Acura isn’t exactly a luxury car brand that rolls off the tongue when compared to the likes of Lexus, BMW and Mercedes. Honda keeps trying though, and part of its strategy unveiled at the 2012 New York Auto Show is to take its new RLX flagship sedan in a hybrid direction.
The new Acura RLX, which the company said it will launch at the beginning of 2013, sports a 3.5L, direct injected VTEC V-6 engine married to what the auto brand says is its “Sport Hybrid SH-AWD system.” This hybrid technology offering makes use of three electric motors that combine to generate over 370 horsepower. Paired with a seven-speed dual clutch transmission, it is said the RLX concept has an estimated EPA (city/highway/combined) rating of 30/30/30 mpg.
This isn’t the first time Acura has unveiled hybrid technology as a consideration – it earlier this year showcased ILX and NSX concepts using it – but now with the RLX concept showcasing hybrid as well, it looks as if the green car mantra is being given more serious thought.
What’s particularly interesting about the hybrid technology being used in the RLX, according to Acura, is the fact it is the same as what is being looked at for the more sporty NSX concept. The system “utilizes a front-mounted electric motor, located within the dual clutch transmission, and a unique dual electric motor drive unit with a bilateral torque adjustable control system to instantly generate negative or positive torque to the rear wheels during cornering.”
The RLX, besides the hybrid technology, offers up some other interesting features worth taking note of. These include 20-inch forged aluminum wheels, a dual-stacked array with a total of ten separate high-intensity LED lamps in the headlamps, lane assist, dual LCD touch screens for access to communications, navigation and infotainment technologies and a 14-speaker ultra premium audio system.
In terms of roll out schedule for Acura’s green cars, the Honda luxury auto brand plans that the 2013 ILX Hybrid sedans will drop in May, followed by a production RLX in early 2013. The NSX, meanwhile, will be produced in Ohio using domestically and globally sourced parts and launched within the next three years.