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#9

in 2011 Luxury Large Cars

Avg. Price Paid: $28,536 - $32,735
Original MSRP: $47,200 - $55,150
MPG: 17 City / 24 Hwy
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2011 Acura RL Performance

This performance review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.

Reviewers are impressed with the 2011 Acura RL’s Super Handling All-Wheel Drive, which helps the RL stick to the road like few other large luxury cars. The system helps steer the car by accelerating the outside wheels and decelerating the inside wheels during a turn. It’s called torque-vectoring, and it gives the RL fantastic grip in the corners.

While the RL’s V6 matches the power of many of its six-cylinder competitors, this Acura lacks the V8 option that is available from rivals such as the BMW 5-Series, Infiniti M and Mercedes E-Class. Still, most agree that the Acura RL’s V6 provides enough power to keep drivers happy, while standard all-wheel drive makes the RL an excellent choice for those who see frequent snow, rain or ice.

  • "The ride quality is balanced between luxurious compliance and sporty agility. Thanks to the SH-AWD system, the RL is one of the more fun-to-drive choices in the segment. The RL's V6 engine revs smoothly and provides slightly quicker acceleration this year thanks to the new six-speed transmission." -- Edmunds
  • "For everyday driving, the 2010 Acura RL's 300-horsepower V6 performs admirably, matches the EPA's fuel economy estimates, and delivers plenty of refined momentum for mingling with lead-footed commuters." -- Kelley Blue Book

Acceleration and Power

The RL is not the quickest large luxury car, but reviewers generally note that its 300-horsepower, 3.7-liter V6 provides enough power to remain competitive with V6-powered rivals. Power delivery is smooth and 2011 Acura RLs' gain an extra gear, with a six-speed automatic now being the only transmission that is offered.

While some competitors offer more gears, the RL benefits from the new transmission with improved acceleration and fuel economy. The EPA notes that the 2011 Acura RL gets 17 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway – a small step up from the 2010 model’s 16/22 mpg city/highway ratings.

  • "From a stop, and under way, RL is acceptably eager, but never thrilling. The available power is augmented by excellent throttle response and a smooth, responsive transmission." -- Consumer Guide 
  • "The biggest news is the upgraded 6-speed transmission which improves acceleration and fuel economy - although RL still trails competitors with 7- and even 8-speed units." -- Motor Trend 
  • "Power is on par with cars such as the Lexus GS 350 but arrives at higher rpm and, as a result, makes the RL feel relatively sluggish when starting from a standstill.” -- Kelley Blue Book 
  • "If we had to find one nit to pick, it would be the brakes. They need to be a little stronger to match those of the RL’s more-performance-inclined competitors." -- Car and Driver 
  • "RL is nimble and exhibits little cornering lean. Most testers find the steering to be light and precise, though some complain of limited on-center steering feel. The strong, fade-free brakes offer controlled stops." -- Consumer Guide 
  • "Handling also remains a praiseworthy RL attribute, thanks to the car's advanced Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) system, which can apportion torque to individual wheels to improve both traction and handling balance." -- Edmunds 
  • "SH-AWD vectors torque front-to-back and side-to-side when throttle is applied, providing a sporty feel and confident handling, particularly in bad weather." -- Motor Trend 
  • "Serving to offset any engine and transmission deficiencies is Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD), technology that makes the RL sure-footed in inclement conditions and a delight on twisty roads. Braking is usually a worry-free endeavor, though we did notice a slight loss in effectiveness after an afternoon of spirited driving." -- Kelley Blue Book 

Handling and Braking

The Acura RL has impressed reviewers with impressive road grip and cornering abilities, thanks to its standard SH-AWD system. However, more than one reviewer notes that the brakes are not on par with what’s available in much of the competition and the RL’s speed-sensitive steering gets mixed reviews. The RL’s wide turning circle also makes it trickier to maneuver at low speeds. This is most obvious when trying to park, especially when compared to cars with tighter turning circles such as the BMW 5-Series and the Lexus GS.

  • "If we had to find one nit to pick, it would be the brakes. They need to be a little stronger to match those of the RL’s more-performance-inclined competitors." -- Car and Driver 
  • "RL is nimble and exhibits little cornering lean. Most testers find the steering to be light and precise, though some complain of limited on-center steering feel. The strong, fade-free brakes offer controlled stops." -- Consumer Guide 
  • "Handling also remains a praiseworthy RL attribute, thanks to the car's advanced Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD) system, which can apportion torque to individual wheels to improve both traction and handling balance." -- Edmunds 
  • "SH-AWD vectors torque front-to-back and side-to-side when throttle is applied, providing a sporty feel and confident handling, particularly in bad weather." -- Motor Trend 
  • "Serving to offset any engine and transmission deficiencies is Super Handling All-Wheel Drive (SH-AWD), technology that makes the RL sure-footed in inclement conditions and a delight on twisty roads. Braking is usually a worry-free endeavor, though we did notice a slight loss in effectiveness after an afternoon of spirited driving." -- Kelley Blue Book 
Used car average prices are provided by ClearBook™, a TrueCar™ product