2009 Acura RL

By February 21, 2008
2009 Acura RL
On Sale: Spring 2008
Expected Pricing: About $46,000

At the 2008 Chicago Auto Show, Acura announced a mid-cycle enhancement to the Acura RL.

On sale in July, the 2009 Acura RL will feature a new 3.7-liter engine, a new five-speed automatic transmission, improved steering, better handling, a reworked interior, revised styling, and a host of new technology and entertainment features.

On the outside the most noticeable change is the new dynamic power plenum grille, as they're calling it. Bold and finished in silver paint, it is a take-off of the grille first introduced on the MDX SUV. The aluminum hood and trunklid are also revised, as are the front and rear bumpers, lower rocker panels, headlights and taillights, and exhaust tips. Acura says all of these changes were made with the intention of giving the car a more aggressive look and better aerodynamics.

Under the hood, the previous 3.5-liter V6 has been replaced with a new 3.7-liter version that adds variable valve timing for both the intake and exhaust valves. All this breathing adds 10 horsepower to an even 300 hp. Torque is up, from 256 to 271 pound-feet. Acura says it has strengthened the standard five-speed automatic transmission to handle the increased power. New steering wheel paddles accompany a manual shiftgate. The new powertrain is EPA-rated at 16 mpg city/22 mpg highway.

The RL's Super Handling All-Wheel Drive will return. Acura says it will respond quicker and perform better. Changes to the suspension include higher rate coil springs, a larger diameter rear stabilizer bar, stiffer subframe mount bushings, and revised steering rack components. The tires are more aggressive and wheel size grows from 17 to 18 inches.

Inside, the RL gets new gauges with brushed metal accents, revised HVAC buttons, more rear seat room, softer armrests, a revised steering wheel, and more insulation. Acura's new Active Sound Control (ASC) system is improved over the previous Active Noise Cancellation system. The new system reduces noise across a broader wave range and works throughout the engine's rev range.

The 2009 Acura RL will be offered in three trim levels: RL, RL with Technology Package, and RL with Technology Package Plus Collision Mitigation Braking System. For 2009, the base RL adds XM Note, which captures a 10 second portion of up to 30 songs, plus text information about the song title, artist name, and XM channel at the push of a button. The Technology Package gets more features, too, including ventilated front seats, a wood/leather steering wheel and shift knob, and AcuraLink weather and AcuraLink Traffic Rerouting for the navigation system. To its long list of safety features, the RL adds active front head restraints for 2009.

Pricing hasn't been announced, but a glance at the 2008 model suggests the 2009 RL might start around $46,000 when it goes on sale this spring.

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