Under full-throttle acceleration upshifts occur at 6,600 rpm, and the redline is marked on the tachometer at 6,800 rpm. The engine has decent bottom-end power, but it really comes alive around 5,200 rpm, when the variable valve timing comes in. It's not a sudden change like the old VTEC cars used to do, but there is a noticeable change in both exhaust note and thrust. Overall the engine is refined and powerful with an audible rumble that sounds good when the windows are rolled down. In order to get the best time out of the car in the quarter we had to power brake it to 2,500 rpm with the VSA turned off, manually shifting at redline.
The RL has moderate ABS noise and vibration under heavy braking, which is more than we expected from a high-end luxury car. It tracked very straight and had minimal front end dive, and overall was very confidence inspiring. We were forced to give it a "good" rating because of the noise and vibration, but if those were not a factor the numbers would have earned it an "excellent."
The RL features Acura's new "Super Handling" all wheel drive, and it is quite noticeable. The integrated stability control is very subtle and allows for some slippage and rotation in the slalom, without letting the car get too far out of control. For a big luxury car the RL is very predictable and easy to manage, and the steering feel is good but not great. It is a bit numb, as is the accelerator. The 300hp V6 provides plenty of power to maintain speed and acclerate out of the final cones, and we could actually feel the "super handling" acclerating the outside wheel to help the car cut around corners. Overall an impressive performer. — Karl Brauer