Matching more power with even higher levels of advanced technology, the 2014 Acura RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD made its world debut in Los Angeles. Destined to be the best-performing as well as the most fuel-efficient version of the automaker's flagship sedan, its list of innovations extends beyond the first application of Acura's trick 3-motor hybrid system to include an electronic gear selector as well as a new Head-Up Display.
Based on the conventional RLX, the new Sport Hybrid SH-AWD matches its primary gasoline engine with three electric motors to create a setup with 377 total horsepower. Its 310-horse/3.5-liter i-VTEC V6 with Variable Cylinder Management drives the front wheels via a new 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission while a 36.2-horse electric motor at each rear wheel creates a sophisticated four-corner drive system that can instantaneously deliver positive or negative torque to optimize traction and improve handling in real time. The motors at each wheel are fed by a 260-volt lithium-ion battery pack and work in concert with a third 47-horse motor integrated with the transmission that enhances the engine's torque to quicken acceleration. Like the rear motors, it also uses regenerative braking to help replenish battery charge on the fly. Beyond exceptional agility and control, the matchup allows the new RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD to earn 28 city/32 highway mpg ratings from the EPA as well as turn in 0-60 mph sprint times that Acura says will rival those of its V8 competitors.
In addition to its rev-matching capabilities and steering-wheel-mounted shifter paddles, the new transmission in this primo Acura also introduces an electronic gear selector. Console mounted, it replaces the conventional shift lever with a push button array that frees up space and allows the driver to choose Park/Drive/Reverse as well as Normal/Sport mapping modes. Final bit of new tech is an Acura Head-Up Display System the projects a variety of pertinent data on the windshield and includes a special mode for Sport Hybrid system operation.
No word yet on pricing, but the 2014 Acura RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD will come with the latest generation of AcuraLink cloud-based connectivity and offer all of the advanced comfort, convenience, safety and driver-assist features available on its conventional sibling.
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