This rich luxury sedan comes delivered from the factory so nicely appointed that any driver will be lavishly outfitted for any excursion imaginable. The Acura RL comes with a slew of stuff: 300 hp 3.7 liter VTEC V 6 motor stock, Super Handling All Wheel Drive, aka SH AWD, and the nonmandatory Acura Navigation System with AcuraLink realtime weather and traffic. With all this said, power and precision is expected. The RL comes with one of the strongest engines in the mid-size four door sedan market: the 3.7 liter VTEC V6 that makes 271 lb ft of torque and 300 horsepower while still getting 22 miles per gallon on the highway and 16 mpg in lousy slow stop-and-go traffic in the city. Honda’s race proven variable valve timing and electronic lift control VTEC system is included in this already technologically advanced motor.
The VTEC system uses engine speed to determine the optimal timing and lift of the motor’s 24 valves. VTEC is the nickname for Honda’s Variable Valve Timing and Electronic Lift Control system. It does not compromise any low end torque and still provides the high end boost of power when VTEC kicks in. Instead of having a normal static set of cams, the VTEC system varies the duration of the intake and exhaust valves at different RPMs to extract the most power out of the motor in the most efficient manor. The intake manifold system is also two staged which is just another example of how Acura is staying ahead of the competition by incorporating leading edge auto technology into their cars. VTEC effectively provides low end power for city driving and high end power for those times when it’s needed.
Programmed Fuel Injection
This system delivers gasoline to the motor with precision to maximize efficiency.
Drive by Wire
This modern throttle takes advantage of technology to provide a smoother drive. The RL’s drive by wire throttle was derived from Acura Racing so it delivers the power in a smooth manner in all types of driving situations. Employing sensors to collect data, the computer takes in all the variables into consideration before transforming the driver’s input into actual throttle plate movement. There is no need for throttle cables or linkages in the 2011 Acura RL.
The lightweight motor contributes to fuel efficiency and aids in cornering because of the weight savings.
To make the driver’s life easier, Acura included paddle shifters on the steering wheel for effortless sequential shifting. The RL comes with a smart transmission equipped with grade logic control so it knows what gear to select since it knows when the car is on a steep incline or decline. A truly nice feature of the paddle shifters is that they are always active, even while in D. The driver can hit the paddle to downshift for instant power and the automatic transmission will still kick in after the computer has detected that conditions are normal again. One can select the S mode to extract the full potential out of the Acura RL. The engine is allowed to rev higher in this mode and more importantly the driver is in full control of the vehicle and is responsible for all upshifts and downshifts. The S mode gives the driver the option of being active and D allows the person to be passive.
The Super Handling All Wheel Drive system on the Acura RL provides total control in severe weather conditions. The ability to control all four wheels is far superior to any front wheel drive or rear wheel drive system when traction is necessary. The only way to deliver this type of performance and traction is to constantly monitor a bunch of on board sensors and then to make changes as they are needed. One factor that is determined by the Acura SHAWD system is power distribution. The motor’s power can be distributed to the front, rear, or all wheels as necessary for ever changing road and weather conditions. This All Wheel Drive system can even spin individual wheels at different rates to compensate for over steer or under steer situations. By integrating yaw sensors, the RL’s AWD system is a drastic improvement over traction control alone. The result of this Acura’s engineering efforts are apparent when driving the RL.
Power distribution between the left and right rear wheels of the drivetrain is determined by special electromagnetic clutches that can control the power to each wheel independently within milliseconds. The maximum amount of engine power that can be put to the front wheels is 70%, and this typically only happens when the car is going straight. Extreme acceleration is dealt with by transferring up to 45% of the RL’s power to the rear wheels. While this holds true for straight line performance, the SH AWD system can even put up to 70% of the power to the rear, after which the electromagnetic clutches can distribute that power to one or both wheels as deemed necessary.
The Direct Yaw Control system is an integral component in the SH-AWD RL that enables the car to destroy the corners. It does so by making the rear outside wheel turn a little bit quicker, up to 6% quicker, than the average of the two front wheels. This helps keep the vehicle on the intended trajectory by lightening the lateral load on the two front tires as the RL rotates into the curve with ease.
Most of the suspension starts with lightweight forged aluminum components which lower shock from road bumps because of the overall unsprung weight savings. The RL utilizes a multi link rear suspension mated with a double wishbone front suspension which is all mounted up to an already light weight aluminum sub-frame. Acura engineers aimed to make the RL feel linear with the front suspension design. The rear suspension features geometry that fights dipping during braking. 4 piston aluminum brake caliper 12.6 inch disc brakes are up front and 12.2 inch single piston discs are in the back.