2011 Acura RL

2011 Acura RL

Acura introduced a slightly revised version of its RL flagship sedan for the 2011 model year but there’s no denying that the car is seriously starting to showing its age, having been on the market since 2004.

A successor is promised, with reports on its development dating back all the way to 2008, but now we have some official spiel on just exactly what Acura has planned.

Speaking with Inside Line, Acura officials confirmed that the replacement for the RL would debut at the 2012 New York Auto Show in April before going on sale before the end of the year as a 2013 model.

While the car may drop its RL name, it will remain Acura’s flagship sedan and will even grown in size compared to today’s version. The officials said it will offer BMW 7-Series interior space but with the driving dynamics of the smaller 5-Series.

Two drivetrain options will be on offer: a standard V-6 or a V-6 matched with a hybrid-based SH-AWD (super-handling all-wheel drive) system. Fuel efficiency of the hybrid system is said to be comparable with a four-cylinder engine while performance is said to be on par with a V-8.

As previewed at the recent 2011 Tokyo Motor Show, the hybrid system relies on a 3.5-liter V-6 matched to a seven-speed dual clutch transmission and integrated electric motor to drive one axle and two more electric motors to drive the opposing axle. A high-performance version of this hybrid all-wheel drive setup will feature in the replacement for the Acura NSX supercar.

What hasn’t been mentioned is the fate of the Acura TSX and TL. The most likely scenario will see the TSX and TL replaced by a single model serving as Acura’s mid-level sedan, followed by the RL replacement as its flagship and the Honda Civic-based ILX as the brand’s entry-level sedan.

Stay tuned for an update.