Acura RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD – tech fest on wheels

Acura RLX Sport Hybrid-01

This is the new 2014 Acura RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD, the most powerful and technologically advanced Acura sedan yet (according to its maker) and the first model to apply Honda’s new three-motor Sport Hybrid system with electric SH-AWD (Sport Hybrid SH-AWD). It joins the standard RLX, which made its debut early this year as a MY2014 car.

The 5 Series/E-Class-rivalling RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD may not be an arresting sight, but it’s mechanically interesting. Under the hood is a direct-injected 3.5 litre V6 with 310 hp, paired to a new seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. The DCT has a built-in motor-generator (47 hp) powering the front wheels, and there are two rear electric motors (36 hp each) powering the rear wheels.

All three motors capture kinetic energy during vehicle deceleration and braking, converting it to electricity to supply a 72-cell, 1.3-kWh lithium-ion battery pack located behind the rear seatback. Total system output is 377 hp and 511 Nm of torque, which is a lot.

Acura RLX Sport Hybrid-16

The mechanically-based Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) isn’t new, but it now operates independent of the engine. Drawing power from the battery pack, the two rear electric motors deliver torque directly to the rear wheels, thereby eliminating the weight and energy losses associated with a conventional driveshaft and differential mechanism.

It’s like torque-vectoring AWD, but since it doesn’t rely on engine torque, electric SH-AWD can create a larger torque difference between the left and right rear wheels, even during small throttle applications, at low engine speeds or even during deceleration (such as during mid-corner lift off). This characteristic amplifies the positive handling benefits of SH-AWD across a much wider range of driving conditions.

Sounds good? We can confirm that SH-AWD and Precision All-Wheel Steer (P-AWS, which the RLX also has) are fun and effective on the road, having tried it twice in Japan. Click here and here to read more about these Earth Dreams Technology components and our impressions.

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Danny Tan

Danny Tan loves driving as much as he loves a certain herbal meat soup, and sweet engine music as much as drum beats. He has been in the auto industry since 2006, previously filling the pages of two motoring magazines before joining this website. Enjoys detailing the experience more than the technical details.



  • Wow so nice, hopefully Proton going to rebadged it and sell it in Malaysia under 100k.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 1
    • Raja Lawak on Dec 18, 2013 at 6:09 pm

      Acura not available here officially, so yes Proton can rebadge it lah LOL!

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0
  • sam69 on Dec 18, 2013 at 4:56 pm

    Nice proton accord.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 15
    • Die Hard KimChi Fans.

      U butthurt aa??
      Troll both Sushi and Proton..

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1
    • Tok Berlagak on Dec 18, 2013 at 6:02 pm

      Sam69 suka Troll Proton Dan Sushi.

      Die Hard Naza Kia/Hundai Fans.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0
      • sam69 on Dec 19, 2013 at 9:36 am

        Why say i troll, its already proven mah.. don’t tell me you really think the new proton perdana really a perdana instead of anaconda? Now i see those honda accord on the road I so proud of them man, driving malaysia boleh car!

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2
  • Sam "Hailat" Loo on Dec 18, 2013 at 5:09 pm

    Wow…! Honda’s gonna rebadged this as Legend…?

    Sadly even the current generation Honda Legend is hard to find in here…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 4
  • heybadigol on Dec 18, 2013 at 5:14 pm

    Acura/Honda made this their most advanced car ever, and then give it a boring design. I really dont quite understand their plan here. If I was them, id give it the sexiest sheetmetal on Earth, hell something like the Ghibli. But nope, not here. Acura playing it safe, as usual.

    Of course, this new AWD system will also be put into the new NSX (but the other way around as the NSX is mid engined), so this should be an indication of how the NSX will handle. So far, not many driving reviews yet. Handling is good, which is to be expected. But steering needs more feel & feedback, though it is direct and fast.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0
    • Tok Berlagak on Dec 18, 2013 at 5:37 pm

      These are the design Rich People want.

      Rich People are boring? dont jealous. Their house usually classic decorated too.. instead of modern design like those architecture… that doesnt suit Rich People.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0
      • frenzyaustin on Dec 18, 2013 at 6:31 pm

        The fine line between bring and classic is how much money you paid for it.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  • Looks like a copy of the Opel Insignia. Even the rear lamps have the same shape…ł.jpg/800px-Opel_Insignia-sł.jpg

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 4
  • The interior is really nice and
    it drives great too, but it loses to the LEXUS and others in the US, no thanks to its subtle exterior look before this upgrade..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0
  • how much taxes do i have to pay to import this honda to Malaysia?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0
  • Denaihati on Dec 18, 2013 at 9:49 pm

    very impressive technology. if there is an opportunity to drive the Hybrid SH-AWD technology is definitely can’t be missed.
    hopefully, in future honda will develope this technology for smaller car segment too, or any car manufacturer…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  • Robert on Dec 18, 2013 at 11:54 pm

    That gear selector is driving me nuts. How one Earth would one get used to such a complicated looking device ?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

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