We’re not going to lie, the sales figures for the Acura RLX have been decreasing since its introduction in 2013, however, the brand has been doing what it can to spruce up the technology and look of its flagship sedan over the past few years.
The RLX has always been a bit of an odd duckling in the line-up, especially the Sport Hybrid variant, which interestingly shares the same powertrain architecture as the NSX. So we figured we’ll put the sales statistics aside and take a closer look at this “sporty hybrid” and see if it really is a luxury four-door supercar.
A sporty hybrid? That doesn’t make sense
Using the words “sport” and “hybrid” in the same sentence is quite the oxymoron, however, Acura bravely treaded the waters when it introduced the RLX Sport Hybrid alongside its gasoline-only counterpart. The RLX Sport Hybrid uses a 3.5-liter V6 engine, which produces 310 horsepower, which is mated to a 47-horsepower electric motor housed inside the seven-speed automatic transmission.
What makes the system unique is that there is a 36-horsepower motor powering each of the rear wheels. Each motor can increase or decrease torque during cornering which in turn aids with steering the car via torque vectoring. The complete powertrain produces 377 combined horsepower.
If you switch the engine to the rear of the car and put the dual motors on the front wheels, you get the drivetrain setup used in the NSX. All this tech makes sense for a supercar, but admittingly, it’s a little overkill for a luxury sedan.
A supercar, it is not
With almost 400-horsepower under the hood and Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) putting the power to the pavement, one would think this would be a recipe for a sedan sleeper. But at 4400 pounds, the RLX Sport Hybrid is only decently quick in a straight line (0-60 in 5.5 seconds) and is a little soft in the corners. In Car and Driver’s review of the 2018 Acura RLX Sport Hybrid, they mentioned that the “sedan’s lack of adjustable dampers yields less suspension latitude than almost every car in its segment, the package being more at home absorbing freeway frost heaves than it is clipping apexes.”
Still a luxury car
So it’s not a supercar, but the RLX Sport Hybrid does shine in other places. After all, it is built to be a luxury sedan that highlights Acura’s latest and greatest features. Along with the Jewel Eye LED headlights and Diamond Pentagon grille, the mid-cycle refresh included a new Traffic Jam assist feature to coincide with the adaptive cruise control (along with a host of other driver-assist features). The interior is a nice place to be on the daily drive. The seats are adorned with soft Milano leather and almost every surface is soft to the touch. It’s very well-crafted and it also comes with all the power amenities you would expect from a luxury brand.
Is the RLX Sport Hybrid worth buying?
At $62,325 (including the destination), the Acura RLX Hybrid does command a price tag that is on par with its competitors, like the Mercedes E-Class and Audi A6. It compares well with other vehicles in the segment and provides a good value for those shopping in that category. However, if you’re looking for a comfortable sedan that can propel you and your family in supercar style, then you might want to look elsewhere.