2014 Acura RLX with All-Wheel Steer

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2014 Acura RLX with All-Wheel Steer

Post by Perpetuus » Sun Jun 23, 2013 5:17 pm

I have driven the new RLX briefly only, but will have it from July 5th to July 7th. Let me know if there is anything you guys want to see!

This one is FWD only, but has "Precision All-Wheel Steer", so the rear wheels steer during cornering.

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Re: 2014 Acura RLX with All-Wheel Steer

Post by six » Sun Jun 23, 2013 6:11 pm

Your impressions on the audio system will be greatly appreciated :)
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Re: 2014 Acura RLX with All-Wheel Steer

Post by Bill B » Mon Jun 24, 2013 10:17 am

I may be wrong, but didn't the early to mid 90's Honda Prelude have All-Wheel Steer.
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Re: 2014 Acura RLX with All-Wheel Steer

Post by Perpetuus » Mon Jun 24, 2013 12:25 pm

You are correct. However, this system on the RLX allows the left and right rear wheels to steer in the same or opposite directions. Because of this, you can get active toe-out, toe-in, or simply rear steering operation that reduces the turning circle of the car.
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Re: 2014 Acura RLX with All-Wheel Steer

Post by tankinbeans » Mon Jun 24, 2013 4:50 pm

The beak is slowly being pared off of the front end, and for that I am grateful.

All wheel steering would be interesting, but I wonder if it feels different. I've never dealt with it and don't quite understand what it would do.
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Re: 2014 Acura RLX with All-Wheel Steer

Post by Perpetuus » Tue Jun 25, 2013 6:05 pm

All wheel steer is an interesting technology. Two of its main advantages are: it allows the car to negotiate smaller turning circles than its footprint suggests, and it increases lane change and cornering stability.

The all wheel steer system in the RLX is different than conventional all wheel steer systems in the 90's. This one consists of two actuators (one on each rear wheel), giving it the additional benefit of increasing straight line stability under braking and acceleration, and precise and minute adjustments of the rear wheels.

The new Porsche 911 GT3 also uses a all-wheel steer system. The engineer described the system to be a major performance enhancement. In most cars, the tires reach their steady grip limit before the rears when carving into corners. This is felt as a lag in the lean of the chassis in the front vs. the rear. Most people feel this as the rear of the car leaning slower than the front. Cars cannot maintain steady grip until both front and rear of the car has finished leaning into a corner. All wheel steer systems reduce the lag of the weight transfer on the front vs. rear end of the car, making handling more precise, predictable, and negotiating corners sharper and quicker.

Unfortunately, I do not have a GT3 to test.
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Re: 2014 Acura RLX with All-Wheel Steer

Post by Squint » Mon Jul 01, 2013 4:17 pm

Giving this a bump to remind myself to check for a review in a few days :lol:
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Re: 2014 Acura RLX with All-Wheel Steer

Post by Perpetuus » Thu Jul 04, 2013 8:00 pm

I got the car for earlier than expected testing this week. Some pics for now ;)

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Re: 2014 Acura RLX with All-Wheel Steer

Post by Squint » Fri Jul 05, 2013 1:35 pm

Well, I certainly like the looks of it. Not as pointy as some of the other Acuras. Serious question, how can I get your job? :D
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Re: 2014 Acura RLX with All-Wheel Steer

Post by Perpetuus » Tue Jul 09, 2013 9:30 pm

Squint wrote:Well, I certainly like the looks of it. Not as pointy as some of the other Acuras. Serious question, how can I get your job? :D
Honestly, there are so few jobs in my department right now. You will have to wait until somebody retires or becomes terminally ill!
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Re: 2014 Acura RLX with All-Wheel Steer

Post by Perpetuus » Tue Jul 09, 2013 10:37 pm

2014 Acura RLX Elite - Review

Part I


I remember the Acura Legend of the early 90s fondly. Though I have never driven or sat in one, it was a unique car and had a special character to it whenever they drive by on the road. The seats looked nice and plush, and despite being a luxury car, it had a sleek body and relatively low roof height- both telltale signs of a great handling car. I suppose it carried the Honda DNA from the other models in that era.

When the Acura RL came out, it was not as exciting. The bodywork was rounded, but not very aggressive, and not especially elegant. However, it had the SH-AWD system, or “Super-Handling” all wheel drive, which will essentially let you drive faster through corners with your foot on the gas. SH-AWD functions by distributing more torque to the outside wheels. In the most basic simplification, imagine power being delivered to the outside wheels only in a corner. By doing this, the combined vehicular steering and torque on the outside wheels pulls the car into the corner harder and with more speed, right up until the point where the tires’ traction limits are exceeded. Of course, SH-AWD does not work when you take your foot off the gas pedal though.

Because the RL was very similar to the TL, but commanded a much higher price tag, few people bought it. In all honesty, the distinction in terms of technological enhancements and “visible” features was not large enough to sway buyers towards the more expensive RL.

Then came the RLX, which I recently driven. This car is special to Acura because it is a flagship product, and showcases the best of Honda/Acura engineering. In terms of styling, the RLX distinguishes itself well from the other models (at least for now) with its jewel-eye LEDs – essentially 8 LED lights per side for headlights. Just like the new Accord, these LED headlights are sufficiently bright to illuminate the road at night, and has fully replaced halogen and xenon headlamps. Currently, there is only a front-wheel drive version of the RLX.
In terms of the main special or new features to the RLX, they are:
-Precision All-Wheel Steer, also known as “P-AWS”
-LED headlamp clusters, known as “Jewel-Eye LEDs”
-Acura-Link infotainment and remotely-assisted in-vehicle services
-Krell audio system
-Adaptive cruise control system
-Lane-Keep system
-Collision mitigation braking system.

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Driving Impressions
The RLX I had the chance to test drive was the RLX Elite, which came with heated and cooled front seats, a Krell audio system, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, blind spot information system, and AcuraLink connectivity and concierge service, and collision mitigation braking system. All of these are extra features not available on the base RLX model. Actually, I am quite glad that the RLX now starts at a much more reasonable $50,000 in Canada, with standard LED headlamps and all wheel steering. This is an excellent departure from the $65,000 price tag of the previous generation RLX.

Upon driving the car, the all-wheel steering system makes its operation known to you, and is apparent at low speeds mostly. Particularly, after negotiating a turn, you can easily feel the rear end of the vehicle steering as you straighten out the steering wheel. This feature significantly reduced the turning circle of the vehicle, as well as increases the stability during high speed cornering or lane change manoeuvers. Since the rear wheel steering system is operated using individual actuators on each rear wheel, any combination of toe-in, toe-out, and steering (both in and out-of phase with the front wheels) are possible. I experimented by tilting the side mirrors down to monitor the steer angle of the rear wheels while parking, but could not see any visible change in the steering angles. In any case, the steering angle of the rear wheels are only several degrees, and no doubt a very small but effective contribution to the car’s handling. However, I am curious if the rear wheel steering was intentionally made to be discernible by the driver and passengers, as Porsche’s new 911 GT3 comes equipped with the same functionality, but is completely transparent to the driver.

The new 3.5 litre direct injection V6 is very smooth in the RLX. It is rated at 310 hp and 272 lb-ft of torque. For the average driver of this car, there is absolutely no problem getting that grip to the road. However, the rules of physics still come into play, allowing you to break loose the front wheels easily if you intend to accelerate full-throttle off the line.
In terms of handling, the car does have some understeer built in for safety for the average driver. The cornering attitude of this car is also very smooth and flat, with minimal body lean, as expected for a luxury car. The RLX also comes with a Sport and Normal mode for the transmission. Switching the driving mode to Sport will put the transmission in one gear lower than necessary, and hold it there for an unknown amount of time. For example, the car decided to select 5th gear on the highway, but switched back to 6th gear after an indefinite amount of time.
The Lane-Keep Assist System is exactly what it sounds like. Once switched ON, the car will track the bounding lane markers within which your car is driving using lasers. The system is functional only above approximately 80 km/h, or 50 MPH. With the system ON, the car will automatically counter-steer for you if it detects that you are departing your lane. The experience was similar to playing a game of Pong with the steering wheel.

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Adaptive Cruise Control is also a nice feature. It will automatically accelerate, brake, and maintain your set speed for you. Drivers are able to select the distance they wish to keep in front of their car by selecting one, two, or three car lengths on the display. For the most part, the system functions well. However, it is on the slow side.
In fact, by switching ON both the Lane-Keep Assist and the Adaptive Cruise Control, the car will essentially drive itself and steer itself around corners too. The caveat is that the lane-keep system will not react fast enough to sharper turns, and will overshoot the corner. The adaptive cruise control, as I mentioned before, is nice, but not always smooth in its braking and acceleration; which is not fitting for a luxury car like this one. I said you can “almost” let the car drive itself because the car will know that you do not have your hands on the steering wheel, and will complain.

Interior

The interior of the RLX I drove was a nice beige, almost white colour. I must say that it was very nice and gives a sense of openness to the car. Trim pieces were a combination of a metallic and wood grain look and look good overall. For both front driver and passenger, the seats are heated AND cooled in presets of 3, whereas the rear passengers both receive heated seats. I don't drive a luxury car as my daily driver, but the electric rear sunshade and the manual rear passenger window shades were excellent creature comforts to have. A first for Acura (or any other auto manufacturer for that matter) is the Krell audio system. Playing back some of my CDs proved that it is excellent indeed, with excellent bass, mid-range, and treble details. I do not have another luxury car to compare as a base point, but I can safely say that the audio quality surpasses that of the other Acura and Honda offerings.

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Although the RLX features many new features for Acura, most of the technology is made simplistic and hidden from view to relieve the driver of distractions. The left hand side of the dashboard to the left of the steering wheel is where many of the features can be activated or deactivated. These include: LDW (Lane Departure Warning), Headlight Cleaning System, Parking Sensors, Traction Control, and CMBS (Collision Mitigation Braking System).

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AcuraLink

AcuraLink is one of the hidden features of the car. Essentially, it is a vehicle connectivity and convenience feature added to the car.

For example, hitting the AcuraLink button allows you to talk to a live agent to have him/her assist you in finding an address, a coffee shop, or other destinations. Once you have chosen your destination with the agent on the phone, the address will be automatically downloaded to the car for immediate navigation. I attempted to find a coffee shop, and the agent was able to quickly search for a location of my choice and download the address to my GPS. The entire process with the agent was very quick. However, the time required to dial up to the AcuraLink service and to wait for the agent was slightly longer. I expect this delay to be reduced in the future as the process and technology matures. One interesting feature of AcuraLink is that the agent can book dinner reservations on your behalf at a restaurant of your choice, tell you the weather, etc. In many ways, it was like having Siri by your side, but with a much wider range of convenience features.

AcuraLink also features the ability to stream music to your car via Pandora Internet Radio (US only), or the AcuraLink "Streams" application in Canada. It will require an internet connection on your phone, but there are severeal built in features that differentiate it from simply using a music streaming app, including the ability to rate songs.

But, the most interesting part of AcuraLink is that the ability to remotely view the status of your car via your smartphone. You can view information such as lock/unlock status, odometer reading, fuel level, etc. You can also manually lock/unlock the car using the phone, or sound the horn, or flash the headlights, etc. During my tests, these features worked fine indeed, but were somewhat slow to respond.

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Overall, I think the price that this car is being offered at is very reasonable. The features that come with that price are very good, and is a good value for the money for someone looking for a relatively inexpensive luxury car. On the other hand, technology such as the adaptive cruise control and lane keep system are somewhat gimmicky. Although these systems function properly, they do not control the car with the grace that an owner of such an automobile would expect. Similar technology will be offered on the new MDX, which makes it a huge proposition to upgrade for most owners.
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Re: 2014 Acura RLX with All-Wheel Steer

Post by Perpetuus » Tue Jul 23, 2013 9:57 pm

Review Updated. Sorry for the delay again!
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Re: 2014 Acura RLX with All-Wheel Steer

Post by six » Wed Jul 24, 2013 3:39 am

Perpetuus wrote:A first for Acura (or any other auto manufacturer for that matter) is the Krell audio system. Playing back some of my CDs proved that it is excellent indeed, with excellent bass, mid-range, and treble details. I do not have another luxury car to compare as a base point, but I can safely say that the audio quality surpasses that of the other Acura and Honda offerings.
Thanks :)
Much appreciated.
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Re: 2014 Acura RLX with All-Wheel Steer

Post by Squint » Mon Aug 12, 2013 2:00 pm

Perpetuus wrote:Review Updated. Sorry for the delay again!
Nice review. Enjoyed it.
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Re: 2014 Acura RLX with All-Wheel Steer

Post by bk7794 » Sun Oct 13, 2013 10:48 am

I'm interested knowing about those jewel headlights. How was the light coverage and all that?
.

Mostly because I find Acuras have some of the hardest to deal with Xenon headlights. Not sure if it's something in how they are aimed but when they drive behind me I feel like they have their high beams on but when they pass the road coverage isn't all that much further than my low beams.
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