Japanese carmaker Honda Motor Co. plans to boost the numbers of Acura in the premium segment with the new top of the line sedan that runs on a V6 engine working with a pair of electric motors in order to produce a V-8 power while having a fuel economy of a small vehicle.
The RL sedan will be replaced by the RLX by next year and the latter was unwrapped by Honda during the recent auto show in New York. The RLX hybrid sedan has a 3.5L gas engine that works in combo with two electric motors depending on a pack of lithium ion battery. The setup gives out 370 horses while having a fuel mileage of 30 miles a gallon on highway and city driving combined.
The RLX will follow the refreshed RDX that will hit showrooms this month and the ILX sedan which will go on sale by next month as Honda pushes for a stronger share of the luxury segment against competition like the BMW, Lexus, Mercedes-Benz, and Daimler. Honda aims to have a 46% jump in the sales of Acura in the United States before the end of 2012.
While the Japanese car manufacturer makes V8s for their race cars, it avoids to use them on the light trucks and sedans under the Acura and Honda brands. The RLX will go head to head against tough competitions like the 7- and 5-Series of BMW, LS and GS models of Lexus, and the E-Class of Mercedes which has tag prices ranging from $47,000 to $71,000 for their base models.
Acura top execs boasts that the new hybrid vehicle will sport a super handling quality and an all wheel drive setup which will set the brand apart from other car manufacturers.
The sales of Acura in the Untied States had its peak back in 2005 when it delivered 209,610 units and dropped to 123,299 vehicles in 2011. Honda aims to achieve 180,000 vehicle sales this year.
A lower end version of the RLX will be sold as a FWD model that depends on a V6 powerplant. No information was released about the pricing of the different versions of the RLX.