Acura’s flagship luxury sedan is getting a stylish new look and supercar tech

  • Acura RLX Sport Hybrid
    The Acura RLX Sport Hybrid (Center) Acura

    The 2018 Acura RLX gets refreshed sheet metal and updated tech.

  • RLX Sport Hybrid features drive technology derived from NSX supercar.
  • The 2018 RLX goes on sale in November.

On Thursday, Acura unveiled the fresh new look that will adorn the brand’s updated 2018 RLX sedan.

The new sheet metal will see Acura’s flagship sedan do away with its controversial front grille affectionately known as the “chrome beak”.

Instead, the RLX will get a new”diamond Pentagon” grille derived from the front fascia of the Acura Precision Concept introduced at the 2016 Detroit Auto Show.

The new grille design has also been adopted by the TLX sedan and the MDX SUV.

In addition to the new grille, the RLX will also boast a more sculpted hood, more aggressive LED taillights, and a new gloss black diffuser.

“This redesign of the 2018 Acura RLX is transformational, creating road presence and styling that better reflect underlying performance capabilities of the vehicle,” Acura vice president and general manager, Jon Ikeda, said in a statement.

Acura RLX

For 2018, the RLX will be available in two flavours.

The base RLX’s six-speed automatic transmission has been replaced by a new 10-speed unit that’s tuned for improved refinement and better driving dynamics. The 310 horsepower, 3.5-litre V6 engine carries over with standard four-wheel-steering.

And then there’s the RLX Sport Hybrid with Super Handling All-Wheel-Drive or RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD for short. Here, the 3.5 litre V6 is backed up by a hybrid drive system with technology taken directly from the award-winning NSX supercar. (The Acura NSX is Business Insider’s 2016 Car of the Year.)

That means 377 horsepower from a V6 engine with a torque-assist electric motor and a pair of electric drive motors bolted to the rear wheels.

Acura RLX Sport Hybrid
Acura Hybrid tech. Acura

The RLX will be available with a stellar Krell audio system and surround view cameras along with a host of safety features including adaptive cruise control, traffic jam assist, and road departure mitigation.

The Acura RLX debuted during the 2014 model year as the spiritual successor to the brand’s beloved Legend sedan. However, the RLX’s bland styling and uninspired driving dynamics have made for tepid sales and little interest from the brand’s loyalists.

Hopefully, the stylish new looks and NSX supercar-derived tech will help the RLX drum up more interest in the showroom and among enthusiasts.

Acura RLX

The 2018 Acura RLX and RLX Sport Hybrid will make their official debut next week at the Monterey Automotive Week and will hit showrooms in November.

Acura has not announced official pricing the sedans. However, expect the standard RLX to start at around $US55,000, while the Sport Hybrid will cost around $US60,000.