Next Acura RL Will Not Have Electric SH-AWD As Standard

Derek Kreindler
by Derek Kreindler
next acura rl will not have electric sh awd as standard

Today, TTAC was treated to what might be the first look at Acura’s newest flagship. While we saw renderings of the new car, we weren’t allowed to take photographs – but none of the information released was embargoed.

The look of the next RL can best be described as a current TL mated with a Hyundai Genesis. The overall design is still distinctly Acura, though the rear of the car has a very strong Hoffmeister kink and an overall profile similar to the Genesis or Equus, including a very short rear deck. The taillights echo the Buick Lacrosse – while it sounds unappealing on paper, the design as a whole is not unattractive, just extremely conservative.

The new car is said to be about the size of a 5-Series but with the interior space of a 7-Series. Powertrain details didn’t go much further beyond a V6 of undisclosed displacement, a 7-speed dual clutch gearbox and Acura’s SH-AWD system (previewed on the Accord prototype seen in the above photograph) that uses two electric motors in the rear rather than a mechanical linkage to deliver power to the rear wheels and vector torque amongst the left and right rear sides. Acura officials said that the system would not be standard on the new flagship, even though the new technology will be a showpiece for Acura’s new direction as a brand.

Unless Acura has some new super-secret RWD architecture that nobody knows about, the new flagship will have to have an FWD variant. Acura officials wouldn’t comment on the matter, so we’ll have to wait until April’s New York Auto Show for the definitive answer.

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  • Bushwack Bushwack on Jan 25, 2012

    Acura's only edge was SH-AWD. To now make it an option takes away from any glamour it had. Acura use to be a synonym for Luxury just as Lexus is and has maintained since 1990. If they are trying to tackle away 5 series sales, ain't gonna happen. This brand needs a complete enema. Its salvagable but get to it before it becomes the next Mazda premium brand...that wasn't.

  • Jkross22 Jkross22 on Jan 25, 2012

    Good Acura: Legend, Integra, NSX, gen 1 TL, MDX Bad Acura: everything else Want to know who the new Honda is? It's Hyundai and Kia. Honda, get your act together or Acura is toast in the next few years.

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    • IDANECK IDANECK on Jan 25, 2012 Definitely agree on the 2.5 model, but not necessarily the 3.2. The steering can get a bit loose, thanks to a early-generation variable-effort steering rack. But the longitudinal engine placement makes the car feel more balanced and also gives it a tighter turning radius. New shocks on mine, at 139000 miles, and it drives and handles very smoothly. The V6 still has some nice kick, but it could definitely use another gear. A good car, and it has earned that name because it was held up so well after all these years. I'd say it's a good Acura and a typical 90s era Honda.

  • PeugeotHound PeugeotHound on Jan 31, 2012

    After 3 Audis I bought a used '08 RL with 5,000 miles on it because I tired of the Audi repair bills. The RL lacks German solidity and prestige, but Acura has managed to build a comfortable luxury sedan that handles incredibly well without a nut busting suspension and fragile low-profile tires. With SH-AWD handling is neutral. In sharp turns you can stomp on the gas and feel the car pivot around the corner. Acura put a lot of thought into this car, whether it's the aluminum major body panels, dual-stage exhaust, 90-degree opening rear doors or aerodynamic flaps covering the suspension parts. Problem is, that stuff is hidden beneath a plain Jane exterior. The RL is about artful subtlety which, unfortunately, doesn't sell many cars in the luxury category. OK by me. I paid a lot less than for a used A6 or E Class, and I know it will be as reliable as a garden rake.