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Acura RL

A limited-engagement affair.

No, Virginia, there is no such thing as a 2013 Acura RL. After allowing its flagship sedan to grow rather long in the tooth, Acura will roll out an all-new successor and rechristen it the RLX. Preliminary details are scarce, but Acura does promise the 2014 RLX will be offered in two forms. A front-wheel-drive RLX will offer a 310-hp V-6 and all-wheel steering. The all-wheel-drive model will use a new hybrid form of the company’s SH-AWD system, wherein the rear wheels are driven by electric motors instead of the engine. This new system, which Acura dubs Sport Hybrid SH-AWD, pairs a V-6 with a dual-clutch transmission and allegedly delivers 370 hp and an estimated 30 mpg on the EPA’s combined test cycle. Acura maintains that the 2014 RLX will be on sale in early 2013, but until that day arrives, the 2012 RL (pictured) remains the top dog of Acura’s passenger-car portfolio. Although it shares its engines, driveline, and several major dimensions with the lower-tier TL sedan, the RL feels a little more relaxed and comfortable. You’ll notice more body roll when it’s pushed hard but a more compliant ride quality during everyday driving.

COMPETITORS

BMW 5-series

Infiniti M

Lincoln MKS

Mercedes-Benz E-class

new for 2013

An all-new successor to the RL, the RLX, is expected to be in dealerships nationwide by early 2013.

SAFETY EQUIPMENT

Front, side, and side curtain air bags; ABS; traction and stability control; and active front head restraints are standard. Rear parking sensors and a rearview camera are included with the technology package. Radar-based cruise control and a collision-mitigating automatic braking system are lumped in with the advance package.

MPG

CITY 17

HWY 24

PRO

Nicely crafted interior

SH-AWD improves handling

All-new RLX on the horizon

CON

Not as refined as Germans

Showing its age

Dated navigation system

Base Price: $48,585 (2012 RL)

SPECIFICATIONS

DRIVE: 4-wheel

TRIM LEVEL: RL

BODY STYLE: Sedan, 5-passenger

ENGINE: 3.7L V-6, 300 hp, 271 lb-ft

TRANSMISSION: 6-speed automatic

PASSENGER VOLUME: 99.1 cu ft

CARGO SPACE: 13.8 cu ft

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