication System, which incorporates built-in two-way cellular communication to deliver an array of new convenience features, including airbag deployment notification, stolen vehicle tracking, remote locking and unlocking, security alarm notification and concierge service.
The RLX Concept is Acura’s fourth new model debut since January 2012, when Acura took the wraps off its redesigned RDX Protoype crossover SUV, all-new Acura ILX Concept sedan, and next-generation Acura NSX Concept supercar, at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
Following the introduction of the production versions of the 2013 RDX in March, and the all-new 2013 Acura ILX and ILX Hybrid sedans in May, the production RLX will launch in early 2013. The next-generation Acura NSX, being developed by Honda R&D Americas in the US, will be produced in Ohio using domestically and globally sourced parts and launched within the next three years.
Acura is projecting an annual sales volume of 180,000 vehicles for the brand in 2012, which would represent a nearly 50% increase over 2011 sales results.