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The 2015 RLX is a polite, well-composed premium sedan, a contender in the ring with the Cadillac XTS and Lincoln MKS—without being overtly stylish or brash. That's despite new safety gear, and a superb handling and all-wheel-drive package that make it a nimble performer.
The RLX is Acura's flagship sedan; but it's not the sort of car that screams for attention and recognition. It doesn't feel like a car for extroverts, even though its performance is impressive and satisfying. It's one of the more subtle luxury cars, with an understated design and an interior that's relatively free of gimmickry—and that altogether, we think, makes the RLX an intriguing outlier in the market.
The design game of many cars in this price category has been stepped up lately. Take, for example, the Audi A7 or Jaguar XF. Even Cadillac's XTS, a big front-drive-based sedan like the RLX, has a look all its own.
That doesn't mean it'll appear on any runway. The RLX has the right stance and proportions, and even the BMW-inspired roofline is different enough to avoid being called a copycat. The rest is subtle and graceful, from the LED headlights and curves stamped over the front wheels, to the LED taillights in back. The RLX's smooth roofline and somewhat aggressively stance are attractive, but not entirely groundbreaking.
The front-drive RLX's automatic transmission nets shift paddles and a sport shift mode, but it's still a six-speed like the RL used. Upshifts are very smooth, while downshifts can be less invisible. Competitors at the top of the category are already moving over to 8-speed automatics, as is the Chrysler 300. The ZF 8-speed used in other is a good example, and we think a tightly packed set of gear ratios could help the RLX run off the line faster.
As for the gas mileage benefits of more gears, the RLX doesn't need much help. It's estimated at 20/31 mpg, or 24 mpg combined with front-wheel drive, near the Chrysler's numbers with two fewer gears.
*This vehicle is Certified Pre-Owned and is eligible for our third party warranty program.