The Acura RLX is no more
Acura is confirming it will sunset the RLX flagship sedan at the end of 2020, according to a report from Automotive News. The RLX, which has been around since 2013, hasn’t been selling all that well recently—just 1019 examples found new homes in 2019, and fewer than 2000 RLXs were sold the year prior. In a statement to AN, Acura had this to say about the move: “With SUVs leading the luxury market, the highly successful RDX and MDX now serve as volume leaders of the Acura brand. At the same time, we will further strengthen our sports sedans, consistent with the performance-focused direction we have been taking Acura over the past four years.”
The RLX was first introduced for the 2014 model year, and from its debut it remained largely unchanged through the present day. The RLX was a replacement for the outgoing Acura RL, which was the spiritual successor to the inimitable Acura Legend, one of our favorite Japanese luxury cruisers. The second-generation RL (2004-2012) had electronically controlled all-wheel steering, known as Precision All-Wheel Steer, that could independently adjust individual wheels. It also sported an early version of Acura’s “Super Handling-All Wheel Drive,” or SH-AWD, which became a staple on Acura products in the years to come and a significant performance element underpinning the NSX hybrid supercar. The second-generation RL had a host of other technological goodies, including a trick climate control system that could adjust for each side of the cabin based on which side was in the sun.
The Acura Legend was among the first few models from the brand to land here on American shores, another being the venerable Integra. When it arrived in the States as a 1986 model, it traded on exceptional craftsmanship and solid build quality relative to its American and European luxury counterparts—the slogan that ran alongside ads for the Legend bore the phrase, “Precision Crafted Performance.” If this sounds like a familiar story, the success of the Legend was proof-of-concept Toyota’s plans to storm American shores in the ’90s with the Lexus LS400. The success of the Legend (and the Integra) ensured that Acura would have real staying power in this market for the years to come.
Acura is not abandoning traditional cars entirely—there is still the TLX sedan and the smaller ILX, as well as delicious-looking Type S concept that we’re doing our best to mentally will into production. While we’re sad to see another four-door bite the dust, if Acura is true to its word about its commitment to delivers sedans that driving fans will truly welcome, we’re here for it.