2011 Acura RL Preview

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The current-generation Acura RL has been on the market since late 2004 and since then has only undergone one major facelift to keep it looking fresh amongst a sea of strong competitors. In 2011 that same car is soldiering on, receiving only minor updates to keep it ticking until a replacement arrives--if at all.

The 2011 Acura RL makes do with a new Sequential SportShift six-speed automatic transmission, which is still matched to a 3.7-liter V-6 with 300 horsepower and 271 pound-feet of torque. The transmission features a new multi-clutch torque converter that not only has a higher maximum torque rating, but also has a new converter lock-up assembly, which helps improve acceleration and fuel economy. Acura claims a fuel economy rating of 17/24 mpg city/highway and 20 mpg for the combined figure--an improvement of 2 mpg over the 2010 model.

Drive is sent to all four wheels via the sophisticated Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) system, which utilizes torque vectoring to help the RL turn more effectively while under power. This in turn reduces the cornering load on the front tires, minimizing understeer and improving handling and grip.

Setting apart the 2011 model from previous year cars is a new grille and some different wheel designs. Inside, ambient noise is reduced thanks to the first-ever use of a unique resonator wheel technology, an acoustic glass windshield and increased use of insulation in the floorboard. Leather trimmed seats are standard, as are 10-way adjustable seats for the driver and front passenger. 

The resonator noise reducing wheel uses a polypropylene Helmholtz resonator that encircles the center portion of the inside of the wheel. Such resonator wheel technology significantly lowers middle frequency noise (between 100 and 500 hertz). Combined with the added use of insulation material on the floorboard areas of the RL, there is a 1.3 dB reduction in interior noise--which translates to a 15 percent improvement in ambient noise.

Other standard goodies on the base RL include 18-inch wheels, Bluetooth connectivity, a Bose 10-speaker stereo, dual-zone climate control, a power moonroof and infotainment display screen.

From here, two additional trim packages are available: RL with Technology Package and RL with Advance Package. This latter package includes Acura's Collision Mitigation Braking System, which can detect if a car ahead is too close and can either warn the driver or apply the car’s brakes automatically.

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Comments (5)
  1. Wow, they managed to make the Acura bird beak grille even uglier. This car is a snoozer. Looks like a mid-1990s Buick. I think Acura's average age on their buyers just went up by 10 or 15 years.

  2. Honda is having a midlife crisis. There is no strategy nor conviction in their designs, and no roadmap for Acura. If your flagship is floundering, there's a good chance the rest of the lineup is, too.

  3. I was gonna say something incredibly harsh, but rich & R2Dad pretty much both summed up what I was gonna say in better choices of words! Rest.In.Pieces, Acura! Die Already!

  4. Acura sales are up this year, even the RL believe it or not. They are not going anywhere anytime soon. As long as they continue to sell, they will not bend to the whims of enthusiasts unfortunately ...

  5. Although what the first two gentleman said was without an analytical point of view; their statements were not far from the truth HONDA/ACURA needs to hire new automotive design engineers for the mechanical enginuity alone will not suffice when companies such as Kia/Hyundai are now being compared to much more sophisticated vehicles. I purchase Acura's because they are excellent vehicles; however in the future that may change.

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