Like other auto junkies we’ve been eagerly anticipating Acura‘s 2015 re-release of the iconic NSX since the concept was revealed in 2012. The revival has been widely touted albeit considered long overdue, but diehard fans have celebrated the return to a well-packed V6 engine with Honda’s newly developed Sport Hybrid Super Handling All Wheel Drive. Last produced in 2005 and teased for a return as early as 2008, the NSX may seem like it’s still a long way off but never fear—the Sport Hybrid SH AWD tech will premiere in a second 2014 version of the RLX being released later this year.
We recently had the chance to drive the first 2014 RLX (sans SH AWD), the line’s flagship model and an impressively light ride disguised in just enough heft for a game-playing luxury sedan (they credit a longer wheelbase and wider cabin for giving the mid-sizer the largest backseat and best front and rear shoulder room in its class). The 2014 dropping in March 2013 debuts a number of interesting tech developments like the 10-light-source JewelEye LED headlights and Precision All-Wheel Steer, plus Krell audio systems and the next generation Acura Link connected car system with the perk of providing real-time traffic information in its multimedia control panel. Taken from the city to spin the RLX across the winding ribbon roads through northern Napa Valley we also made heavy use of the Lane Departure Warning and Lane Keeping Assist systems, though things improved as the afternoon progressed and the help, though a bit unsettling at first, was appreciated.
The new tech behind the Sport Hybrid SH AWD features a special system that places two electric motors at the front wheels while gas powers the rear. The motors work with a bilateral, adjustable control system which can instantly generate negative or positive torque to the front wheels during cornering for a nimble ride. At the same time, a powerful, next-generation VTEC® V-6 engine with direct-injection works with a dual clutch transmission with a built-in electric motor to create supercar acceleration while offering outstanding efficiency.
According to Acura their future is characterized by what’s been a longstanding tenet of the brand, which is thoughtful luxury and performance—listening to their drivers’ needs while addressing the increasingly important issue of fuel economy, sustainability and advanced technology. In the meantime, we’ll keep waiting for the NSX handling teaser in the 2014 RLX.