It all started way back in 1986 when the original Acura Legend bowed to rave reviews in America. It was the first Japanese luxury sedan, and it was awesome. Quick, roomy, sexy and reliable as hell. Over the years, the Legend lost its awesome name, as well as sales prowess, changing to the RL and then the RLX, where its name is parked today.  

Sales of the current RLX have been tepid, to say the least, having moved a mere 1,478 cars in 2016, when the Germans sell in the tens of thousands of units of the BMW 5-Series and the Mercedes E-Class. Now, the RLX aims higher with a significant redesign in hopes that it will gain a more secure foothold in the already suffering sedan segment. Will it ever be as good as the Legend? Too much time may have passed for the car to have as much impact, but it could truly be good again.

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Though most folks probably don't even know what the last generation RLX looked like, the new car is definitely an improvement that's more attractive and less vanilla than the outgoing model. The prominent "diamond pentagon" grille from the Acura Precision Concept is front and center, flanked by big "jewel eye" headlights with L-shaped daytime running lights. The hood is far more sculpted than before, giving the car more drama, a much-needed change. 

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The new RLX will come in two distinct flavors, the 310 horsepower RLX with Precision All-Wheel Steer (P-AWS) and the 377 horsepower RLX Sport Hybrid with Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD). The standard RLX uses a gas 3.5-liter direct-inject V6, and the Sport Hybrid model adds three electric motors just like the new MDX Sport Hybrid that's already on sale.

The Sport Hybrid is powered at all four wheels via 7-speed dual clutch transmission, while the base RLX drives only the front wheels through a 10-speed automatic transmission. The RLX Sport Hybrid should prove to be Acura's fastest sedan ever, borrowing tech from the superb NSX supercar.

acura legend
The original 1986 Acura Legend is where it all started.  Will the new RLX be this good?

The RLX Sport Hybrid gets a ton of standard features such as a 360-degree surround view camera, a premium Krell Audio System, parking sensors, LED fog lights, remote engine start, heated and cooled front seats, and heated rear seats and steering wheel. The interior of the new RLX keeps with the twin-screen setup and gets new, heavily bolstered seats, as well as a more dramatic, curved center stack.

rlx taillight

The RLX comes optional with the AcuraWatch suite of safety tech that comes with automatic emergency braking, lane keeping assist, lane departure warnings, forward collision warnings, adaptive cruise control, and low-speed follow. It also includes a neat feature known as traffic jam assist. that operates with the adaptive cruise and low speed follow to keep the new RLX moving through heavy traffic and following at a set speed. 

rlx cabin

The new RLX should arrive later this year or early in 2018, and pricing information should also be forthcoming in the 4th quarter of 2017. 

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