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Like the TLX and MDX before it, the Acura RLX has received a full front end refresh for 2018. Acura’s largest sedan now wears the company’s new geometrically impossible diamond pentagon grille. There are also numerous mechanical and tech upgrades to go along with the new look.
The most notable change to the dirty bits is a new 10-speed automatic transmission that mates to the standard 310-hp 3.5-liter V-6. This marks the first Acura application of this new Honda-developed transmission. Front-wheel drive remains standard with this engine, as does Acura’s rear-wheel-steering system called Precision All-Wheel Steer. The company claims the new transmission will improve the RLX’s acceleration; for reference, a front-drive RLX with a six-speed automatic ran from zero to 60 mph in 5.8 seconds in our testing.
The RLX’s hood also has been reshaped, and its rear end gets new LED taillights and a black lower diffuser with two large exhaust tips. There are new wheel designs and two new paint colors, too, including the Brilliant Red Metallic pictured here and Majestic Black Pearl.
Inside, new front seats get contrasting piping and stitching, while certain materials and touchpoints are said to be richer than before. An Espresso interior color is a fresh option.
A new Traffic Jam Assist feature is a significant addition to the RLX’s standard AcuraWatch bundle of active-safety features. This is the first Acura application of this new system, which can essentially follow a car ahead at low speeds by combining adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist in a fashion similar to Volvo’s Pilot Assist system.