There is nothing too much wrong with the concept of creating a Special Edition for a special car.

Acura is doing that with its flagship 1998 Acura 3.5RL luxury sedan. Bearing the name Acura Special Edition 3.5RL, the upscale four-door is scheduled to be released this month and represents a complete luxury package in the performance/luxury segment of the market.

Indianapolis-area Acura dealers say they expect to receive their first cars in late April or early May, with pricing established at that time.

Acura’s development of the model was to not leave the buyer wanting or needing anything. As a consequence, the front-drive SE 3.5RL incorporates a host of special features in addition to a full plate of standard items found in the regular RL.

This takes in exterior specialty items like new alloy wheels with a machine finish and a two-tone paint finish.

Inside are heated front seats, a trunk-mounted 6-disc compact disc changer, SE floor mats, an SE trunk mat and a boot/ski sleeve in the rear seat pass-through area.

These features have been offered as an optional premium package on the regular RL.

The RL already was a pretty spiffy set of wheels. Touted as a 130-mile-per-hour cruising vehicle, its signature is highly refined performance combined with the expected accouterments found in upper-class automobiles.

Specifications of 114.6 inches of wheelbase and 195.1 of overall length give the model ample interior room to accommodate five adults.

The SE 3.5RL as well as the standard RL is powered by a single overhead cam (per bank of three cylinders) 3.5-liter (2l2 cubic inches) V-6 that produces more torque than any V-6 ever offered in an Acura sedan. The all-aluminum V-6 with its four valves per cylinder puts out 224 foot-pounds of torque and 210 horsepower, a figure that is right at the performance benchmark number of 1-horsepower per cubic inch.

The drivetrain carries Acura’s computer-controlled four-speed automatic that features GLC (grade logic control) for more responsive performance during uphill or downhill motoring.

This feature eliminates transmission “hunting” under increased or decreased engine loads.

The exterior styling of the SE follows RL lines with a prominent grille and a sculpted body contour.

Aerodynamics rules the styling day in order to maximize smooth air flow and enhance fuel efficiency.

Even with 2l0 horses in hand, fuel mileage is 19 miles per gallon city and 25 mpg highway. However, I don’t think you are going to get this kind of mileage while running 130 per across the wilds of Montana.

The SE 3.5RL and standard RL are designed for the iron-hand-in-the-silken-glove style of motoring that dictates stability and safety with comfort and convenience.

Acura’s front-wheel drive with four-wheel independent suspension and rigid body/chassis structure takes care of the control factor, even in inclement weather.

Unless you are going so fast that you break the front wheel loose, the car will go where you want it to go.

Special low-friction joints and dampers provide road compliance, with revised spring and damper settings designed for sports handing. At the rear, the bushing at the front of the rear trailing suspension arms is a liquid-filled design rather than the conventional rubber-damped bushing.

The C&C (comfort and convenience) department offers a full complement of power accessories, leather, air, wood and wood-grain trim, a two position memory for the electronically controlled tilt-and telescope steering wheel, memory seat and mirror positions, automatic on/off lighting front and back, and the like.

In other words, the RL does everything for you but steer, and is the most lavish Acura ever built.

A center console with an adjustable two-position arm rest can hold a cellular phone or can be used to hold the magazine and player of the SE’s 6-disc CD changer. An Acura/Bose m usic system has been specially developed for the car.

And one feature Acura is promoting is its A cura Navigational System, an in-dash satellite-linked navigation unit that is beginning to be introduced to the Midwest. It uses a combination of satellites, electro-gyros and sophisticated software to map out the best route to a destination and tell drivers their exact location at all times.

To date, it is only available in the 3.5RL.

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