By Matt Schmitz on November 18, 2013
Competes with: Infiniti M35h, Lexus ES 300h, Lincoln MKZ Hybrid
Looks like: The non-hybrid 2014 RLX luxury sedan
Drivetrain: 310-hp V-6 with two 27-kilowatt rear electric motors, a 35-kilowatt front electric motor and a 260-volt lithium-ion battery pack (for a combined total 377 horsepower), and a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission
Hits dealerships: Spring 2014
The 2014 RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD debuted as a concept car at the 2012 New York International Auto Show, but its gas-only sibling beat it to production. Now, the hybrid version of Acura's luxury sedan is finally gearing up to hit dealerships in the spring. The automaker is touting it as the "most powerful and technologically advanced vehicle in Acura history."
The RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD keeps its gas-powered sibling's looks. Both the RLX and RLX Sport Hybrid sedans bridge the gap between the midsize and full-size sedan categories.
Two large screens highlight the instrument panel. An 8-inch color screen on top combines information and navigation functions and below it, a 7-inch color touch-screen controls the audio system and other features. Two new interior features include an electronic gear selector and a head-up display. Other tech features include the automaker's cloud-based connected multimedia system, AcuraLink, along with two available audio systems; the 14-speaker Acura/ELS Studio Premium Audio system comes with the Technology Package, while a 14-speaker Krell system comes in the Advance Package.
Under the Hood
The all-wheel-drive RLX Sport Hybrid combines the forces of a 310-horsepower, 3.5-liter direct-injection V-6 with a three-motor hybrid electric system and a 260-volt lithium-ion battery pack, giving the sedan a total output of 377 hp; the trio of electric motors includes two 27-kilowatt rear motors and a 35-kilowatt front motor. The transmission is a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic. Acura says the sedan has a zero-to-60 mph time comparable with competing V-8s while boasting four-cylinder-worthy estimated fuel economy of 28/32 mpg city/highway; it's assisted by a stop-start feature as well as regenerative braking.
Safety features include a multiview backup camera, a collision mitigation braking system, forward collision and lane departure warning, lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control and a blind spot warning system.
Pricing for the RLX Sport Hybrid has not yet been announced. The gas-only model starts at $49,345 including an $895 destination charge.
News Editor Matt Schmitz is a veteran Chicago journalist indulging his curiosity for all things auto while helping to inform car shoppers. Email Matt