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.

Comments

  • dfelix70 dfelix70 Posts:

    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.

  • bassracerx bassracerx Posts:

    thought this was supposed to be the best handling in its class what the hell honda?

  • dfelix70 dfelix70 Posts:

    @bassracerx, with the SH-AWD, it will be. At least THAT is what Acura claimed, not with FWD.

  • dfelix70 dfelix70 Posts:

    I think Acura might be making a mistake here and I hope they read this, not that it will make a difference. The smart thing that Acura could have done was come out with SH-AWD, 370-hp, 7-speed dual clutch auto version first. They really needed to come out with a big bang per the RLs past failure. Relative to bassracerx's comments, and many other comments I've seen, this FWD RLX is already disappointing alot of expectations and understandly so.

  • This car makes me yawn. It's not really pretty enough for luxury car buyers either. Good luck Acura

  • stovt001_ stovt001_ Posts:

    Honda, why do you make such sad cars these days? You used to just get it. Now its incomprehensible the extent to which you just don't get it. Anyone who buys this is every bit as foolish as those who bought the 2012 Civic.

  • empoweredbc empoweredbc Posts:

    The title says it all about Acura: V6 Luxury Flagship ($61k)

  • fordson1 fordson1 Posts:

    So basically a fancier Lexus ES - I guess competition for the Caddy XLS. Brakes from a $20k-cheaper, 500-lb. lighter car. Possibly the worst skidpad and slalom performance I have seen on a car with 245/40 tires. I guess Acura has decided they can't compete with the prestige brands in this space and have decided to raise their median owner age a bit higher than it already was.

  • ramjr ramjr Posts:

    60k for 300 hp????? ummm what??? Ill pass.

  • zoomzoomn zoomzoomn Posts:

    Very disappointing. VERY uninspiring. Too little character in a time when Acura needed something more of a homerun. They need to go back to the thinking that was behind the gen 2 TL if they want to break out of the rut that they seem woefully determined to remain in.

  • ed124c ed124c Posts:

    Honda, why do you still make such bad brakes? And then there is the beak. There is no sin of remodeling every 4 or 5 years. But Acura is bound and determined to have potential customers like (read: put up with) the beak. I want my 90s Acura back.

  • msminkck1 msminkck1 Posts:

    Unless a chauffer for a year is included in the price of this vehicle, there is nothing exciting about to warrant the cost. Sad. Such great quality, but such an unattractive package.

  • bankerdanny bankerdanny Posts:

    A Hyundai Genesis R-Spec is $47.6k with a 429hp V8 and an 8-speed auto, heated/cooled seats, memory seats/mirrors/steering wheel adjustments, xenon lights, nav, lane departure warning. For $35k I could get the 333hp V6 and an 8-Speed auto. I almost bought an '87 Integra in 1988 (being 23 I opted for an '87 Mustang LX 5.0 instead). Back then Acura offered real value. Today it doesn't build a single car that I would buy.

  • 500rwhp 500rwhp Posts:

    Uninspiring, ugly, sleep inducing. Are the brand chiefs at Acura brain dead?

  • samster231 samster231 Posts:

    If I could add something different to ponder here. I don't think that the RL has ever been a bad car, but has it been that much better than the generally equivalent TL that costs less? I think this became an even tougher sell when the TL got the AWD, trick diff, and 3.7L engine. Given the pricing difference between these two cars who would walk into an Acura showroom and come out with an RL given the choice? Very few it would seem. Hopefully the hybid powertrain of the top level RLX serves to put some space between it and it's cheaper sibling. Note that I have not once commented on any of the styling at work here.

  • I have not been a fan of Acura for a long time and with the RLX, I still have no reason to be a fan with so many good competitors out there like the BMW 535i. Stock for stock, the Bimmer smokes the Acura, with a tune of that turbo engine for less than $1K, it's not even a competition. $1K of performance upgrade for the big Acura won't get you much of a performance increase.

  • nuieve nuieve Posts:

    It looks like a $30k car... who on earth gonna buy this I have no idea...

  • greg128 greg128 Posts:

    At least it's not as ugly as the new Lexus.

  • This has to be the worst new car to come out this year, when will Honda's flagship ever be competitive?? Seriously.......FWD?? Atleast the last RL brought SH AWD to the table, this car is a Toyota Avalon wannabe! I guess Acura has given up hope and this car, like the last 2 generation RL's will have a 7 year run of big incentives and lease programs to move every last one of them. I honestly would rather have a new Accord Touring for $20k less than one of these. Hard to believe this is the same company that at one time had a cutting edge luxury sedan like the Acura Legend.

  • Wow! I somehow missed to things that make this car even more ridiculous.....I almost died when i saw it was actually $61k!! ...so basically almost double the price of a loaded Accord?? ....oh, and it still has a 6Spd automatic?? Everyone else is going to powerful, efficient turbo motors, AWD, and 8-spd automatics....real cutting edge Honda. Bravo!

  • pommah pommah Posts:

    I remember when Acura was cool and made exciting cars that pushed the envelope (Legend, NSX, Integra). Yes, I am that old.

  • snispnorty snispnorty Posts:

    For defleix..............If you click on the reference to the 535i in the article it gives you all the information you cited you couldnt find in the article. It's a fair comparison if you take a gander, the 535i's as tested price was $60,225 which is over $1,000 less than the as tested price of the Acura. Just an observation.

  • That's a nice car, waaay nicer then the new Lexus GS, with great interior and quality, but $61K? I guess you could get a base model for $48K, but that's still seems like a lot... I test drove the new 535i and I wouldn't consider that as a Ultimate Driving Machine anymore. Slow, unresponsive and feels very disconnected. What's going on with cars these days? I'm keeping my 2006 TL.

  • vantageman vantageman Posts:

    Funny you mention price in comparison to the 535i......a stretched midsize family sedan with a different engine, slightly more horsepower and some more tech feataures, sounds like hmmm a Toyota Avalon, a Nissan Maxima, A Buick Lacrosse, a Lincoln MKS, that crowd of cars...frankly a 310hp front drive flagship sounds like an Avalon...with more power. Not to mention this wasnt a comparison test this was track test. If Acura didnt want them to compare the competition to the RLX they wouldnt have brought them out. Also my last point Toyota stretched the Camry added a nicer interior and more technology without making it a $60,000 car....honda does the same with an accord (which this car pretty much looks like an accord inside and out) and all of sudden its worth $60,000.....no value there....at least the 5 series is based on a luxury car

  • I own an Acura RL - and also a 535i ... and have owned 3 and 7 series BMWs before. I am in the market for a new car to replace my 8 year old RL - and I am strongly leaning towards the RLX. One of the main reasons is something NO test-drive report mentions - the total cost of ownership (TCO). BMWs are very expensive to maintain - even for routine maintenance. My RL works like a swiss clock - and routine maintenance is much cheaper than a BMW. Also, Acuras have more gadgets and gizmos - and they actually work reliably! Finally, and this is a personal thing of course, the styling of the Acura is much nicer than the BMWs - they need to refresh their cars' looks. In terms of pure looks, my top choices are Jaguar XJL, Mercedes E and S, Acura RLX, and the new Lincolns and Fords. I think both Jaguar and Mercedes have the same TCO problem.

  • petef1 petef1 Posts:

    Acura has a 2014 Acura RLX VIrtual tour/competitive iPad application. https://itunes.apple.com/app/2014-acura-rlx-virtual-tour/id610977701?l=en&mt=8&ign-mpt=uo%3D2

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