By JOE DUARTE, QMI AGENCY
\Acura continues its concept to reality story with the new RLX flagship sedan, expected in early 2013 and introduced as a near-ready concept at the New York International Auto Show in spring 2012.
Among its notable technologies is a new Sport Hybrid Super-Handling All-Wheel Drive system (SH-SH-AWD?), which uses three electric motors (one integrated into the transaxle and two playing off each other at the rear) to transform the front-drive platform into an all-wheel drivetrain.
The engine is an all-new 3.5-litre direct-injected VTEC V6 making 310-hp (and will be available in a front-drive RLX) controlled by a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic. The adaptation of the electric motors takes horsepower to a combined 370 hp, for what Acura calls V8 acceleration without giving up four-cylinder economy (the car is reported to achieve a rating of 7.8 litres per 100 km, combined).
The car rides on 20-inch forged aluminum wheels shod with 255/35 R20 high-performance tires and the front-drive RLX will reportedly receive an all-wheel steering system.
An all-new double wishbone front and multi-link rear suspension set-up benefits from Amplitude Reactive Dampers and electronic power steering to provide precise and intuitive handling control (Acura calls it Inomama or "at the will of the driver").
Part of the performance equation is an ultra-rigid and light body design, achieved through the use of high-strength steel in combination with aluminum.
Relatively the same size as the RL it replaces, the new RLX features a two-inch longer wheelbase and two-inch shorter front overhang, while width increases by approximately two inches to accommodate a wider track (by the same measure).
The car also features the debut of Acura's exclusive new Jewel Eye LED headlamps -- a dual-stacked array with a total of 10 separate high-intensity LED lamps, with ultra-reflective optical lenses and high-gloss trim, to combine powerful illumination with a highly distinctive, bright-eyed look.
Among the driving aids are front collision warning and mitigation, lane departure warning with lane-keep assist. Other safety features include seven air-bags -- front, front-side impact, side air curtains and driver's knee.
Inside, there's the usual array of Acura technologies, with dual LCD touchscreens for control over communications, navigation and infotainment systems, heating and ventilation and new voice-to-text messaging. The communications system is paired with AcuraLink to notify emergency services of an airbag deployment, stolen vehicle tracking, remote locking and unlocking, security alarm notification and a concierge service.
The sound system is an all-new, 14-speaker ultra premium version of the award winning ELS Surround sound system, with USB and AUX connectors, HD radio, Pandora internet radio and Bluetooth audio streaming. Both audio systems provide MP3 connectivity via USB along with integration of HD radio, Pandora internet radio interface and Aha Radio interface via Bluetooth smartphone pairing.
The Acura Navigation System features Voice Recognition and is paired with Bing for search functionality and features real-time traffic.
Acura RLX is electric in AWD - The Sudbury Star - Ontario, CA