THE SYNERGY BETWEEN MAN AND MACHINE
As the foundation of Acura’s product direction, the Synergy Between Man and Machine is the intelligent pairing of useful technologies and luxury features with the idea of creating vehicles that truly respond to the will of the driver. The focus is not on one specific technology, but on the driving experience Acura vehicles provide to the customer. From its sophisticated exterior and interior design, to its balance of performance, low emission and the top-class fuel economy ratings, and advanced and intuitive technology, the RLX Sport Hybrid is designed to exceed the expectations of Acura clients.
The Acura RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD enters the mid-luxury segment competing against hybrid and/or all-wheel-drive versions of Audi A6, BMW 5-Series, Infiniti Q50, Lexus GS, and Mercedes-Benz E-Class. The RLX is equipped to meet these established competitors, thanks to improvements in virtually every area of its design, performance, technology, luxury and safety features.
The 2014 RLX Sport Hybrid’s all-new three-motor hybrid powertrain combines the power of a conventional V-8 engine with 4-cylinder-like fuel efficiency and the performance-enhancing capabilities of torque-vectoring all-wheel drive.
The RLX Sport Hybrid shares it basic engine architecture with the two-wheel-drive RLX with P-AWS. The 3.5-liter, 310-horsepower, 24-valve direct-injected SOHC V-6 engine with i-VTEC® and VCM™ adds an idle-stop feature to further maximize fuel efficiency, and revised cam timing to smooth engine restart after idle stop. Peak torque to the front wheels is rated at 273 lb.-ft. at 4,700 rpm (versus 272 lb.-ft. at 4,500 rpm in the RLX with P-AWS).
An all-new advanced 7-speed dual-clutch transmission (DCT) is standard on the Sport Hybrid-a first for Acura. Unlike a conventional automatic transmission, the DCT offers ultra-quick gear changes and eliminates the need for a torque converter, which significantly improves efficiency. It can operate in fully automatic mode, or can be shifted manually via steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters.
The RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD uses three electric motors: a single 35-kilowatt (47 hp) motor that is integrated with the 7-speed Dual Clutch Transmission supplements the V-6 engine in driving the front wheels, and a rear-mounted Twin Motor Unit (TMU) containing two 27-kilowatt (36 hp) motors that dynamically distribute electric-motor torque to the rear wheels. Both the front and rear motors capture kinetic energy during vehicle deceleration and braking and convert it to electricity to supply the Intelligent Power Unit’s 72-cell, 1.3-kWh lithium-ion battery pack, located behind the rear seatback. Together, the 310-horsepower V-6 engine and three electric motors produce a total system output of 377 horsepower and 377 lb.-ft. of torque-the most ever in a production Acura.
The front motor is integrated with the 7-speed DCT and is connected to the driveshaft via a clutch. The motor accomplishes three tasks: (1) It supplements the V-6 engine in driving the front wheels when additional power is required, such as in a passing situation; (2) provides regenerative braking to the front wheels; (3) converts engine power to electricity to supplement regenerative braking in recharging the lithium-ion batteries.
Acura’s mechanically-based Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) made its debut on the RL luxury sedan in 2005, and has since been used on a range of Acura models in several iterations. In the RLX Sport Hybrid, SH-AWD operates independent of the gasoline engine. Drawing power from the lithium-ion battery pack, the Twin Motor Unit’s two electric motors deliver torque directly to the rear wheels, thereby eliminating the weight and energy losses associated with a conventional driveshaft and differential mechanism.
When cornering, the RLX Sport Hybrid delivers more torque to the outside rear wheel, much like mechanical SH-AWD, but with more available torque at low engine speeds. Sport Hybrid SH-AWD can also simultaneously apply brake torque to the inside rear wheel during cornering to further enhance cornering control. In addition, since it doesn’t rely on engine torque, electric SH-AWD can create a larger torque difference between the left and right rear wheels, even during small throttle applications, at low engine speeds or even during deceleration (such as when lifting throttle mid-corner). This substantially magnifies the positive handling benefits of SH-AWD across a much wider range of driving conditions.
The RLX Sport Hybrid 3.5-liter VTEC® V-6 has a smooth-firing 60-degree V-angle and compact overall dimensions. The V-6 has a die-cast lightweight aluminum alloy block with cast-in-place iron cylinder liners. The first ever application of direct injection in an Acura vehicle combines with i-VTEC and Variable Cylinder Management (VCM) to give the RLX a potent blend of power and fuel efficiency.
The aluminum-alloy 24-valve engine produces 310 horsepower at 6,500 and generates 273 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,700 rpm. Torque is markedly improved vs. RL in the lower ranges, where the engine typically operates. Along with the increased horsepower, the updated V-6 also contributes to increased fuel efficiency, due in part to internal friction reduction features, including an oil-ring ion-plating treatment, and plateau honing. A new tumble-type intake port design improves combustion efficiency.
Engine Block and Crankshaft
With its 60-degree V-angle, the V-6 engine is inherently smooth and has compact overall dimensions that allow efficient packaging within the vehicle. The V-6 has a die-cast lightweight aluminum alloy block with cast-in-place iron cylinder liners. Made with a centrifugal spin-casting process, the thin-wall liners are high in strength and low in porosity. The block incorporates a deep-skirt design with four bolts per bearing cap for rigid crankshaft support and minimized noise and vibration. The 3.5L V-6 uses a high-strength steel crankshaft for minimum weight.
A new cooling control spacer positioned in the water jacket surrounding the cylinders helps to maintain consistent operating temperature. Plateau honing of the cylinder lining further lowers the friction level between the pistons and the cylinders by creating an ultra-smooth surface. This two-stage machining process uses two grinding processes instead of the more conventional single honing process. Plateau honing also enhances the long-term wear characteristics of the engine.
Designed with special “cavity-shaped” crowns, the pistons help maintain stable combustion and contribute to stratified-charge combustion. Ion-plated piston rings help reduce friction for greater operating efficiency. The compression ratio is 11.5:1. Heavy-duty steel connecting rods are forged in one piece and then the crankshaft connecting rods are “crack separated” to create a lighter and stronger rod with an optimally fitted bearing cap.
Cylinder Heads/ Valvetrain
Like other Acura V-6 powerplants, the RLX Sport Hybrid engine’s 4-valve cylinder heads are a single-overhead-camshaft design, with the cams driven by the crankshaft via an automatically tensioned toothed belt. Made of low-pressure cast, low-porosity aluminum, each cylinder head incorporates a new “tumble port” design that improves combustion efficiency by creating a more homogeneous fuel-air mixture. An integrated exhaust manifold cast into each cylinder head reduces parts count, saves weight, improves flow and optimizes the location of the close-coupled catalyst.
i-VTEC Valve Control System
The RLX Sport Hybrid V-6 engine combines Variable Cylinder Management (VCM) with Variable Valve Timing and Lift Electronic Control (VTEC), which changes the lift profile, timing and lift duration of the intake valves. A switching mechanism allows each cylinder to operate with low-rpm valve lift and duration or high-rpm lift and duration. The rear cylinder bank’s valve gear can also leave all intake and exhaust valves closed to maximize fuel efficiency during cylinder deactivation.
The “intelligent” portion of the system is its ability to vary valve operation based on the driving situation and engine rpm. At low rpm, the VTEC intake valve timing and lift are optimized (low lift, short duration) for increased torque, which allows a wide range of 3-cylinder operation. As engine rpm builds past 5,000 rpm, the VTEC system transitions to a high-lift, long-duration intake cam profile for superior high-rpm engine power.
Variable Cylinder Management ™ (VCM™)
The RLX Sport Hybrid engine employs Acura’s Variable Cylinder Management (VCM) cylinder deactivation technology. The VTEC system combines with Active Control engine Mounts (ACM) to allow the VCM system to operate with three cylinders in a wide range of situations to maximize fuel efficiency and lower emissions. When greater power is needed, the system switches seamlessly to 6-cylinder operation. With the strong power output of the Direct Injection RLX engine, a 4-cylinder operating mode is not needed.
During startup, aggressive acceleration, or when climbing hills – any time high power output is required – the engine operates on all six cylinders. During moderate-speed cruising and at low or moderate engine loads, the system operates just the front bank of three cylinders.
The VCM system can tailor the working displacement of the engine to match the driving requirements from moment to moment. Since the system automatically closes both the intake and exhaust valves of the cylinders that are not used, pumping losses associated with intake and exhaust are eliminated and fuel efficiency gets a further boost. The system combines maximum performance and maximum fuel efficiency – two characteristics that don’t typically coexist in conventional engines.
VCM deactivates specific cylinders by using the i-VTEC (intelligent Variable Valve-Timing and Lift Electronic Control) system to close the intake and exhaust valves while the Power Control Module (PCM) simultaneously cuts fuel to those cylinders. The spark plugs continue to fire in inactive cylinders to minimize plug temperature loss and prevent fouling induced from incomplete combustion during cylinder re-activation.
The system is electronically controlled, and uses special integrated spool valves in the cylinder heads. Based on commands from the system’s electronic control unit, the spool valves selectively direct oil pressure to the rocker arms for specific cylinders. This oil pressure in turn drives synchronizing pistons that connect and disconnect the rocker arms.
The VCM system monitors throttle position, vehicle speed, engine speed, automatic-transmission gear selection and other factors to determine the correct cylinder activation scheme for the operating conditions. In addition, the system determines whether engine oil pressure is suitable for VCM switching and whether catalytic-converter temperature will remain in the proper range. Importantly, the drive by wire control is able to finely match torques in 6-cylinder and 3-cylinder combustion modes, making the transition between the two virtually unnoticeable.
Direct Injection System
Conventional engines using multi-port fuel injection mix fuel and air before they enter the combustion chamber. With direct injection, fuel is injected directly into each combustion chamber. This allows for better combustion and overall efficiency.
The RLX V-6 engine is the first application of direct injection for an Acura vehicle in the United States. The system features a compact, high-pressure, direct-injection pump that allows both high fuel flow and pulsation suppression, while variable pressure control optimizes injector operation. A multi-hole injector delivers fuel directly into each cylinder (not to the intake port, as in conventional port fuel injection designs).
The multi-hole injectors can create the ideal stoichiometric fuel/air mixture in the cylinders for good emissions control. Theoretically, a stoichiometric mixture has just enough air to completely burn the available fuel.
Based on the operating conditions, the direct-injection system alters its function for best performance. Upon cold engine startup, fuel is injected into the cylinders on the compression stroke. This creates a weak stratified charge effect that improves engine start-up and reduces exhaust emissions before normal operating temperature is reached.
Once the engine is fully warm for maximum power and fuel efficiency, fuel is injected during the intake stroke. This helps create a more homogeneous fuel/air mix in the cylinder that is aided by the high-tumble intake port design. This improves volumetric efficiency, and the cooling effect of the incoming fuel improves anti-knock performance.
Active Control Engine Mounts and Active Sound Control
A new, more powerful 28-volt Active Control Engine Mount system (ACM) is used to minimize the effects of engine vibration as the VCM system switches cylinders on and off. The 28-volt ACM is a key factor in the VCM’s broad range of operation in the new RLX. Sensors alert the Electronic Control Unit (ECU) to direct ACM actuators positioned at the front and rear of the engine to cancel engine vibration. In the cabin of the RLX, an Active Sound Control system further reduces low frequency sound relating to the function of the VCM system.
Vibration Reduction Technology
Since the RLX Sport Hybrid’s gasoline engine can be shut down during certain driving conditions (idle stop), it incorporates measures to mitigate engine vibration during restarts. Compared to the two-wheel-drive RLX, the RLX Sport Hybrid has unique intake cam profiles that close the intake valves later, effectively lowering the compression ratio at startup to reduce vibration. To further reduce vibration, the electrically actuated hydraulic Active Control Mounts are synchronized with engine start-up. A dual-mass flywheel helps further reduce engine vibration when the gasoline engine is in operation.
Drive-by-Wire Throttle System
The RLX doesn’t use a conventional throttle cable, but instead has smart electronics that “connect” the throttle pedal to a throttle valve inside the throttle-body. The result is less underhood clutter and lower weight, as well as quicker and more accurate throttle actuation. Plus, specially programmed “gain” between the throttle pedal and engine offers improved drivability and optimized engine response to suit specific driving conditions.
Acura’s Drive-by-Wire throttle system establishes the current driving conditions by monitoring throttle pedal position, throttle valve position, engine rpm and road speed. This information is used to define the throttle control sensitivity that gives the RLX’s throttle pedal a predictable and responsive feel that meets driver expectations. There are two different throttle profiles available in the RLX. When the transmission is in “D” (Drive) the drive-by-wire system uses the normal profile. When the Sport mode is engaged by pressing the Sport button located near the shift lever, the system changes the throttle map to enhance response feel.
Direct Ignition and Detonation/Knock Control
The RLX’s Power Control Module (PCM) monitors engine functions to determine the best ignition spark timing. An engine block-mounted acoustic detonation/knock sensor “listens” to the engine, and based on this input, the PCM can retard the ignition timing to prevent potentially damaging detonation. The 3.5L V-6 has an ignition coil unit for each cylinder that is positioned above each spark plug’s access bore.
Close-Coupled Catalysts and Variable Flow Exhaust System
The exhaust manifolds of the 3.5L V-6 are cast directly into the aluminum cylinder heads to reduce weight, decrease parts count, and create more underhood space. The result of this casting design is that the two primary catalytic converters are positioned much closer to the combustion chambers. High-efficiency next-generation precious metal catalytic converters are mounted directly to the exhaust port of each cylinder head to enable extremely rapid converter “light-off” after the engine starts. A significant weight savings is realized by eliminating traditional exhaust manifolds.
Downstream of the close-coupled catalytic converters, a hydroformed 2-into-1 collector pipe carries exhaust gases to a secondary catalytic converter located under the passenger cabin floorboard. This high-flow secondary catalytic converter has a large inlet and outlet to enhance exhaust flow. To balance the engine’s need for quiet operation at low rpm and higher flow at high rpm, the RLX’s dual exhaust system incorporates a variable flow rate feature. Pressure-operated exhaust valves in each silencer are closed in normal operation, reducing exhaust noise by as much as 8 dB. When the driver demands more performance from the RLX, rising exhaust gas pressure opens both valves. The additional exhaust flow ads five horsepower to the engine’s peak output.
The 2014 Acura RLX Sport Hybrid utilizes a higher amount of precious metals in its under-floor catalyst to meet CARB LEV III SULEV 30 emissions standards.
A number of advanced technologies are factors in the emissions performance. The unique cylinder head-mounted close-coupled catalytic converters light off more quickly after engine start up, and a 32-bit RISC microprocessor within the powertrain control module (PCM) boosts computing power to improve the precision of spark and fuel delivery.
The RLX’s V-6 engine features Programmed Fuel Injection (PGM-FI) that continually adjusts the fuel delivery to yield the best combination of power, low fuel consumption and low emissions. Multiple sensors constantly monitor critical engine operating parameters such as intake air temperature, ambient air pressure, throttle position, intake airflow volume, intake manifold pressure, coolant temperature, exhaust-to-air ratios, as well as the position of the crankshaft and the camshafts.
To further improve emissions compliance, the 3.5L V-6 makes use of an after-cat design exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) system that allows cleaner, cooler EGR gas to be fed back into the intake system. An EGR system, especially one that delivers a cleaner/cooler charge, reduces pumping loss for better fuel efficiency.
One-Touch Start System
To ensure consistent starting, the RLX has a one-touch start system that maintains starter engagement until the engine starts. Should the driver release the Start button before the engine starts, the system will start the vehicle. Simply push the Start button (with the fob in the vehicle) and the engine will automatically start up.
Noise & Vibration Control
With its 60-degree V-angle and compact, rigid and lightweight die-cast aluminum cylinder block assembly, the 3.5L V-6 powerplant is exceptionally smooth during operation. Other factors that help reduce engine noise and vibration are a rigid forged-steel crankshaft, die-cast accessory mounts, and a stiff cast-aluminum oil pan that reduces cylinder block flex.
Idle Stop Feature
Idle stop stops cylinder combustion and cylinder activation, eliminating fuel use when the vehicle is stopped, such as at traffic light or in heavy traffic conditions. The engine is restarted by the 35-kilowatt front motor-generator using energy from the lithium ion hybrid battery pack. Unlike some competing systems, the engine restart is extremely smooth and refined, practically undetectable to the vehicle’s occupants.
7-Speed Dual-Clutch Transmission (DCT)
To maximize performance and fuel efficiency, the RLX Sport Hybrid has a standard 7-Speed Dual-Clutch Transmission (DCT). In the 7-speed DCT, one clutch controls the odd gears while the other clutch controls the even gears. This arrangement allows gear changes with a much smaller interruption in power to the wheels, resulting in millisecond-quick shifts. Compared to a conventional manual transmission, the operation of the clutches and shifting mechanisms are electronically controlled, eliminating the need for a clutch pedal or shift lever. Compared to a conventional automatic, the torque converter and its mechanical inefficiencies are also eliminated. The DCT transmission in the RLX Sport Hybrid also features a 17-percent wider ratio range than the 6-speed automatic transmission in the RLX with P-AWS.
Electronic Gear Selector
In the RLX Sport Hybrid, a conventional console-mounted shift lever is replaced with an all-new Electronic Gear Selector fully electronic, shift-by-wire gear selector. Park, Neutral and Drive are selected with the push of a button. Reverse is selected by pulling back a dedicated switch. Indicator lights near the buttons indicate the mode selected. As an added safety feature, if the vehicle is brought to a stop in Drive, the system will automatically select Park if the driver’s seatbelt is unbuckled and the driver’s door is opened.
When in Drive mode, the 7-speed dual-clutch transmission can be controlled steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters. While traveling up or down hills, Grade Logic Control alters the transmission’s shift schedule to reduce shift frequency and improve speed control. A shift map in the transmission computer continually measures throttle position, vehicle speed and acceleration/deceleration, and then determines when the vehicle is on a hill. The shift schedule is then adjusted to hold the transmission in lower gears to boost climbing power or to provide engine braking when traveling downhill.
Shift Hold Control keeps the transmission in its current (lower) gear ratio when aggressive driving is detected, as in the case of decelerating at a corner entry. Shift Hold Control leaves the chassis undisturbed by excess shifting and ensures that power will be immediately available (without a downshift) at the corner exit.
The RLX Sport Hybrid features Sport and Normal modes. A selector button located on the center console allows the driver to toggle between the two operating modes. Normal mode is aimed at overall energy efficiency. Sport mode, by contrast, puts greater emphasis on the driving experience, delivering a more responsive and direct feel. Sport mode offers more aggressive and sporty shift mapping, engine rpm “blips” on downshifts, while VCM and idle stop functions are cancelled. All of the transmission logic systems work together to automatically alter shift timing based on driving conditions.
Temporary Manual Operation in “Drive”
Whether in Drive or Sport mode, special transmission logic programming allows the use of the steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters. When the driver operates the steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters while in Drive, the transmission responds to the driver’s shift command and then returns to its normal fully automatic mode if further paddle shift inputs are not made within a given time. This special logic makes it easy for the driver to command a quick downshift without leaving the comfort of Drive mode. When in Sport mode, use of the paddle shifters puts the transmission into full manual mode that remains until another mode of operation is selected.
By pressing the “Sport” button located near the gear selector button, Sport mode is engaged. This mode offers automatic operation with more aggressive shift mapping. A pull on the racing-inspired paddle shifters (mounted on the steering wheel) places the transmission in fully manual mode. A digital display in the instrument cluster indicates which gear the transmission is in. The system reverts to normal fully automatic mode if further paddle shift inputs are not made within a given time.
Sport Hybrid Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD)
The RLX Sport Hybrid is the first production vehicle to employ an electric version of Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD). Previous mechanical versions of SH-AWD had the ability to vary the amount of power sent to the rear axle, and to also vary rear power distribution between the left and right rear wheels via a longitudinally mounted drive shaft and rear differential with twin electronically controlled clutch packs.
In the RLX Sport Hybrid, the driveshaft and rear differential of a conventional all-wheel drive system is eliminated, replaced by twin 27-kilowatt (36 hp) electric motors that independently drive the left and right rear wheels. Each motor can also capture regenerative braking energy and apply negative (regenerative braking) torque to further enhance cornering capability.
Independent distribution of torque to all four wheels is a key feature of SH-AWD and its ability to enhance both dynamic handling and all-weather traction. When cornering, more positive (drive) torque is applied to the outside rear wheel, while negative (regenerative braking) torque can be applied to the inside rear wheel. This torque differential creates a yaw moment, producing sharper turn-in, more linear cornering, enhanced traceability and improved steering response with reduced understeer tendencies. In addition, since the system doesn’t rely on the gasoline engine for torque, electric SH-AWD can create a larger torque difference between the left and right rear wheels, even during small throttle applications, at low engine speeds, or even during deceleration (such as lifting throttle mid-corner). This substantially magnifies the positive handling benefits of SH-AWD across a much wider range of driving conditions.
Power Drive Unit (PDU)
The Power Drive Unit, packaged in the center of the vehicle beneath the center console, dictates the power management strategy of the Sport Hybrid SH-AWD system, including motor power and battery recharge.
Intelligent Power Unit (IPU)
The Intelligent Power Unit is positioned above the Twin Motor Unit, behind the rear seatback. The IPU contains the hybrid system’s lithium-ion battery, 12-volt DC/DC converter, junction board, and Electronic Control Units (ECU) for the motors and the battery. The IPU is air-cooled via an integrated fan unit that draws air from inside the vehicle cabin via an intake duct located beneath the rear seats.
1.3-kWh Lithium-Ion Battery
The RLX Sport Hybrid’s advanced 72-cell lithium-ion battery has 29 percent greater power density and 5 percent greater energy density compared to the lithium-ion battery in the ILX hybrid.
Front Electric Motor
A single 35-kilowatt (47 hp) electric motor is integrated with the 7-speed DCT. The motor’s operating temperature is optimized by a temperature-controlled flow of Automatic Transmission Fluid (ATF) through the motor housing. By tightly controlling the motor temperature, the motor’s torque output (both drive and regeneration) can be improved up to 100 percent.
Twin Motor Unit (TMU)
The RLX Sport Hybrid’s Twin Motor Unit (TMU) is located in between the rear wheels, where a differential on an all-wheel-drive vehicle is typically mounted. Inside its die-cast aluminum housing are two electric motors positioned back-to-back. Each 27-kilowatt (36-horsepower) motor powers a single rear wheel and can also apply negative torque to the same wheel. A clutch allows each motor to be decoupled from its wheel in certain operating situations to improve efficiency.
Electrically Powered Air Conditioning Compressor
Since the RLX Sport Hybrid engine has an idle-stop feature, it is equipped with an electrically powered air conditioning compressor. This allows continuous air conditioning operation even when the gasoline engine is shut off.
Hybrid System Safety
To maximize passenger safety, the hybrid system components are positioned in well-protected areas of the vehicle. In the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, an automatic high-voltage circuit interrupt in the Intelligent Power Unit cuts power to the hybrid system.
100,000 Mile Tune-up Intervals
The RLX’s 3.5L V-6 requires no scheduled maintenance for 100,000+/- miles or more, other than periodic inspections and normal fluid and filter replacements. The first tune-up includes water pump inspection, valve adjustment, replacement of the camshaft timing belt, and the installation of new spark plugs.
Maintenance Minder™ System
To eliminate unnecessary service stops while ensuring that the vehicle is properly maintained, the RLX Sport Hybrid has a Maintenance Minder™ system that continually monitors the vehicle’s operating condition. When maintenance is required, the driver is alerted via a message on the Multi-Information Display (MID).
The Maintenance Minder™ system monitors operating conditions such as oil and coolant temperature along with engine speed to determine the proper service intervals. Depending on operating conditions, oil change intervals can be extended to a maximum of 10,000 miles, potentially sparing the owner considerable expenditures and inconvenience over the life of the vehicle. The owner-resettable system monitors all normal service parts and systems, including oil and filter, tire rotation, air-cleaner, automatic transmission fluid, spark plugs, timing belt, coolant and more. To avoid driver distraction while the vehicle is being operated, maintenance alerts are presented on the MID when the ignition is first turned on.
Bristling with technological advances in lighting, aerodynamics and construction, the 2014 RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD body has the technology to match its athletic and sophisticated design. Lightweight and aerodynamic, the body provides outstanding collision protection, confidence-inspiring high-speed stability, and exceptional fuel efficiency.
The RLX’s dynamic body design combines a sleek overall shape, “aero-fused” cabin silhouette, and close tolerances for the wheel wells and body-panel gaps for a high degree of elegance and aerodynamics. The styling begins with a dynamic front-end featuring the RLX’s signature Jewel Eye™ LED headlights, a substantial presence that imparts a look of power and confidence, while also proving highly aerodynamically efficient, providing powerful down the road illumination and even encompassing advanced pedestrian safety features.
Decisive character lines start alongside the hood, sweep over the front wheel arches, and then along the body sides. The body sides feature decisive character lines that subtly rise along the lower body sides, dramatically changing the light reflections and creating an especially dynamic visual signature for the RLX.
This athletic and sophisticated look is complemented by a flowing, aerodynamically sleek cabin design. Referred to by Acura designers as an “aero fused shape,” the cabin is wide but also extremely aerodynamic, allowing both a roomy interior and a quiet ride quality as air slips smoothly over the cabin’s flush-mounted available acoustic glass and other drag- and turbulence-reducing design details.
The wheel-arch hems use a much smaller gap to the tire than on the RL – and also a much smaller gap than is typical for the segment. This results in a more poised, integrated and finished look for the RLX side profile. The wheel-arch hems are also beautifully finished, adding to the sense of quality. Likewise, the hood, door and trunk-panel gaps are carefully controlled, with the aggregate effect that the RLX is immensely well crafted.
Beneath the vehicle is a sophisticated series of aerodynamic aids that further smooth airflow. These include an engine undercover, left and right floor covers, left and right mid under covers, and a rear under cover.
The rear of the RLX body is also dynamic, and here the cabin is noticeably wider than either of the outgoing RL or the RLX’s primary competitors, lending a look of soliditydue to the wider overall body and track widths.
Additional model-exclusive design cues for the RLX Sport Hybrid include a dark chrome-plated grill insert and redesigned lower front bumper fascia with integrated LED fog lights and turn signal indicators. The RLX Sport Hybrid has exclusive 19-inch, 10-spoke alloy wheels and “Hybrid” badging on the front fender. Also, SH-AWD badging replaces the P-AWS badge on the right rear portion of the trunk lid.
Seven different exterior colors, including four metallic and three pearl, are designed to complement the exterior shape and the way light defines it.
The Acura RLX Sport Hybrid utilizes numerous aluminum components to lower the overall vehicle mass by 76 pounds, which helps to improve acceleration, steering and handling response, road-holding, braking performance, fuel efficiency, emissions, and crash safety. Aluminum components include the front and rear bumper beams, front fenders, hood, steering column mounting beam, floor pan, and door skins.
The 2014 RLX Sport Hybrid is larger than the previous RL model in several key exterior dimensions, including width, wheelbase, and front and rear track. In overall length, the RLX measures 196.1 inches – just 0.2 inches longer than the previous model; however its wheelbase, at 112.2 inches, is a full two inches longer, providing more rear passenger room and improved the ride quality.
At 74.4 inches wide, the RLX is a substantial 1.8 inches wider than the previous model, contributing to the RLX’s more spacious interior – now with an impressive 36.4 inches between seating rows – its more confident visual presence, and improved handling stability.
At 57.7 inches high, the RLX is just 0.4 inches taller than the model it replaces.
Among its competitive set, the new RLX is longer and wider than the Audi A6, BMW 5 Series, Lexus GS series, and Mercedes-Benz E-Class.
When parked and locked, the folding exterior mirrors retract, the security alarm system is armed, and the RLX goes into standby mode, waiting for its owner to return. Then when the driver (in possession of the key fob) approaches the vehicle, it unlocks the driver’s door (or all doors if so programmed). When the driver opens the door to be seated, the RLX adjusts the seat and steering column to the preset positions, actives the instrumentation and sets the other features such as climate-control and audio-system presents to match the driver.
Static and dynamic rigidity and rear lateral stiffness are all improved versus the RL and even compared to the RL-X with P-AWS. Static bending rigidity is up 53 percent and torsional rigidity is up 47 percent compared to the previous RL model (1 percent up from the RLX with P-AWS). In addition, rear lateral stiffness and the torsional rigidity of the rear upper damper mounting points are up 107 percent and 63 percent, respectively, compared to the previous RL (and up 25 percent and 12 percent when compared to the RLX with P-AWS).
To increase stiffness and rigidity in key areas without increasing weight, 55 percent of the RLX body is made from high-strength steel, including the strategic use of ultra-high strength “hot stamped” 1500Mpa steel.
Aluminum Body Components
Extensive use of aluminum in key areas saves 76.1 pounds compared to traditional all-steel construction, providing high strength with light weight that directly benefits ride, handling, fuel efficiency, emissions reductions and safety. The biggest weight savings from a single component comes from the use of an aluminum hood, which saves 19.6 pounds compared to a steel hood. Aluminum body components include:
- Front bumper beam
- Front fenders
- Floor tunnel bar
- Rear bumper beam
- Steering-column hangar beam
- Front door skin
- Rear door skin
Aluminum Hybrid Construction Door
The RLX doors are a hybrid construction utilizing aluminum outer panels for lighter weight and steel inner panels for stiffness and crash safety performance. Together, they provide for increased stiffness with a weight reduction of 24.3 pounds compared to all-steel doors.
The front doors are constructed of four parts, while the rear doors are constructed of five parts. The steel inner panel uses a special high-corrosion-protection zinc, aluminum and magnesium plating – 11 percent aluminum, 3 percent magnesium and 86 percent zinc – to assure that electrolytic corrosion does not occur between the two metals. This plating gives the steel inner panel 10 times the resistance of traditional zinc galvanized plating.
The outer aluminum skin and steel inside panels are joined with an Acura-first “curl forming” process for high-strength and durability.
More than 800 wind-tunnel tests were conducted to improve vehicle aerodynamics values. As a result, the new RLX will have class-leading lower coefficient of lift (CL) and lower coefficient of drag (Cd).
Engineers paid particular attention to reducing interior noise, an effort that extends to literally every aspect of the vehicle’s design and engineering – from aerodynamics and powertrain engineering to insulators and the selection of finishing materials – all play a part in the RLX’s improved interior quietness.
To achieve a premium level of interior quietness, the RLX receives an unprecedented amount of acoustic material in key areas. The list includes:
- Carpet back surface
- Inside front/rear door lining
- Inside A-pillars
- Inside C-pillars
- Roof area behind moonroof opening
- Floor sills
- Inside trunk lid
- Rear deck
- Rear bulkhead
- Rear wheel wells
To mitigate additional sound from the hybrid drive motors, the RLX Sport Hybrid features additional application of sound deadening materials in rear passenger floor and trunk floor insulators.
Acoustic Door Glass
The RLX Sport Hybrid uses laminated, sound-insulating acoustic glass for all door glass, providing an extra measure of wind and road noise attenuation (same as RLX with P-AWS Technology and higher grades). The glass is 4.7mm thick and includes an acoustic membrane that helps attenuate frequencies above 1,600 Hz, resulting in an improvement of up to 14.7 dB over the previous model’s 5mm thick tempered door glass.
Jewel Eye™ Headlights
The 2014 RLX Sport Hybrid features Acura Jewel Eye™ LED headlights, which utilize a dual-stacked array of high-intensity LED lamps to deliver outstanding light distribution, and class-leading distant irradiation performance and light characteristics with a wavelength close to the human eye’s luminosity curve. With two rows of five “Jewel Eye” lights per headlight, the LED lights provide improved down the road visibility compared to HID and halogen headlights.
On each side of the RLX, the low beams consist of four LED lights, while the innermost high beams utilize a pair of larger LED lights. The daytime running light (DRL) function is shared by the low-beam lenses, with the eight individual lenses clearly and dramatically visible even in bright sunlight. Altogether, they create a dramatic and distinctive appearance with superior lighting capability.
Both the low and separate high beam LED headlights offer outstanding performance in all nighttime driving conditions, including highway, winding roads, intersections, and in inclement weather conditions. The result is that the driver can see further with uniformity, making high-speed nighttime driving easier and less fatiguing.
A summary of LED benefits include:
- Outstanding light distribution that surpasses competitors
- Excellent distant illumination performance
- Clear illumination of the road surface and white lines
- High visibility of the entire visible color spectrum (white, red, green, blue and yellow) compared to HID and halogen headlights
- Response time when switching between low and high beam is shortened
- Light congruity is improved between low and high beams
When the lights are off, sunlight enters the display through the top of the lens, reflects off the rear reflector and then forward and through the lens again. As a result when lighting is off, the array still appears to be shining.
The RLX Sport Hybrid taillights utilize periphery LED illumination that is both effective and highly distinctive. The taillight array consists of two semi-circular LED rings sweeping across the rear fender edges and the sides of the trunk lid. The light path combines functions of both the taillights and the side marker lights in one array. This LED array matches the “Jewel Eye” headlights for elegance and clearly distinguishes the RLX from every other vehicle on the road – even at a distance and especially at night. It also compliments the RLX body design.
LED taillight components include the LED assembly, a housing/reflector and inner and outer lenses. Uniform illumination is provided by a combination of light diffusion and the specially grained finish of both an inner lens and a reflecting surface. Inside the periphery LED taillight array is a separate lighting array consisting of the stoplights and turn signals. Backup lights are located on the trunk lid, inside the perimeter taillight array.
LED Fog Lights
LED fog lights present a smaller face than traditional fog lights, making them less susceptible to damage, while offering longer life, lower energy draw and more desirable color.
One-Touch Turn Signals
The RLX’s one-touch turn signals provide increased convenience for the driver when making routine lane changes. With the one-touch turn signal system, a quick movement of the turn-signal lever (between 0.4 sec. and 1 sec.) provides three blinks of the turn signals – an ideal scenario for changing lanes. Holding the lever for 1 sec. or longer (past the “click point”) provides continuous blinking, such as for signaling a turn or exiting a thoroughfare.
At the driver’s preference, the RLX’s door mirrors on some grades can be configured to automatically retract when the doors are locked, and then automatically extend when the doors are unlocked. This automatic mirror retract/extend function helps safeguard the mirrors when the RLX is parked, while also creating a higher-quality experience for the driver by eliminating the need to remember to manually retract or extend the mirrors.
The mirrors automatically retract or extend in two ways: 1) simply press the lock/unlock button on the remote key fob; or 2) press the lock button on the door handle.
The mirrors can also be retracted and extended by using the mirror switch on the driver’s door panel. These functions can be customized through the MID on the instrument panel.
Expanded View Driver’s Mirror
The 2014 RLX’s Expanded View Driver’s Mirror is integrated into the driver’s side mirror. Standard equipment on all trim levels, the mirror increases the driver’s field of vision by 6.5-degrees to provide a better view of objects that would otherwise be hidden in the vehicle’s blind spot. This allows the driver to better recognize vehicles that are in their blind zone.
The major part of the mirror is flat and provides 15.1-degrees of visibility. Adding the 6.5-degrees of the Expanded View Driver’s Mirror yields 21.6-degrees of visibility. In addition, the expansion of the view area gradually changes between flat and convex for a more natural user experience.
Laws in some states require drivers to turn on the headlights when the wipers are operating in the rain. The new RLX helps its driver comply with these laws by automatically illuminating the headlights when the wipers are activated in rainy conditions (with headlight switch in Auto). Operation is shown via an indicator on the instrument panel. If rain is intermittent, the lights stay on for a predetermined interval before automatically turning off again.
Wiper operation is equally advanced for maximum wiping area, better wiping quality, reduced weight, improved appearance and longer blade life. Details include:
- Wiper coverage is maximized by controlling the wiper position, including to the outer corners of the windshield.
- Wiper performance is maximized by adjusting the wiper speed according to road speed and wind pressure.
- The wiper motor uses a built-in ECU, reducing complexity compared to the RL wiper mechanism. The new RLX wiper motor assembly saves 4.6 pounds in comparison.
- For better appearance, the wipers are hidden under the hood when not in operation.
- For extended life of the wiper blades’ rubber, the operating system periodically raises the wiper blades from underneath the hood (when not in use) to prevent blade deformation.
The RLX trunk has a self-opening feature that fully opens the trunk lid. There are three ways to open the trunk: 1) by pressing the trunk opener switch located on the driver side door panel, 2) with the key fob and 3) with the trunk opener switch located in the middle of the trunk, underneath the trunk lid garnish. This makes it easier for the RLX driver to carry items and open the trunk lid at the same time. In contrast, the previous RL model, the trunk lid would open halfway compared to the RLX’s fully open function. The trunk lid closes manually.
The RLX Sport Hybrid offers 12.0 cu.-ft. of trunk storage capacity (down from 15.3 cu. ft. in the RLX with P-AWS and 15.1 cu.-ft. in RLX models with Krell Audio and Advance grades). All measurements include the tool kit and the puncture repair kit. A cargo net allows for storage of smaller items in an areas suspended above the cargo floor. Also, beneath the floor panel is a 0.4 cu.-ft. covered storage well.
Multi-Angle Rearview Camera
The RLX’s standard multi-angle rearview camera features three viewing angles – Wide view, Normal view and Top Down view. Drivers may select the preferred view according to driving conditions. The rearview camera system also features dynamic guidelines that display the vehicle’s backward trajectory according to steering-wheel position. When the steering wheel is straight, a broad 180-degree rearward view can be seen in Wide View, and Normal and Top Down views are also available. However when the steering wheel is turned 90 degrees, only Wide and Normal views are available, and dynamic guidelines curve onscreen to show the path of the vehicle. The result is improved convenience for the driver as the rearward trajectory of the RLX is indicated by the dynamic guidelines.
Rear Wheel Arch Hem
The RLX’s sleek exterior design is enhanced by close tolerances between the tires and the wheel arches. Specially designed wheel-arch hems reduce the gap to just 46 mm between the top of the tire and the lower part of the wheel arch, 10.5-mm narrower than that of the previous RL model. As a result, the tires better fill the wheel wells for a greater sense of unity and substance.
The 2014 RLX Sport Hybrid is available in seven exterior colors, including four metallic and three pearl colors. All colors have a strong character, offering expressive contrasts that compliment the RLX’s body-panel curves and angles, while also exhibiting a smart luxury appearance. The acid-resistant epoxy clear-coat paint is superior to typical clear-coat paints for increased resistance to urban pollutants.
The goal behind the RLX Sport Hybrid chassis was to deliver “the synergy between man and machine” or dynamic handling that truly responds to “the will of the driver.” This refers to the way in which Acura engineers envisioned the entire package of the RLX responding instantaneously and precisely, with technology used to improve the driver’s capability and confidence. The result is a vehicle that, more than any Acura before it, creates a driving experience that performs at the will of the driver.
A driver-selectable Sport mode further enhances driving dynamics across a wide range of driving situations. When the driver engages the Sport button on the center console, the system adopts more aggressive shift mapping and rear wheel torque-vectoring control. The system also deactivates Idle Stop, Variable Cylinder Management (no 3-cylinder mode) and the Reactive Force Pedal, plus the Active Sound Control system is modified to provide an even sportier driving experience.
Front Aluminum Subframe
The RLX Sport Hybrid has a lightweight and rigid front aluminum front subframe that is specifically designed to support the high performance of the double wishbone, lower double-joint front suspension with Amplitude Reactive Dampers and belt-type Electric Power Steering (EPS) system. Using die cast front corners, the Acura RLX Sport Hybrid’s front subframe is also wider across the middle, features wider middle and rear rails, and a wider rear section vs. RL to accommodate the new EPS system. Rigidity is up 82 percent compared to RL.
With its lightweight and rigidity, the new aluminum front subframe contributes to agile and light handling, straight-line stability, higher fuel efficiency, flat cornering and pleasing ride comfort, and smooth and precise steering feel (with reduced torque steer tendencies).
The RLX Sport Hybrid subframe is matched to the Active Control Engine Mount (ACM) system that is engineered specifically for the RLX’s higher-output engine and Variable Cylinder Management (VCM) system.
Lower Double-Joint Front Suspension
The RLX Sport Hybrid utilizes the same double-wishbone, lower double-joint front suspension as the RLX with P-AWS, which significantly improves intuitive handling agility, driver confidence and security, and ride sophistication. The system includes a lower double joint with a split lower control arm, optimized kingpin geometry, upper control arm, hydraulic compliance bushing, special dual-stage Amplitude Reactive Dampers made for Acura by ZF-Sachs, and a stabilizer bar that is heat treated for high strength.
- Agility – Improved steering feel characteristics including stability, linearity, response and tracing performance
- Driver Confidence – Increased high speed linearity with reduced torque steer/pulling, shimmy and judder
- Ride Sophistication – Flat ride with reduced harshness and steering vibration
Multi-Link Rear Suspension
Like the lower double-joint front suspension, the RLX Sport Hybrid’s multi-link rear suspension with Amplitude Reactive Dampers provides optimal handling agility, driver confidence and ride sophistication. The multi-link system geometry is optimized for a flat ride during cornering, confident turning capability, and a sophisticated ride in a variety of urban, highway and open road scenarios. The system includes multi-link control arms, control-arm bushings that are optimized for the best blend of NVH isolation and handling precision, Amplitude Reactive Dampers, and a rear stabilizer bar that is hardened with a special shot-peening process.
Amplitude Reactive Dampers
Amplitude Reactive Dampers provide superior ride comfort and handling in all driving conditions. The dampers have two separate damping mechanisms: one that is tuned for maximum efficiency on smoother roads with small inputs; and the other that is tuned to handle large inputs such as rough roads, potholes, and sudden steering and braking action. The result is a vehicle that remains composed and comfortable in a wide range of driving conditions.
The core technology contained within the Amplitude Reactive Dampers is their two separate damping pistons, including a main piston and a second piston. To improve overall ride comfort, when smaller inputs occur during normal driving conditions, only the main piston works to provide the ideal damping characteristics. To improve the RLX’s ride and handling during more severe conditions, the second piston operates to provide additional damping force.
The Amplitude Reactive Dampers are a purely mechanical system that does not require electronic controls. Altogether, they provide a much wider range of damping performance than the previous RL.
High-Output Electric Power Steering (EPS)
The RLX Sport Hybrid Electric Power Steering (EPS) system uses a high-power, belt-type electric steering assist. The system increases the torque available to assist the driver in steering the vehicle smoothly, with instantaneous response, direct feel, and improved low-speed agility and high-speed stability.
The variable gear ratio EPS uses a high-output electric assist motor with a belt-drive system. The system is designed and tuned to provide the two most essential characteristics in a high-performance luxury vehicle’s steering. These include a smooth initial response (shorter delay) at the start of steering input, and greater linearity response (steering force camber increase) as input is increased. As a result, the RLX’s high-output EPS provides agile performance in low-speed driving maneuvers such as at intersections, improved overall accuracy and road feel, and superb high-speed stability.
Rigid Steering Column
The RLX Sport Hybrid steering column is a highly rigid design with an aluminum bracket and resin angular bearing. The resulting stiffness gives maximum driver steering feedback along with minimizing vibration felt in the wheel.
The steering shaft is significantly larger in diameter than the shaft found in the previous RL, and together with the stiff but lightweight aluminum support bracket and angular bearing, yields maximum vibration-damping characteristics for a more luxurious driving experience.
Electrically actuated tilt and telescoping adjustment makes it easy to set the steering wheel to the ideal position for drivers of different sizes.
4-Wheel Disc Brakes with ABS and Brake Assist
RLX Sport Hybrid is equipped with 4-wheel disc brakes with a 4-channel anti-lock braking system (ABS) for confident stops. The front discs measure 12.99 inches in diameter, while the rear discs measure 12.2 inches in diameter.
ABS independently modulates braking power at each wheel to help the driver retain steering control during heavy braking, while Brake Assist recognizes emergency braking situations and almost instantly applies full braking force when appropriate.
The brake pads are a high-friction type for peak stopping performance even under strenuous conditions. The brake calipers are designed to reduce brake drag when not in use, reducing rolling resistance and improving fuel efficiency in the process.
Electric Servo Brakes
The RLX Sport Hybrid’s electric servo brake system maximizes regenerative braking capability for improved fuel efficiency. The braking system is fully hydraulic from the master cylinder all the way to the 4-wheel disc brakes, just like a traditional braking system. The key difference is that the braking function is electronically controlled rather than a purely mechanical activation, allowing regenerative braking from the front and rear electric motors to slow the vehicle, rather than the hydraulic friction brakes, under most circumstances. Besides its payoff in efficiency, the system offers excellent feel and feedback for the driver through the brake pedal.
When the driver applies the brake pedal, a signal is sent to the vehicle’s Electronic Control Unit (ECU), which determines the appropriate amount of braking force to assign to regenerative braking through the electric drive motor and to the hydraulic friction braking system. In many cases, friction braking is not needed until the vehicle speed drops below 9 mph, as the vehicle slows to a final stop. When the ECU determines that friction braking is needed, the dual hydraulic master cylinder pumps brake fluid through the system. Midway between the master cylinder and the calipers is a separate motorized electronic actuator. This actuator receives an electronic signal, generated in the master cylinder module that precisely defines how the driver has applied the brakes – soft or hard, slow or fast. The actuator then directly apportions hydraulic pressure to the brake calipers at each wheel.
While the RLX with P-AWS uses a 10-inch vacuum booster to assist the driver in applying needed brake pressure, the RLX Sport Hybrid uses an electric servo brake actuator.
Reactive Force Pedal
The RLX Sport Hybrid is the first model to apply the Acura-developed Reactive Force Pedal technology. In Normal mode, the system measures vehicle speed and dynamically varies pedal force to help the driver in applying the optimal amount of throttle for both spirited performance and good fuel economy. In slippery conditions, the system can also help the driver apply the optimal amount of driving force while minimizing wheel slip, utilizing input from the Vehicle Stability Assist system. Further, in the event that the Collision Mitigation Brake System (CMBS) detects that a frontal collision is imminent, the Reactive Force Pedal will push back on the driver’s foot even before the CMBS system activates its visual and auditory alerts.
Electric Parking Brake + Automatic Brake Hold
The combination of Electric Parking Brake (EPB) and Automatic Brake Hold are a first for the Acura division. Together, they meaningfully reduce the effort of driving the vehicle, thereby raising overall comfort to a true flagship level.
Electric Parking Brake
The Electric Parking Brake (EPB) on the RLX Sport Hybrid makes using the parking brake easier and more comfortable. Actuating the parking brake is now as simple as pulling a button on the center console. To release the parking brake, the driver simply presses on the accelerator pedal. In addition to being simpler, more convenient and more comfortable to use than a traditional parking brake, the new Electric Parking Brake makes hill starts easier when the RLX is parked on a grade.
The ease of use also promotes the use of the parking brake. Further, since only a few competitive vehicles have an Electric Parking Brake (EPB) system, its inclusion in the RLX further defines the new Acura as a true flagship. As with a traditional manually activated parking brake, EPB functions on the rear wheels only.
Automatic Brake Hold
The Acura RLX Sport Hybrid also features Automatic Brake Hold, which retains brake pressure when the vehicle is stopped, simplifying driving in heavy traffic or hills. This frees the driver from continually pressing the brake pedal to maintain the vehicle in a stopped position, a significant improvement in driving enjoyment in difficult conditions.
Operating the system requires two simple actions from the driver:
- Activating/deactivating the system via a switch on the center console.
- Pressing on the brake pedal when the vehicle comes to a stop.
Once these steps are taken, Automatic Brake Hold will indicate engagement and then maintain brake pressure when the vehicle has come to a stop, even if the driver releases the brake pedal. The RLX then remains stopped – even on a hill – until the driver presses the accelerator pedal. At this point Automatic Brake Hold releases the brakes and the vehicle resumes normal braking function.
Vehicle Stability Assist™ (VSA®)
The RLX Sport Hybrid’s high-efficiency Vehicle Stability Assist™ (VSA) works in conjunction with the ABS and the Drive-by-Wire throttle systems. This premium VSA system enhances vehicle stability when cornering. If vehicle understeer or oversteer is detected, the system selectively reduces power and/or applies braking force to individual wheels to help correct the condition and stabilize the vehicle.
Traction control monitors front-wheel slippage, such as when starting on slick surfaces or patches of ice. If it is detected, traction control activates one or more brake calipers and reduces engine torque to slow the spinning wheel so it can regain traction.
Agile Handling Assist
Agile Handling Assist works in near limit cornering by using the brakes to create a yaw moment, helping the driver smoothly and easily trace the desired line with smaller steering-wheel inputs. The result is improved dynamic performance in all driving conditions, helping the RLX Sport Hybrid perform at the will of the driver.
Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)
A standard Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) helps the driver maintain proper air pressure to improve driving safety and fuel efficiency, as well as reduce wear and tear on the vehicle’s tires. Located in the instrument panel, a TPMS icon illuminates to alert the driver whenever any of the tires has a significantly low-pressure reading that requires the driver’s attention.
The RLX Sport Hybrid features model-exclusive10-spoke, 19x8J alloy wheels with a painted Glitter Silver Metallic finish. The RLX Sport Hybrid’s wheels have a special noise-reducing design that lowers noise by as much as 7 dB in the mid-frequency range. The key elements of the noise-reducing four resin moldings fitted on the inside of the wheel rim. The result is reduced noise resonance in the air column inside the wheel.
The RLX Sport Hybrid is shod with 245/40R19 M+S tires. The RLX features an easy-to-use tire repair kit in lieu of a spare tire. This reduces weight and increases trunk volume, and simplifies temporary repairs in the event of a flat tire.
Capless Fueling System
The RLX’s capless fueling eliminates the fuel cap, meaning that fueling the vehicle now simply requires opening the fuel-tank lid, refueling, and then closing the lid. This reduces the possibility of damaging the vehicle’s paint with the fuel cap or tether, or forgetting the fuel cap at the gas station. The system also allows the use of a smaller fuel-cap door, which cleans up the lines of the vehicle.
The system consists of two integrated components, including an outer shutter mechanism that prevents the intrusion of dirt and dust, and a self-sealing fueling flap that is closed by a torsion spring. Both operate automatically.
At a gas station, the driver simply opens the fuel lid (which automatically locks with the doors) and then inserts the fuel nozzle. Inserting the nozzle automatically opens the outer shutter and fueling flap. When fueling is complete, removing the fuel nozzle automatically closes both the fueling flap and outer shutter.
15.1-Gallon Fuel Capacity
The RLX Sport Hybrid’s resin fuel tank capacity of 15.1 gallons gives the RLX an ample cruising range. Both the fuel tank and fuel pipe are made of high-impact resin for lightweight and durability. The fuel tank is located in a protected area in front of the rear suspension.
The 2014 RLX Sport Hybrid interior serves as a “gracious host” for the driver and passengers, combining highly spacious five-passenger comfort with a higher level of luxury convenience and technology in an Acura flagship sedan. In the front seat area, a design concept called “dual personal structure” divides the space into areas centered on the driver and front passenger, complemented by a wide center stack and console that is easily accessible to each person. High-end premium elements, such as a carefully stitched leather instrument panel cover, soft-touch materials, premium finishes, and rich wood-grain accents, combine with an intuitive new control layout to create a distinctive environment in tune with this luxury performance sedan’s sporting character.
Open the door with the standard Smart Entry system and you’ll find more shoulder room, front and rear. Rear seat leg room has been increased a substantial 2.5-inches, moving the RLX to the head of its class in tandem seating distance. Heated 12-way adjustable (8-way power plus 4-way power lumbar support) front seats are standard, and offer all-day comfort along with abundant lateral support for aggressive cornering. Ventilated front seats and heated rear seats are standard in the Advance grade. Rich, luxurious perforated and stain-resistant Milano leather seating is also standard.
Standard tri-zone climate control ensures passenger comfort throughout the cabin. All grades have a large center console that offers 5.8 liters of storage space, and features a padded armrest lid that slides fore and aft for greater comfort. The dual-hinged lid can be opened to the left or right, making access simple for either the driver or front-seat passenger. The glove box has a new electric release, and along with the audio, navigation and phone systems, can be easily locked via the touch screen – for situations where additional security is warranted, such as when RLX is given to a valet for parking.
With the expanded range of standard and available technology features, substantial engineering effort was put into making each feature intuitive and easy to use. The focal point of the new instrument panel is a large 8-inch color audio/information screen that provides a range of useful information and access to an array of customizable features. When equipped with a navigation system, a high-resolution screen positioned in this same location combines audio, information and navigation functions.
A 7-inch On-Demand Multi-Use Display™ positioned within easy reach of the driver and front passenger controls the audio system and many other features. The touchscreen eliminates many physical buttons, and is the key contributor to the clean, uncluttered look of the RLX interior. Dynamic menus clearly display controls for each functional mode, reduce screen clutter, and help make operation simple. Audible and touch feedback improves usability and control, and helps keep the driver’s eyes on the road. Customizable shortcuts allow the RLX driver to set easy-to-access pre-sets for Places, Phone, Climate, Audio, and Valet functional categories.
Befitting its flagship status in the Acura line, the RLX Sport Hybrid does not scrimp on thoughtful premium details. A power tilt/telescoping steering wheel with enhanced fingertip controls and a multi-view rearview camera are standard. Also standard are a two-driver memory system, auto-dimming rearview mirror, HomeLink®, Forward Collision Warning (FCW) and Lane Departure Warning (LDW). To deliver excellent sound isolation, the RLX makes use of comprehensive sound deadening materials, an acoustic glass windshield, and an Active Sound Control system that helps cancel out interior noise. Acura Bluetooth® HandsFreeLink® wireless telephone connectivity is also standard, and allows the RLX driver to dial a Bluetooth®-enabled mobile phone by voice command.
Acura is known for its leadership in the adoption of advanced information and media technologies, and the 2014 RLX Sport Hybrid is no exception. The next generation of AcuraLink® delivers a broad spectrum of capabilities using both an embedded two-way cellular communication and cloud-based connectivity via the owner’s compatible smart phone and data plan. AcuraLink features Pandora® interface, Aha™ by Harman cloud-based interface, and SMS text and e-mail messaging functionality with compatible cell phones.
The Pandora® interface allows custom internet radio stations to be played through the Acura RLX Sport Hybrid’s audio system via a connected compatible smart phone. Aha also uses a paired smart phone to provide hundreds of channels of in-vehicle content, including custom internet radio, podcasts, audio books, Facebook and Twitter newsfeeds. AcuraLink services are offered in three tiers: Standard, Connect and Premium
Two audio systems are offered in the RLX Sport Hybrid starting with an impressive 14-speaker Acura/ELS® Studio Premium Audio System in the RLX Sport Hybrid Technology grade. The RLX Sport Hybrid Advance grade features a 14-speaker Krell ultra-premium audio system – with speakers and amplifiers engineered over the last four years – sets a new benchmark in automotive audio performance.
The RLX Sport Hybrid offers a wide spectrum of audio and information features. All audio systems feature AM/FM, HD radio and XM radio®. The standard USB port allows the connection of a flash drive, iPhone or iPod. Compatible Bluetooth® devices can also connect to the RLX wirelessly. When equipped with a navigation system, CDs can be copied onto the on-board hard drive and selected using Song-by-Voice.
The standard Acura Navigation System with Voice Recognition™ is a hard-drive based system. It features continuously updated traffic maps, including highways and, for the first time, surface street traffic information within the United States and Canada, and also offers traffic rerouting to help navigate around slow-downs. The system includes Zagat® restaurant information.
The navigation system’s voice recognition feature allows you to perform the most frequently used functions of the audio, climate control, and navigation systems without taking your hands off the wheel. The advanced voice recognition technology responds to over 1,500 commands, in addition to spoken street names.
A broad spectrum of driver-assistive technologies is also offered on the RLX Sport Hybrid. Forward Collision Warning (FCW) and Lane Departure Warning (LDW) and Blind Spot Information (BSI) system are standard. The RLX Sport Hybrid with Advance package adds standard Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) with Low-Speed Follow, Lane Keeping Assist System, and front and rear parking sensors.
Design and Materials
The new RLX Sport Hybrid interior is a fresh take on premium luxury, with clean and elegant lines, high-end detailing, and intuitive functionality. A design concept called “dual personal structure” guided development, and divides the space into areas centered on the driver and front passenger, complemented by a wide center stack and console that is easily accessible to each person.
With more on-board electronic features than ever before, the RLX designers rethought the user interface of the central stack, and developed a simple two-screen system. The 8-inch color audio/information screen is placed high in the instrument panel, where it’s close to the driver’s sight line. The lower, 7-inch touch screen eliminates the need for dozens of hard keys, and has contextual menus that make operation simple. The quality of interior materials, fit and finish have received close attention to reflect the discerning nature of the RLX owner, with stitched leather instrument panel detailing, available Milano leather seating, and soft-touch materials throughout.
Intuitive functionality has always been a priority in Acura design and is now a core element of Acura’s focus on creating the synergy between man and machine – enabling the driver to focus on operating the vehicle rather than various controls. All important systems and controls are within easy reach of the driver. Controls for the systems used most frequently-audio, cruise control, Bluetooth® HandsFreeLink®, available satellite-linked Acura Navigation System with Voice Recognition™ and Multi-Information Display-are conveniently positioned on the steering wheel. The main instrumentation is an easy-to-read analog design, supplemented with digital and graphic displays. Even though the RLX gives its driver access to many electronic features, the interface is simple and welcoming. Sight lines are clear with important items placed within easy view.
Typical of Acura interior design, the soft-touch switchgear of the RLX is engineered to deliver a quality feel and positive action. Helpful features, such as power side mirrors that can be set to automatically tilt-down when Reverse gear is engaged, make parking easier. A standard multi-view rearview camera provides a choice of three different views, displayed on the bright, colorful 8-inch audio/information screen.
Leather-Wrapped Steering Wheel
The leather-wrapped steering wheel with euro-style stitching incorporates the most commonly used controls, allowing the driver to keep their hands on the wheel. Phone and audio controls are on the left side; cruise control and multi-info display controls are on the right side, along with the switches for Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS) and Adaptive Cruise Control with Low-Speed Follow on the Advance grade.
Tucked out of view but within fingertip reach are a pair of paddle shifters that allow for manual operation of the Sequential SportShift 6-speed automatic transmission.
The RLX Sport Hybrid has sophisticated analog instrumentation with large tachometer and speedometer flanking a Multi-Information Display (MID) which provides a range of information and trip computer functions. The tachometer and speedometer are flanked by an analog coolant temperature and fuel level gauge.
The Acura RLX Sport Hybrid features the first application of Acura’s new Head-Up Display, which utilizes a concave mirror located behind the instrument panel to project a broad range of information on the lower portion of the windshield directly in front of the driver.
Display modes can be selected by a steering wheel-mounted thumb dial. Display modes include:
- Sport Hybrid SH-AWD system operation – displays the condition of each tire torque vectoring.
- Tachometer – displays engine rpm, gear position and vehicle speed.
- Navigation – turn-by-turn driving instructions are displayed in a birds-eye style format, accompanied by voice commands, along with vehicle speed.
- Compass – indicates the direction of travel
- ACC/LKAS – ACC: Recognition of the vehicle ahead LKAS: Lane markings
- Speed only – displays vehicle speed
- ACC/LKAS warnings – in the event of an unintentional lane departure (Lane Keep Assist) or impending collision (Collision Mitigation Brake System) the display will interrupt the selected mode to display the appropriate visual and audible warnings.
- Additional automatic display content includes audio, speed-dial information and Voice Recognition
Further, the driver can adjust the location of the projection (up and down) or turn off the system via switches on the instrument panel.
A highly functional instrument panel gives the RLX driver instant access to critical information. It also provides important vehicle information via a Multi-Information Display (MID) positioned between the tachometer and speedometer. Controls positioned on the right side of the steering wheel allow the driver to cycle the MID display through multiple screens of information from sources including LKAS and ACC and more. The Maintenance Minder™ system alerts the RLX driver of upcoming maintenance needs via the MID and should a fault occur with the vehicle, specific warning information will appear.
MID information categories include:
- Digital odometer and dual digital trip meters
- Average fuel economy
- Estimated remaining fuel range
- Elapsed time
- Average speed
- Maintenance Minder™
- Tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS)
- Vehicle Settings customization
- Engine oil life
- Outside temperature
- Instant fuel economy
- Shift lever position
- Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) with Low-Speed Follow
- Lane Keeping Assist System (LKAS)
- Turn-by-turn navigation (with Navigation package and up)
All RLX models feature a bright, full-color 8-inch audio/information screen positioned high in the center stack of the instrument panel. Its high placement puts it close to the driver’s line of sight where it’s easy to see. Besides audio system information, the screen also offers backup camera views and access to a range of customizable features.
On-Demand Multi-Use Display™
The impressive range of technology offered in the RLX presented designers with a challenge of balancing capability with simplicity. The solution came in the form of a 7-inch On Demand Multi-Use Display™ (ODMD) touch screen positioned within easy reach of the driver and front passenger. The touchscreen controls a wide range of features, and with its contextual menus, it displays relevant items while minimizing clutter. To make it easy to use, the screen offers audible and vibratory touch feedback-both can be adjusted or shut off based on the owner’s preference. Customizable shortcuts allow the RLX driver to set easy-to-access presets for Places, Phone, Climate, Audio and Valet functional categories.
The touchscreen display also provides access to the RLX’s Valet Mode. Using the touch screen, the owner can assign a Personal Identification Number (PIN) that locks out the use of the trunk release and glove box, navigation system, audio system and phone.
Multi-Angle Rearview Camera
A multi-view rearview camera is standard on all grades. It offers three viewing angles (wide view, normal view and top view). Drivers may select the preferred view according to driving conditions. The rearview image is displayed on the 8-inch color audio/information display, or on the navigation system display (in the same location) on models equipped with navigation. On-screen guidelines help the driver better judge distances, and predictive guidelines help make maneuvering in reverse easier.
One-Touch Turn Signals
The RLX’s one-touch turn signals provide increased convenience for the driver when making routine lane changes. In addition to normal operation, a quick movement of the turn signal lever (between 0.4 sec. and 1.0 sec.) will cause the turn signals to flash three times.
Considering the luxury mission and performance capabilities of the RLX, its seating required extensive engineering development. Detailed analysis of seats from competitive makes helped set engineering targets that balanced firm support, a feeling of secure stability when maneuvering, and the supple comfort required for all-day driving.
An all-new internal structure (introduced in the RLX) lays the foundation for comfort. Specially compounded padding in four different densities is used strategically to blend support and comfort, with special firm inset pads positioned internally in the side bolsters for stable lateral support. Special attention was given to the Milano leather seat coverings to make for a soft touch, with the right amount of surface friction to help keep passengers securely in position while cornering.
The driver and passenger front seats feature 12-ways of power adjustability (8-way power seat plus 4-way power lumbar support). The pneumatic lumbar support can be adjusted both longitudinally and vertically. All driver’s seat power adjustments are included in the Smart Entry system that (among many other features). The system stores a pair of user profiles regarding seat settings-one for each of the two key fobs that come standard with the RLX Sport Hybrid.
Heated front seats are standard in the RLX Sport Hybrid. Electronic control allows for three temperature settings, along with faster warm-up and smoother, more precise temperature control. Ventilated front seats and heated rear seats are standard in the Advance grade.
The RLX offers rear seat occupants exceptional comfort and room. Specially sculpted front seat seatbacks generate extra leg room for rear seat passengers. In the rear seat area, the outer seating positions are carefully engineered (complete with side bolsters) to simultaneously combine solid lateral support with luxurious comfort on long trips.
The RLX theme of efficient driver control and easy-to-read components carries on after dark. The analog instruments are backlit with LED lighting and feature high-contrast markings. The gauge package progressively illuminates to give the driver a welcoming feel upon entry. When the door is first opened, the instrument lighting comes to life and then brightens progressively to 100-percent illumination when the ignition is switched on. The illuminated instrument panels then come alive, indicating that the car is ready to go. At the end of the drive, the instrument lighting dims progressively.
All the interior switches and vent controls are illuminated to make them easy to locate at night, including the switches on all four doors and the steering wheel. In addition to front and rear overhead interior lights and map lights, the RLX also has a complement of low-level interior cabin lighting. Ambient lighting in the ceiling illuminates the front center console and the rear flip-down armrest. The front foot wells also have ambient lighting that brightens substantially when the doors are opened.
Front and rear interior door handle areas are illuminated to make them easy to find at night, and the front door storage compartments, glove compartment, and center armrest compartment are all internally illuminated. All four doors have courtesy lights that illuminate when the doors are open. The RLX interior lights feature “theater dimming,” which can be set by the driver to one of several dimming rates via the Multi-Information Display. The trunk has interior lighting, plus the trunk lid has lighting that illuminates the bumper and sill area when the lid is opened.
The RLX Sport Hybrid interior offers a range of storage and convenience features for the driver and passengers. The dual-hinged front center armrest incorporates a unique lid design that can flip open to the right or left, for conveniently accessing the center console storage compartment.
A USB port inside the console allows for easy connectivity of items such as an iPod®, iPhone® or a removable flash drive storage device. The USB port is located alongside a traditional AUX jack that allows connectivity of an MP3 music player. Just ahead of the console, a pair of illuminated cupholders is conveniently positioned.
Inside the glove compartment is a separate document box to accommodate the Owner’s Manual as well as important registration and insurance papers. The separate document box arrangement not only keeps paperwork neatly contained, but it also frees up storage space in the main glove box compartment. In the rear seating area, a wide fold-down center armrest has a padded top. A pullout dual beverage holder is built into the rear armrest.
Cargo Carrying Versatility
The RLX Sport Hybrid has a fully finished, 12.0 cubic-foot trunk (compared to 15.1 on the two-wheel drive RLX with Krell Audio and Advance packages). An underfloor storage compartment provides added space for small items. The acoustic properties of the trunk and the rear deck speakers were specially engineered to create the best possible sound performance from the three available audio systems. To allow room for longer items, a locking trunk pass-through is provided. A cargo net with a network of anchor points help keeps trunk cargo securely in position.
For a cleaner appearance and to avoid damage to luggage, the trunk lid is supported by fully concealed hinge mechanisms. The trunk can be opened via a remote release mounted on the driver’s door panel, by pulling the exterior release lever on the trunk lid (when carrying the Smart Entry keyless access fob), or with a manual release accessible through the locking trunk pass-through. There is also an emergency trunk opener, located near the trunk latch that can be found in total darkness thanks to a glow-in-the-dark yellow color treatment.
GPS-Linked, Tri-Zone Automatic Climate Control
The RLX Sport Hybrid has GPS-linked temperature control, tri-zone automatic climate control system that lets the driver, front passenger and rear passengers set temperatures to their individual liking. Designed for exceptionally quiet operation the system also includes a selectable automatic recirculation mode that is controlled by an electronic control unit (ECU) and an air quality sensor.
To operate the HVAC system, easy-to-read buttons and controls are positioned within easy reach. The HVAC system can also be controlled by voice command, and additional custom settings can be accessed through the 7-inch On-Demand Multi-Use Display™ interface. The climate control system’s control logic is designed to provide smooth operation with subtle changes in airflow.
With its position-sensing ability, the available GPS navigation system contributes to overall passenger comfort with a 3D solar sensing feature. Based on continuously updated vehicle position information, the navigation system determines the position of the sun relative to the driver and passenger. Combining this information with input from a solar sensor located on top of the instrument panel, the climate control system automatically adjusts the temperature and airflow from side to side as needed to compensate for asymmetrical solar heating.
For increased rear seat privacy, reduced solar loading and greater passenger comfort on sunny days, the Advance grade RLX Sport Hybrid has a power operated rear-window sunshade along with manually operated expanded sunshades for each rear door side window.
Active Noise Control (ANC) and Active Sound Control (ASC)
Key contributors to the RLX Sport Hybrid’s quiet, refined interior are Active Noise Control (ANC) and Active Sound Control (ASC). The two systems are comprised of dual overhead microphones, an ANC/ASC electronic processor, and the audio system’s speakers. ASC/ANC operates whenever the RLX engine is running, even if the audio system is turned off.
ANC is designed to reduce low frequency sound in the cabin caused mainly by the roughness of the road surface. The overhead microphones pick up sound waves and send them to the ANC/ASC processor, which creates and sends a precisely timed “reverse phase” audio signal to a special amplifier. In turn, the amplifier drives the door speakers to cancel the original noise signal.
ASC is a related technology designed to improve the engine sound quality by making the sound pressure level more linear as the engine revs increase. Typically, engine noise doesn’t increase in a linear way with rising revs; instead there can be many resonances that create peaks and valleys in the sound pressure level and an uneven sound. ASC helps smooth out the engine sound by creating a same-phase or reverse-phase sound signal as needed and sending it to the speakers. Though the system offers benefits from idle to redline, it makes the largest difference in the range between 1000 and 2000 rpm, where it lowers the sound pressure level with a reverse-phase audio signal.
AcuraLink® Connectivity System
The RLX launched the next generation of AcuraLink®, Acura’s cloud-based connected car system that first launched in 2005. This new generation uses embedded cellular technology built into the RLX and RLX Sport Hybrid, along with the owner’s compatible smartphone and data package, to bring a broad range of convenience, media and available security features to the RLX lineup.
AcuraLink is the new center point for owners for hands-free access to cloud-based services, audio and information, and is designed to keep RLX drivers informed and connected while on the go. AcuraLink is available on both the RLX Sport Hybrid and RLX Sport Hybrid with Advance.
The connectivity required for AcuraLink’s various features is distributed between the RLX’s embedded system (for some of the fee-based features) and the owner’s compatible smartphone and data package (for free features).
AcuraLink works with the owner’s compatible smartphone and data package to connect the RLX with music and information resources, internet apps, and more. Aha™ by Harman is a key AcuraLink resource. Aha organizes the RLX owner’s favorite content from the web into personalized on-demand radio stations in the vehicle. Aha is a comprehensive, cloud-based platform optimized for the automotive environment that provides a simple integration point for AcuraLink equipped vehicles to bring in a wide range of current and future applications into the audio system head unit. This new capability allows users to access their favorite podcasts, internet and terrestrial radio, on-demand music, restaurant recommendations via Yelp, and even audio updates from Facebook and Twitter.
Owners can use the AcuraLink website to access information or change preferences. AcuraLink allows for Twitter and Facebook access.
SMS Text Message Function
All RLX models have a standard SMS Text Message function that can read incoming texts aloud over the audio system, and allow the driver to reply with any of six factory preset messages. The system works with SMS-capable cell phones that have an active data plan and the Message Access Profile (MAP), such as the Blackberry, Droid X and others. When running iOS6, an iPhone can receive text messages, but cannot send replies using the RLX interface.
Once a compatible phone is paired with the RLX’s Bluetooth® HandsFreeLink® system, the text messaging function is enabled. When the phone receives a text message, an alert appears on the audio/information screen (or navigation screen in vehicles equipped with navigation). Using the audio system controls, the driver can choose to have the message read aloud, can select among the preset reply choices, or can call the sender – all without handling their phone. To help minimize driver distraction, the text of the incoming message is not displayed on-screen while the vehicle is moving.
Available factory preset text replies:
- Talk to you later, I’m driving
- I’m on my way
- I’m running late
Bluetooth® HandsFreeLink® Wireless Telephone Interface
Like all Acura vehicles, the RLX Sport Hybrid has a standard Bluetooth® HandsFreeLink® hands free telephone interface that is designed to work with most Bluetooth®-enabled mobile phones. Bluetooth® is a radio frequency-based technology that allows portable devices (such as mobile cellular telephones, PDAs, and laptop computers) to communicate wirelessly. The RLX’s HandsFreeLink® system is compatible with Bluetooth®-enabled cellular phones that have the Hands Free Profile (HFP). After the driver completes a one-time pairing process, the RLX can communicate wirelessly and securely with the driver’s cell phone when it is within approximately 10 feet of the car. The phone needs to be on, but can be stored in a pocket, briefcase, purse, or anywhere inside the RLX cabin- thus there is no need to worry about where to place the cellular telephone.
Bluetooth® HandsFreeLink® allows the driver to send or answer telephone calls without removing their hands from the steering wheel. When a call comes in, the number of the incoming caller is displayed on the Multi-Information Display (MID) located in the instrument cluster. In addition, the phone ring tone is played over the audio system. If the driver chooses to answer the phone call, a press of the steering wheel-mounted “Pick up” button mutes the audio system and the incoming caller is heard over the RLX’s audio system speakers. Working with an overhead array microphone, the HandsFreeLink® system helps cancel “echo effect” and reduces background noise to improve the transmission quality of the driver’s speech.
To send a call hands-free, the RLX driver can dial the number by voice, again using fingertip controls mounted on the steering wheel to activate the system. The driver also can store frequently called numbers in the system’s memory using unique voice tags. Up to six different compatible mobile phones can be registered with the RLX’s Bluetooth® HandsFreeLink® system.
Acura/ELS Studio® 14-Speaker Premium Audio
The RLX Sport Hybrid Technology grade features the Acura/ELS Studio® Premium Audio System, engineered specifically for the RLX by Panasonic and legendary recording engineer Elliot Scheiner to recreate the emotional experience you feel when you enjoy a live performance. The system’s hardware matches the quality of recording studio equipment, and features high power amplification and advanced speaker technology. It includes a single-disc CD player, AM/FM/HD/XM/HDD and delivers detailed, well-balanced sound to all seating positions
The system’s 14 speakers are precisely located throughout the RLX cabin. Six titanium-domed tweeters are arrayed in the interiors; two near the A-pillars, two in the rear doors, and two more on the rear deck. A 3.1-inch super dynamic range speaker is centered in the top of the instrument panel, and six big 6.7-inch super-dynamic range speakers are placed in the door and on the rear deck. Finally, an 8-inch SLDD (Super Low Distortion Driver) subwoofer is position in the center of the rear deck.
In addition to traditional source inputs, the RLX is fitted with a USB port that allows for easy connectivity to items such as an iPod® or iPhone® along with a removable flash drive storage device containing WMA, MP3 or AAC format music. The USB port is located alongside a traditional AUX jack (that allows connectivity of an external MP3 music player) located in the center console’s storage compartment.
Krell 14-Speaker Ultra-Premium Audio System
The Acura RLX Sport Hybrid with Advance features a Krell audio system that is designed to set a new standard in automotive audio performance. Krell is one of the most highly respected names in high-end audio, with a three-decade history of developing ultra-premium home audio systems. Though the new RLX system marks Krell’s first production automotive application, it shares the performance goals of all Krell systems: Musical detail, three-dimensional sound presentation, and extreme volume capability. Four years of development went into the RLX 14-speaker system.
The 14 Krell speakers are positioned in the RLX cabin in the same locations as those in the Technology package. Six magnesium-domed tweeters are arrayed in the interior; two near the A-pillars, two more in the rear doors, and another pair on the rear deck. A 3.1-inch speaker is centered in the top of the instrument panel, and six large 6.7-inch Zylon® (Zylon® is a registered trade mark of Toyobo Co., Ltd. in Japan) speakers are placed in the doors and on the rear deck. Finally, an 8-inch subwoofer is positioned in the center of the rear deck.
Krell uses highly advanced speaker technology to achieve a new level of audio performance. The tweeters, for example, use magnesium diaphragms. Reproducing high frequencies requires that the tweeter diaphragm be able to move extremely fast, so ideally the diaphragm should be constructed of materials with very low mass. Aluminum is lightweight, fairly rigid, and inexpensive, but an aluminum diaphragm structure has a strong inherent resonance of around 20 kHz. This resonance is often perceived as a harsh or gritty sound. Magnesium is more expensive than aluminum, but it has the benefit of being less mass. Adding a structural ridge to the diaphragm greatly increases rigidity without additional mass. This pushes the diaphragm’s resonant frequency up into the inaudible 40 kHz range. The result is extraordinary detail and extended high frequencies without any trace of harshness.
Special technology is also applied to the Krell system’s six 6.7-inch speakers. The speakers use diaphragms constructed of a material called Zylon®, the world’s strongest super-fiber. This very rigid material is ideal for speaker manufacturing. Zylon® responds very quickly to musical input and, more importantly, stops moving just as quickly when the musical signal stops. Compared to the polypropylene diaphragm material that is used in the vast majority of car audio speakers, Zylon® has far less unwanted vibration, resulting in a much cleaner and more detailed sound.
Because of the ability of the magnesium tweeters and Zylon® speakers to reveal fine details in the music, the highest quality crossover components were required. Heavy gauge, pure copper inductors and top-of-the-line polypropylene capacitors from Bennic maintain perfect signal integrity.
The discrete amplifier channels are designed exactly like the channels in a high-end Krell home amplifier. The main channels feature the same robust, high quality bipolar power transistors used in flagship Krell home amplifiers. The result is an amplifier that has one-third less distortion than amplifiers found in competing flagship luxury sedans. Using a class D channel for the subwoofer increases that amplifier’s efficiency and reduces its size. The DirectFET class D amp is designed for low EMI (electro-magnetic interference) to keep the main output channels as noise-free as possible.
For the best audio performance, the Krell system uses metal speaker grilles. Because metal is inherently stronger than the plastic used for most grilles, the grilles can have a more open area without compromising strength. Metal grilles also vibrate less than typical plastic grilles.
Special care went into mounting the speakers with mounting plates that are thick and heavily reinforced. In combination with the specially engineered door panels, the mounting plates provide an extraordinarily rigid, stable mounting surface for each speaker element. Sound energy that would otherwise be wasted in the drive-unit or door vibration is accurately transmitted to the listener, resulting in tighter bass response and improved musical detail.
XM® Radio is a standard feature within the RLX audio system and it provides more than 200 channels of digital programming with near CD-quality sound. The XM® signal is beamed to two broadcast satellites positioned in geostationary orbit above Earth. The beams from these two broadcast satellites combine to span the entire continental United States and some of Canada.
XM® Radio programming includes channels devoted to music, sports, talk, traffic, weather, children’s programming and entertainment. Of the more than 200 XM® channels, 71 are commercial-free. When the RLX’s audio system plays XM® Radio, the Audio/Information screen (or navigation display in vehicles with navigation) displays the current category, station song title, or artist’s name, while the current category and station are also displayed on the On-Demand Multi-Use Display™. A complimentary three-month subscription to the XM® Radio service is included with purchase of a new RLX, and customers are able to continue the service or cancel any time afterwards.
All RLX models feature standard HD Radio™. HD Radio technology converts the traditional analog radio broadcast to digital and provides advanced audio and data features that enhance the listening experience. Sound quality is radically improved, and unlike satellite radio, HD Radio is free.
Instead of sending out one analog signal, HD stations send out a bundled signal – both analog and digital. Because it is digital, textual data such as traffic, stock info and song titles can be sent out, as well. Unlike conventional radio, HD Radio stations broadcast extra channels, which are called HD2/HD3. These added channels offer RLX owners a universe of additional choices.
Hard Disk Drive (HDD) Audio
Hard Disk Drive (HDD) audio system featuring the 15GB HDD-based memory are programmed from the factory to copy music tracks from pre-recorded CDs, enabling customers to store many CDs worth of music on-board for easy access. The system will not copy music from burned CDs or from USB flash drives. Based on music files measuring an average size of 4.2MB per song at a 128kbps bit rate, approximately 3,500 songs can be loaded into the 15GB system (approximately 175 CDs).
The HDD-based system records music at 6-times that of the original music track time. Two recording quality settings (192 kbps or 128 kbps) are available. The automatic-recording default setting can be changed to manual if desired.
The audio system can display information about the music tracks, such as artist names and song titles using the Gracenote® database in the system software. This database can be periodically updated to reflect newly released music. Gracenote updates can be downloaded by RLX owners at automobiles.acura.com in the Ownerlink section (up to four updates per year maximum). The updates can then be loaded onto a CD-R or onto a USB thumb drive, which in turn can be used to update the RLX audio system. Even without a Gracenote update, newly released audio tracks will play on the sound system, without accompanying text information on genre, artist, album name and track name.
Song By Voice®
Song by Voice® is standard on the RLX Sport Hybrid. From most navigation screens, the driver can simply press the TALK button on the steering wheel. With so much audio content potentially available on the HDD or from an iPod, RLX engineers set out to make it easy to find content. So drivers can simply give a voice command, such as “Play song ‘Danny Boy,'” and the system will automatically begin playback. Song by Voice also lets the driver choose music by artist, album, track name, genre, playlist and even composer.
Forward Collision Warning (FCW)
The RLX Sport Hybrid features a new Forward Collision Warning (FCW) system as standard equipment. When the camera-based system detects a vehicle ahead and determines that collision is possible, it provides the driver with visual and audible alerts to encourage avoidance actions. The system does not include an automatic braking function.
Lane Departure Warning (LDW)
Lane Departure Warning (LDW), also standard, provides the driver with visual and audible alerts if the vehicle begins to move out of a detected lane without the turn signal activated. A button on the lower left portion of the instrument panel allows the system to be switched on and off.
Smart Entry Keyless Access System
The RLX features Acura’s Smart Entry with Push Button Start. The Smart Entry system lets the RLX owner gain access to the vehicle without having to operate the key fob or conventional key. The Smart Entry remote has a unique digital identity and the RLX can be unlocked when the driver grabs one of the door handles (front doors only on the RLX and RLX with Navigation) while the remote is in his/her possession. When carrying the fob (or if all doors are unlocked), the trunk can be opened by pressing a button located on the RLX’s rear fascia.
Once the driver has opened the door and is seated, the Smart Entry system allows the RLX to be started by pushing the Engine Start/Stop button positioned on the instrument panel. When leaving the car, a press of the soft-touch button on the exterior door handle locks all the doors. Alternatively, pressing the Lock button on the Smart Entry remote will also simultaneously lock all doors.
Smart Entry also features a unique “quick vent” feature. When the operator depressed the “unlock” button on the keyless remote for two seconds after unlocking the doors, the system lowers all four windows and opens the power moonroof to quickly vent built-up interior heat. In addition, by inserting the built-in key into the driver’s door lock and holding the key in the “lock” position, all open windows can be simultaneously raised.
Adaptive Cruise Control with Low-Speed Follow
The Acura RLX Sport Hybrid Advance features Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) with Low-Speed Follow. This vehicle speed and distance control system uses a grill-mounted millimeter-wave radar to monitor the distance between the RLX and the vehicle directly ahead. Like a conventional cruise control system, the ACC system can maintain a preset speed. In addition, by combining radar data with data from speed sensors, ACC can regulate the RLX’s speed to maintain a preset following distance interval.
The Low-Speed Follow feature can reduce the driver workload in congested traffic by maintaining a selected distance interval, even in stop and go traffic. If a vehicle detected ahead is in range of the system and slows to a stop, the RLX will also come to a stop. When the vehicle ahead moves forward, the vehicle icon on the multi-information display blinks. With a press of the RES/+/SET/- switch up or down, or with a press of the accelerator pedal, the RLX will resume Low-Speed Follow mode.