2006 Acura RL at the 2006 Chicago Auto Show.
A revised car, known internally as “KB1″, was launched in late 2004 for the 2005 model year, and is much reminiscent of the Mercedes-Benz E-Class. Still without the much-rumored V8 engine, it features a sophisticated all-wheel drive system Acura calls “Super Handling All Wheel Drive”. It integrates active differentials with the all-wheel drive system and traction control to improve handling, similar to the “ATTS” system featured on the 1997 Honda Prelude SH. This all wheel drive system was in an issue of Popular Science as one of the best automotive innovations of 2004 and earned the 2005 “Tech car of the year”.
The 225 hp (168 kW) 90° C-series V6 engine was replaced with a new 60° J-series 3.5 L engine delivering 300 hp (224 kW; later revised to 290 hp). To give the car a more sporty feel, the car features a five-speed automatic transmission with shift paddles mounted on the steering wheel in the current, racing-car derived fashion. Other features found on the 2005 RL include DVD Audio, the ability to see traffic movement in real time utilizing XM Satellite radio, as well as extensive use of aluminum and carbon fiber. Pricing is up to US$49,100 without destination.
For 2006, the Acura RL was also sold with the optional ‘Technology Package’ including features such as adaptive cruise control, Collision Mitigation Braking System, and Michelin PAX run flat tires. The previously standard color-matched mud guards were deleted in 2006.
For 2007, the Acura RL was available with three different packages (Base, Tech, and CMBS/PAX) Every 2007 RL came new without OnStar, and an added chime when passengers did not wear their seatbelts. The Base obviously did not include Acura’s navigation system, did not include real wood trim, deleted the Active Front Lighting System (AFS), and it also had the previous “sharkfin” antenna that the 2005 and 2006 RLs had. The tech included the Navigation system with real-time traffic updates via XM, real wood trim, a new backup camera (which was previously an accessory), Active Front Lighting System (AFS), and deleted the “sharkfin” antenna. The CMBS/PAX model was the exact same as the 2006 “Tech” model aside from the deleted antenna, backup camera addition, passenger seatbelt chime, and the deletion of OnStar.
In Canada, the 2008 Acura RL is available with two different models, Base and Elite Package. The Elite Package adds Collision Mitigation Braking System (CMBS), Active Front Lighting System (AFS), Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), heated and cooled ventilated front seats and curly maple wood trim.
Standard & A-Spec: Engine: 3471cc V6
Power: 290bhp (216Kw) @ 6200rpm
Torque: 256lb-ft (347Nm) @ 5000rpm
In July 2006, Forbes Autos.com rated the RL as “Number One” of the “Top 10 Safest Vehicles,” followed by the Volvo S80, Honda Odyssey, and Acura TL, out of over 230 different models of passenger vehicles.
The Acura RL features Collision Mitigation Braking System, which can alert drivers of objects up to 330′ ahead, and if you get closer, it brakes slightly and tugs at your seatbelts. If you still don’t react, the RL retracts and locks your seatbelts and brakes hard.