2014 Acura RLX Track Test

Testing Acura's Front-Drive, V6 Luxury Flagship


  • 2014 Acura RLX - Action Front 3/4

    2014 Acura RLX - Action Front 3/4

    Well, it looks slightly different from an RL. | February 19, 2013

23 Photos

Edmunds tests hundreds of vehicles a year. Cars, trucks, SUVs, we run them all, and the numbers always tell a story. With that in mind we present "Edmunds Track Tested," a quick rundown of all the data we collect at the track, along with comments direct from the test drivers. Enjoy.

Branding is tricky business. Do it correctly and your product can flourish with minimal change (see: Coke). Do it incorrectly, and it doesn't matter how good the product is. Selling it is going to be an uphill battle (see: Blackberry).

And, as with Blackberry (née RIM), the changing of a product name is a bold, sometimes desperate attempt at brand strategy. Good-bye, brand equity; hello, blank slate. This year, the front-drive 2014 Acura RLX replaces the slow-selling all-wheel-drive Acura RL (which was killed in 2012). That's right, Acura's added an "X" and removed standard all-wheel drive from its $60,000 luxury flagship sedan in an effort to increase desirability. (All-wheel drive will be available on the 370-horsepower Acura RLX Hybrid.)

What have they added to make up for it? Slightly more legroom, even more high-tech interior features, upgraded ELS stereo and 10 more horsepower (for a total of 310 hp) from a smaller V6. Acura has also added Precision All-Wheel Steering to the mix which, in theory, helps to offset the front-drive dynamics.

During our 2014 Acura RLX First Drive we were given back-to-back time with the RLX, the BMW 535i and a Mercedes-Benz E350 on a small road course. Our initial take was that the 535's adjustable dampers and rear-drive nature were a better combo. But do the numbers back up our take? We took a 2014 Acura RLX to the track to find out.

Vehicle: 2014 Acura RLX

Odometer: 1,424
Date: 2/19/2013
Driver: Chris Walton
Price: $61,345

Specifications:
Drive Type: Front engine, front-wheel drive
Transmission Type: Six-speed automatic
Engine Type: Naturally aspirated, direct-injected V6
Displacement (cc/cu-in): 3,471/211.8
Redline (rpm): 6,600
Horsepower (hp @ rpm): 310 @ 6,500
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm): 272 @ 4,500
Brake Type (front): 12.3-inch one-piece vented cast-iron rotors, single-piston sliding calipers
Brake Type (rear): 12.2-inch one-piece solid cast-iron rotors, single-piston sliding calipers
Suspension Type (front): Independent double wishbone with double ball joint lower arm, coil springs, stabilizer bar
Suspension Type (rear): Independent multilink, coil springs, stabilizer bar

Tire Size (front): 245/40R19 98Y (M+S)
Tire Size (rear): 245/40R19 98Y (M+S)
Tire Brand: Michelin
Tire Model: Primacy MxM4
Tire Type: Asymmetrical, all-season
As Tested Curb Weight (lb): 3,980

Test Results:

Acceleration
0-30 (sec): 2.7 (2.8 w/ TC on)
0-45 (sec): 4.4 (4.5 w/ TC on)
0-60 (sec): 6.5 (6.6 w/ TC on)
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec): 6.2 (6.3 w/ TC on)
0-75 (sec): 9.0 (9.2 w/ TC on)
1/4-Mile (sec @ mph): 14.6 @ 97.1 (14.7 @ 96.8 w/ TC on)

Braking
30-0 (ft): 30
60-0 (ft): 120

Handling
Slalom (mph): 63.3 (ESC Sport)/62.7 (ESC Normal)
Skid Pad Lateral Acceleration (g): 0.82 (Sport)/0.81 (Normal)

Db @ Idle: 39.0
Db @ Full Throttle: 70.8
Db @ 70-mph Cruise: 60.3

RPM @ 70: 2,150

Comments:

Acceleration: Absolutely hates pedal overlap, but there's plenty of power at launch for wheelspin. Traction control is very effective and I was not able to improve on the car's ability with it shut off. There's no difference between "Normal" and "Sport" at wide-open throttle, but manual shift works in Sport. The free-revving and lively engine has power all the way to redline upshifts.

Braking: Consistent stopping distances from 60 mph, however, noticeable pad odor after four stops and softening pedal feedback.

Handling:

Skid pad: Very gentle, almost imperceptible throttle closure as the car approaches the front tires' ability to grip. Good steering weight and decent feedback.

Slalom: Good, crisp steering response; however, the body roll delays a change in direction. Stability system is rather lenient and only intervenes when steering doesn't match direction of travel. Confident, and competent, but not outstanding.

  2014 Acura RLX 2011 BMW 535i
Curb weight as tested: 3,980 4,056
     
0-30 (sec.): 2.7 2.3
0-45 (sec.): 4.4 3.9
0-60 (sec.): 6.5 5.9
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec.): 6.2 5.6
0-75 (sec.): 9.0 8.6
1/4-mile (sec @ mph): 14.6 @ 97.1 14.3 @ 95.1
     
30-0 (ft): 30 28
60-0 (ft): 120 110
     
Skid Pad Lateral Accel (g): 0.82 0.84
Slalom: 63.3 64.9

The manufacturer provided Edmunds this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.

Most Recommended Comments

By dfelix70
on 02/19/13
9:35 PM PST

I wish you would have posted the as-tested price of the 535i. For the same luxury amenities, I would imagine the BMW would be upwards of $70k+, at least it was when I built one on bmwusa.com. The adjustable suspension option on the Bimmer alone was a $5800 option. Also, would have loved to see the difference in tire options. The RLX has all-season, does the Bimmer have performance/summer tires? I do think that those are details for all comparisons like this that you should include.

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