Acura Automobiles: 2014 Acura RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD: Body


Design Concept
Bristling with technological advances in lighting, aerodynamics and construction, the 2014 RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD body has the technology to match its athletic and sophisticated design. Lightweight and aerodynamic, the body provides outstanding collision protection, confidence-inspiring high-speed stability, and exceptional fuel efficiency.

The RLX’s dynamic body design combines a sleek overall shape, “aero-fused” cabin silhouette, and close tolerances for the wheel wells and body-panel gaps for a high degree of elegance and aerodynamics. The styling begins with a dynamic front-end featuring the RLX’s signature Jewel Eye™ LED headlights, a substantial presence that imparts a look of power and confidence, while also proving highly aerodynamically efficient, providing powerful down the road illumination and even encompassing advanced pedestrian safety features.

Decisive character lines start alongside the hood, sweep over the front wheel arches, and then along the body sides. The body sides feature decisive character lines that subtly rise along the lower body sides, dramatically changing the light reflections and creating an especially dynamic visual signature for the RLX.

This athletic and sophisticated look is complemented by a flowing, aerodynamically sleek cabin design. Referred to by Acura designers as an “aero fused shape,” the cabin is wide but also extremely aerodynamic, allowing both a roomy interior and a quiet ride quality as air slips smoothly over the cabin’s flush-mounted available acoustic glass and other drag- and turbulence-reducing design details.

The wheel-arch hems use a much smaller gap to the tire than on the RL – and also a much smaller gap than is typical for the segment. This results in a more poised, integrated and finished look for the RLX side profile. The wheel-arch hems are also beautifully finished, adding to the sense of quality. Likewise, the hood, door and trunk-panel gaps are carefully controlled, with the aggregate effect that the RLX is immensely well crafted.

Beneath the vehicle is a sophisticated series of aerodynamic aids that further smooth airflow. These include an engine undercover, left and right floor covers, left and right mid under covers, and a rear under cover.

The rear of the RLX body is also dynamic, and here the cabin is noticeably wider than either of the outgoing RL or the RLX’s primary competitors, lending a look of soliditydue to the wider overall body and track widths.

Additional model-exclusive design cues for the RLX Sport Hybrid include a dark chrome-plated grill insert and redesigned lower front bumper fascia with integrated LED fog lights and turn signal indicators. The RLX Sport Hybrid has exclusive 19-inch, 10-spoke alloy wheels and “Hybrid” badging on the front fender. Also, SH-AWD badging replaces the P-AWS badge on the right rear portion of the trunk lid.

Seven different exterior colors, including four metallic and three pearl, are designed to complement the exterior shape and the way light defines it.

The RLX Sport Hybrid utilizes numerous aluminum components to lower the overall vehicle mass by 76 pounds, which helps to improve acceleration, steering and handling response, road-holding, braking performance, fuel efficiency, emissions, and crash safety. Aluminum components include the front and rear bumper beams, front fenders, hood, steering column mounting beam, floor pan, and door skins.

Exterior Dimensions
The 2014 RLX Sport Hybrid is larger than the previous RL model in several key exterior dimensions, including width, wheelbase, and front and rear track. In overall length, the RLX measures 196.1 inches – just 0.2 inches longer than the previous model; however its wheelbase, at 112.2 inches, is a full two inches longer, providing more rear passenger room and improved the ride quality.

At 74.4 inches wide, the RLX is a substantial 1.8 inches wider than the previous model, contributing to the RLX’s more spacious interior – now with an impressive 36.4 inches between seating rows – its more confident visual presence, and improved handling stability.

At 57.7 inches high, the RLX is just 0.4 inches taller than the model it replaces.

2014 RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWDS
2014 RLX with

2012 RL
Seating Capacity
EPA Passenger Volume (cu. ft.)
Cargo Volume (cu. ft.)
15.3/15.1 (Krell Audio and Advance packages)
Head Room (in.) Front/Rear
Leg Room (in.) Front/Rear
Shoulder Room (in.) Front/Rear
Hip Room (in.) Front/Rear
Length, in.
Width, in. (excluding door mirror)
Height, in.
Wheelbase, in.
Track, F/R, in.
Front overhang, in.
Rear overhang, in.

Among its competitive set, the new RLX is longer and wider than the Audi A6, BMW 5 Series, Lexus GS series, and Mercedes-Benz E-Class.

Competitor Summary
The chart below summarizes the RLX’s exterior dimensions compared to key competitors.

Waiting Status
When parked and locked, the folding exterior mirrors retract, the security alarm system is armed, and the RLX goes into standby mode, waiting for its owner to return. Then when the driver (in possession of the key fob) approaches the vehicle, it unlocks the driver’s door (or all doors if so programmed). When the driver opens the door to be seated, the RLX adjusts the seat and steering column to the preset positions, actives the instrumentation and sets the other features such as climate-control and audio-system presents to match the driver.

Body Rigidity
Static and dynamic rigidity and rear lateral stiffness are all improved versus the RL and even compared to the RL-X with P-AWS. Static bending rigidity is up 53 percent and torsional rigidity is up 47 percent compared to the previous RL model (1 percent up from the RLX with P-AWS). In addition, rear lateral stiffness and the torsional rigidity of the rear upper damper mounting points are up 107 percent and 63 percent, respectively, compared to the previous RL (and up 25 percent and 12 percent when compared to the RLX with P-AWS).

High-Strength Steel
To increase stiffness and rigidity in key areas without increasing weight, 55 percent of the RLX body is made from high-strength steel, including the strategic use of ultra-high strength “hot stamped” 1500Mpa steel

The percentages of different steel grades used in the RLX body include:

Hot Stamped Steel
Ultra-high strength “hot stamped” 1500 Mpa steel is used in key areas for enhanced safety collision performance, particularly in narrow offset, side impact and roof strength tests. The hot-stamp steel is used in these areas:

  • Side sills
  • Side roof
  • A pillar and roof edge to C pillar
  • B pillar

Aluminum Body Components
Extensive use of aluminum in key areas saves 76.1 pounds compared to traditional all-steel construction, providing high strength with light weight that directly benefits ride, handling, fuel efficiency, emissions reductions and safety. The biggest weight savings from a single component comes from the use of an aluminum hood, which saves 19.6 pounds compared to a steel hood. Aluminum body components include:

  • Hood
  • Front bumper beam
  • Front fenders
  • Floor tunnel bar
  • Rear bumper beam
  • Steering-column hangar beam
  • Front door skin
  • Rear door skin

Aluminum Hybrid Construction Door
The RLX doors are a hybrid construction utilizing aluminum outer panels for lighter weight and steel inner panels for stiffness and crash safety performance. Together, they provide for increased stiffness with a weight reduction of 24.3 pounds compared to all-steel doors.

The front doors are constructed of four parts, while the rear doors are constructed of five parts. The steel inner panel uses a special high-corrosion-protection zinc, aluminum and magnesium plating – 11 percent aluminum, 3 percent magnesium and 86 percent zinc – to assure that electrolytic corrosion does not occur between the two metals. This plating gives the steel inner panel 10 times the resistance of traditional zinc galvanized plating.

The outer aluminum skin and steel inside panels are joined with an Acura-first “curl forming” process for high-strength and durability.

Class-Leading Aerodynamics
More than 800 wind-tunnel tests were conducted to improve vehicle aerodynamics values. As a result, the new RLX will have class-leading lower coefficient of lift (CL) and lower coefficient of drag (Cd).

Sound Insulation
Engineers paid particular attention to reducing interior noise, an effort that extends to literally every aspect of the vehicle’s design and engineering – from aerodynamics and powertrain engineering to insulators and the selection of finishing materials – all play a part in the RLX’s improved interior quietness.

To achieve a premium level of interior quietness, the RLX receives an unprecedented amount of acoustic material in key areas. The list includes:

  • Carpet back surface
  • Inside front/rear door lining
  • Inside A-pillars
  • Inside C-pillars
  • Roof area behind moonroof opening
  • Floor sills
  • Inside trunk lid
  • Rear deck
  • Rear bulkhead
  • Rear wheel wells

To mitigate additional sound from the hybrid drive motors, the RLX Sport Hybrid features additional application of sound deadening materials in rear passenger floor and trunk floor insulators.

Acoustic Door Glass
The RLX Sport Hybrid uses laminated, sound-insulating acoustic glass for all door glass, providing an extra measure of wind and road noise attenuation (same as RLX with P-AWS Technology and higher grades). The glass is 4.7mm thick and includes an acoustic membrane that helps attenuate frequencies above 1,600 Hz, resulting in an improvement of up to 14.7 dB over the previous model’s 5mm thick tempered door glass.

Jewel Eye™ Headlights
The 2014 RLX Sport Hybrid features Acura Jewel Eye™ LED headlights, which utilize a dual-stacked array of high-intensity LED lamps to deliver outstanding light distribution, and class-leading distant irradiation performance and light characteristics with a wavelength close to the human eye’s luminosity curve. With two rows of five “Jewel Eye” lights per headlight, the LED lights provide improved down the road visibility compared to HID and halogen headlights.

On each side of the RLX, the low beams consist of four LED lights, while the innermost high beams utilize a pair of larger LED lights. The daytime running light (DRL) function is shared by the low-beam lenses, with the eight individual lenses clearly and dramatically visible even in bright sunlight. Altogether, they create a dramatic and distinctive appearance with superior lighting capability.

Each pair of low beam lenses irradiates a different area of the road as follows:

Light distribution
Both the low and separate high beam LED headlights offer outstanding performance in all nighttime driving conditions, including highway, winding roads, intersections, and in inclement weather conditions. The result is that the driver can see further with uniformity, making high-speed nighttime driving easier and less fatiguing.

A summary of LED benefits include:

  • Outstanding light distribution that surpasses competitors
  • Excellent distant illumination performance
  • Clear illumination of the road surface and white lines
  • High visibility of the entire visible color spectrum (white, red, green, blue and yellow) compared to HID and halogen headlights
  • Response time when switching between low and high beam is shortened
  • Light congruity is improved between low and high beams

When the lights are off, sunlight enters the display through the top of the lens, reflects off the rear reflector and then forward and through the lens again. As a result when lighting is off, the array still appears to be shining.

Power savings

Using just 68 watts total, the RLX’s LED headlights use 40-percent less power than traditional halogen headlights, contributing to the RLX’s overall operating efficiency. The comparison includes:

Long lasting

Besides producing better light characteristics with lower energy usage, the RLX’s new LED headlights are longer lasting. With an estimated life expectancy of 10,000 hours, the LED headlights are projected to last five times longer than HID headlights and 10 times longer than traditional halogen headlight bulbs.  Further, their compact packaging allow for an improved aerodynamic frontal design.

LED Taillights
The RLX Sport Hybrid taillights utilize periphery LED illumination that is both effective and highly distinctive. The taillight array consists of two semi-circular LED rings sweeping across the rear fender edges and the sides of the trunk lid. The light path combines functions of both the taillights and the side marker lights in one array. This LED array matches the “Jewel Eye” headlights for elegance and clearly distinguishes the RLX from every other vehicle on the road – even at a distance and especially at night. It also compliments the RLX body design.

LED taillight components include the LED assembly, a housing/reflector and inner and outer lenses. Uniform illumination is provided by a combination of light diffusion and the specially grained finish of both an inner lens and a reflecting surface. Inside the periphery LED taillight array is a separate lighting array consisting of the stoplights and turn signals. Backup lights are located on the trunk lid, inside the perimeter taillight array.

LED Fog Lights
LED fog lights present a smaller face than traditional fog lights, making them less susceptible to damage, while offering longer life, lower energy draw and more desirable color.

One-Touch Turn Signals

The RLX’s one-touch turn signals provide increased convenience for the driver when making routine lane changes. With the one-touch turn signal system, a quick movement of the turn-signal lever (between 0.4 sec. and 1 sec.) provides three blinks of the turn signals – an ideal scenario for changing lanes. Holding the lever for 1 sec. or longer (past the “click point”) provides continuous blinking, such as for signaling a turn or exiting a thoroughfare.

Retracting Mirrors
At the driver’s preference, the RLX’s door mirrors on some grades can be configured to automatically retract when the doors are locked, and then automatically extend when the doors are unlocked. This automatic mirror retract/extend function helps safeguard the mirrors when the RLX is parked, while also creating a higher-quality experience for the driver by eliminating the need to remember to manually retract or extend the mirrors.

The mirrors automatically retract or extend in two ways: 1) simply press the lock/unlock button on the remote key fob; or 2) press the lock button on the door handle.  

The mirrors can also be retracted and extended by using the mirror switch on the driver’s door panel. These functions can be customized through the MID on the instrument panel.

Expanded View Driver’s Mirror
The 2014 RLX’s Expanded View Driver’s Mirror is integrated into the driver’s side mirror. Standard equipment on all trim levels, the mirror increases the driver’s field of vision by 6.5-degrees to provide a better view of objects that would otherwise be hidden in the vehicle’s blind spot. This allows the driver to better recognize vehicles that are in their blind zone.

The major part of the mirror is flat and provides 15.1-degrees of visibility. Adding the 6.5-degrees of the Expanded View Driver’s Mirror yields 21.6-degrees of visibility. In addition, the expansion of the view area gradually changes between flat and convex for a more natural user experience.

Intelligent Wipers
Laws in some states require drivers to turn on the headlights when the wipers are operating in the rain. The new RLX helps its driver comply with these laws by automatically illuminating the headlights when the wipers are activated in rainy conditions (with headlight switch in Auto). Operation is shown via an indicator on the instrument panel. If rain is intermittent, the lights stay on for a predetermined interval before automatically turning off again.

Wiper operation is equally advanced for maximum wiping area, better wiping quality, reduced weight, improved appearance and longer blade life. Details include:

  • Wiper coverage is maximized by controlling the wiper position, including to the outer corners of the windshield.
  • Wiper performance is maximized by adjusting the wiper speed according to road speed and wind pressure.
  • The wiper motor uses a built-in ECU, reducing complexity compared to the RL wiper mechanism. The new RLX wiper motor assembly saves 4.6 pounds in comparison.
  • For better appearance, the wipers are hidden under the hood when not in operation.
  • For extended life of the wiper blades’ rubber, the operating system periodically raises the wiper blades from underneath the hood (when not in use) to prevent blade deformation.

Self-Opening Trunk
The RLX trunk has a self-opening feature that fully opens the trunk lid. There are three ways to open the trunk: 1) by pressing the trunk opener switch located on the driver side door panel, 2) with the key fob and 3) with the trunk opener switch located in the middle of the trunk, underneath the trunk lid garnish. This makes it easier for the RLX driver to carry items and open the trunk lid at the same time. In contrast, the previous RL model, the trunk lid would open halfway compared to the RLX’s fully open function. The trunk lid closes manually.

Trunk Storage
The RLX Sport Hybrid offers 12.0 cu.-ft. of trunk storage capacity (down from 15.3 cu. ft. in the RLX with P-AWS and 15.1 cu.-ft. in RLX models with Krell Audio and Advance grades). All measurements include the tool kit and the puncture repair kit. A cargo net allows for storage of smaller items in an areas suspended above the cargo floor.  Also, beneath the floor panel is a 0.4 cu.-ft. covered storage well.

Multi-Angle Rearview Camera
The RLX’s standard multi-angle rearview camera features three viewing angles – Wide view, Normal view and Top Down view. Drivers may select the preferred view according to driving conditions.  The rearview camera system also features dynamic guidelines that display the vehicle’s backward trajectory according to steering-wheel position. When the steering wheel is straight, a broad 180-degree rearward view can be seen in Wide View, and Normal and Top Down views are also available. However when the steering wheel is turned 90 degrees, only Wide and Normal views are available, and dynamic guidelines curve onscreen to show the path of the vehicle. The result is improved convenience for the driver as the rearward trajectory of the RLX is indicated by the dynamic guidelines.

Rear Wheel Arch Hem
The RLX’s sleek exterior design is enhanced by close tolerances between the tires and the wheel arches. Specially designed wheel-arch hems reduce the gap to just 46 mm between the top of the tire and the lower part of the wheel arch, 10.5-mm narrower than that of the previous RL model. As a result, the tires better fill the wheel wells for a greater sense of unity and substance.

Exterior Colors
The 2014 RLX Sport Hybrid is available in seven exterior colors, including four metallic and three pearl colors. All colors have a strong character, offering expressive contrasts that compliment the RLX’s body-panel curves and angles, while also exhibiting a smart luxury appearance. The acid-resistant epoxy clear-coat paint is superior to typical clear-coat paints for increased resistance to urban pollutants.

Exterior Colors

  • Bellanova White Pearl
  • Crystal Black Pearl
  • Forged Silver Metallic
  • Graphite Luster Metallic
  • Gilded Pewter Metallic 
  • Pomegranate Pearl
  • Silver Moon Metallic

Interior Colors

  • Ebony Leather
  • Graystone Leather
  • Seacoast Leather (with medium gray instrument panel upper)