Over the summer I had the opportunity to drive and listen to the Acura RLX in its ‘normal’ form. But now you have the option of adding RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD. And man there is a lot going on!
The RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD system uses a total of three electric motors. In front, there is a single 35-kilowatt (47-horsepower) motor-generator integrated with the seven-speed dual clutch transmission that boosts engine performance and helps recharge the vehicle’s lithium-ion battery pack via regenerative braking and engine-powered electricity generation. In the rear, there is a Twin Motor Unit (TMU) containing two 27-kilowatt (36-horsepower) electric motors that dynamically distribute electric-motor torque to the rear wheels, providing both positive and negative (regenerative braking) torque to aid performance and handling.
So you have your V6 up front, an electric motor inline with the engine, and two little motors on the rear wheels — and a lot of computer horsepower orchestrating the whole works. The payoff is supposed to be four-cylinder efficiency with amazing handling thanks to the torque vectoring of the rear wheel motor units that can power up the two rear wheels independently of what is going on with the rest of the drivetrain. EPA fuel-economy is given as rating of 28/32/30 MPG (city/highway/combined).
The RLX also makes extensive use of advanced materials, including aluminum and high-strength steel, to minimize vehicle weight while increasing body stiffness and rigidity. High-strength steels comprise 55% of the body, with ultra-high strength steel used in key areas for enhanced collision performance, as illustrated in narrow frontal offset and side impact crash safety and roof strength tests. 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, and safety performance.
Of course, the hybrid systems add about 300 pounds to the works so saving in other areas makes sense. We’ll put our names in the hat to try one one out. I think somewhere out there L.J.K. Setright is looking down wishing to review one and compare it to one of Franck Mueller’s Master of Complicationstimepieces.