Vehicle Overview

Acura's flagship RL sedan competes with midlevel luxury cars like the Infiniti M and Mercedes-Benz E-Class, though it lacks the availability of a V-8 engine like those rivals. While the Infiniti M and Mercedes E-Class offer all-wheel drive as an option, it is standard on the RL.

New for 2011
The RL receives significant mechanical changes, including a new six-speed automatic transmission that improves fuel economy and wheel technology that Acura says will, along with additional insulation, reduce interior noise 15 percent. New 18-inch wheels come with a polypropylene resonator that encircles the center of the inner wheel to reduce noise.

Exterior
The RL's face, with thin headlights, falls in line with Acura's current styling trend. The grille is revised for 2011, and the lower air dam has prominent side portals. In back, the trunk curls up at its termination, and the taillights have crisp edging. Exterior features include:

  • Standard xenon headlights
  • Optional adaptive headlights
  • Hexagonal dual tailpipes
  • Standard 18-inch wheels with sound-reducing resonator technology

Interior
The base RL comes fairly well-equipped, and in typical Acura fashion, the options list is simple. The Technology Package includes a navigation system, backup camera and new backup sensors, among other high-tech luxuries. The Advance Package adds a collision mitigation system and adaptive cruise control. Interior features include:

  • Standard 10-way power front seats
  • Standard leather upholstery
  • Standard Bose surround-sound stereo
  • Standard heated front seats; heated and ventilated seats optional
  • Optional wood dashboard trim
  • Optional real-time weather and traffic conditions
  • Optional navigation system

Under the Hood
Acura's standard Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive can transfer power not just between the front and rear axle, as many conventional all-wheel-drive systems do, but between the left and right wheels as well. It does so during low-traction and high-performance situations — channeling slightly more power to the outside wheel during spirited cornering, for example. The new six-speed automatic transmission replaces a five-speed automatic. Mechanical features include:

  • 300-horsepower, 3.7-liter V-6 requires premium gas
  • New six-speed automatic transmission allows manual shifts with console lever or steering-wheel paddle shifters
  • Gas mileage is 17/24 mpg city/highway with new transmission, up from 16/22

Safety
The optional collision mitigation system uses a radar system to monitor the road ahead. If it detects a fast-approaching obstacle, it can alert the driver, and if he or she fails to react in time, it can apply the brakes and tighten the front seat belts. Safety features include:

  • Standard side-impact airbags
  • Standard side curtain airbags
  • Standard four-wheel-disc antilock brakes
  • Standard electronic stability system and traction control
  • Standard active front head restraints are also standard
  • Optional collision mitigation system